Undergraduate Minor

Nothing has done more for justice in the modern world than the development of the rule of law under constitutional principles. But, for constitutional governments to secure the common good, thoughtful and educated citizens must possess certain virtues; they must understand and be able to implement, defend, and, if need be, reform constitutional institutions. The Constitutional Studies minor seeks to nurture such citizens, thereby contributing to the University’s mission to pursue truth and to nurture a concern for the common good that will bear fruit as learning becomes service to justice.

What will I learn in Constitutional Studies?

Building on courses across the College of Arts and Letters, the Potenziani minor in Constitutional Studies is designed to encourage students to confront fundamental questions concerning justice, the rule of law, and human flourishing. From a variety of historical, cultural, disciplinary, and philosophical perspectives, constitutional studies courses ask questions such as:

  • What is a just regime? Is there a best regime? Who ought to rule?
  • What is the relationship between Catholicism and constitutionalism? How does the Catholic intellectual tradition inform and deepen our understanding of constitutionalism and the common good?
  • What is the proper relationship between government and civil society, between law and moral principles?
  • What are the philosophical foundations of human rights and constitutional democracy?
  • What principles of justice can or should lie at the foundation of a constitutional republic?
  • What are the proper relationships between church and state and religion and politics, and how do these relationships reflect the more basic relationship between faith and reason?
  • What are the moral, social, and political conditions necessary to sustain America’s experiment in constitutional government?
  • What is the nature of international law and how are international norms created and maintained?

Requirements Courses

How to get started in Constitutional Studies

Students interested in the minor should email Soren Grefenstette (sorengref@nd.edu) to set up an appointment.

Additional opportunities for minors

Constitutional Studies minors are encouraged to continue their education over the summers, during study abroad semesters, and in post-graduate life. Check out our list of opportunities to find internships, jobs, and fellowships that might be of interest.

Keenan White '19

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty; External Relations Manager

Major: Political Science

"The Constitutional Studies Program gave me an invaluable foundational understanding of our Constitution and first principles as well as the tools necessary to think critically about law, policy, and the common good. These skills, as well as the relationships I formed with professors, peers, and distinguished visitors to campus during my undergraduate years, continue to pay dividends in my career as I work alongside expert attorneys to defend religious freedom for all."

  • Keenan White '19

    The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty; External Relations Manager

    Major: Political Science

    "The Constitutional Studies Program gave me an invaluable foundational understanding of our Constitution and first principles as well as the tools necessary to think critically about law, policy, and the common good. These skills, as well as the relationships I formed with professors, peers, and distinguished visitors to campus during my undergraduate years, continue to pay dividends in my career as I work alongside expert attorneys to defend religious freedom for all."

  • Tobias Hoonhout '19

    National Review Media Reporter

    Majors: Program of Liberal Studies and Economics

    "Constitutional Studies played an integral role in my maturing at Notre Dame. Thanks to the mentorship of Professor Munoz, I finally found what many students aspire towards, but never fully grasp: the importance of intellectual formation, the beauty of friendship forged in the pursuit of the good, and the daring to want more from the college experience. For anyone remotely interested in any of these things, I can't recommend the Center enough."

  • Holly Bahadursingh '19

    Programs Manager, Napa Legal Institute

    Major: Political Science

    "The Constitutional Studies Program was one of the most formative aspects of my Notre Dame education. Through classwork, discussions, and related programming, Constitutional Studies helped equip me with the framework to meaningfully engage with important questions, provided a forum for those conversations, and challenged me to continue developing my own ideas."

  • Andrew Schmitz '19

    Management Consultant, Kaiser Associates in Washington, D.C.

    Majors: Accounting and Political Science

    Classes in the Constitutional studies minor encouraged me to think beyond my vocationally focused business classes towards the more fundamental political and moral debates of our time. My experience helped me contemplate how the business world and market economy contribute to the common good, ultimately forming me to be a more thoughtful, clear-eyed professional and citizen.

  • Nick Marr '20

    The Federalist Society

    Majors: Political Science and History

    "The ConStudies program was my favorite part of Notre Dame. The people, courses, and extracurriculars changed my life for the better. If you’re interested in politics, don’t leave ND without taking a ConStudies course. Especially in Prof. Muñoz’s classes, you will not only learn about the Constitution, but also explore fundamental questions of justice, fairness, and equality. You will be challenged to think deeply, engage with others charitably, and pursue the truth. You’ll become a better student and a better citizen. The program is, in short, what college should be."