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Yale University

Constitutional Law

Yale University via Coursera

This course may be unavailable.


This course is designed to introduce you to one of the most important texts in human history—the United States Constitution.  Why and how did this document come into existence in the 1780s?  How and why has it been amended over the years?  Who decides what it means?  What are the ground rules for proper constitutional interpretation?  How does the written Constitution interact with unwritten sources of constitutional authority, such as judicial decisions, presidential proclamations, landmark statutes, and widespread popular understandings?


This course will run from January 27 through early May (we are likely to provide you time after the release of the final lectures [April 21 - 25] to complete your final writing assignment). Please note that we will take a spring break from March 9 - 14. 

Weeks 1 - 6 will cover material from the book America's Constitution: A Biography.  Weeks 7 - 12 will cover material from the book America's Unwritten Constitution. We will cover two chapter topics each week.  We will also provide "bonus content" each week. The nature of this content will vary. It might be a video conversation between Professor Amar and students or colleagues. It might be a live video chat with the teaching assistants. It might be one hour where the TAs answer questions in real-time in one of the discussion forums. 

Each writing assignment will have 3 options; you should choose one option to submit.  When you evaluate your peers' assignments, please make sure you grade the same option that you selected.  E.g., If you submitted an assignment for "Essay 1 (Option 3)" you should only evaluate other students who submitted Option 3.

Week 1

  • Monday, January 27: "In The Beginning" video lectures released 
  • Wednesday, January 29: "In The Beginning" bonus content released 
  • Wednesday, January 29: "New Rules for a New World" video lectures released 
  • Friday, January 31: "New Rules for a New World" bonus content released 

Week 2

  • Monday, February 3: "Congressional Powers" and "America's First Officer" video lectures released 
  • Wednesday, February 5: "Congressional Powers" bonus content released 
  • Friday, February 7: "America's First Officer" bonus content released 

Week 3

  • Monday, February 10: Quiz #1 Released
  • Monday, February 10: "Presidential Powers" and "Judges and Juries" video lectures released 
  • Friday, February 14: bonus content released

Week 4

  • Monday, February 17: Quiz #1 Due In Order To Be Eligible For Full Credit
  • Monday, February 17: "States and Territories" and "The Law of the Land" video lectures released 
  • Friday, February 21: bonus content released

Week 5

  • Monday, February 24: Writing Assignment #1 Released
  • Monday, February 24: Quiz #1 Due In Order To Be Eligible For Partial Credit (5% per day late penalty)
  • Monday, February 24: "Making Amends" and "A New Birth of Freedom" video lectures released 
  • Friday, February 28: bonus content released

Week 6

  • Monday, March 3: Writing Assignment #1 Due; Writing Assignment #1 Evaluation Period Begins
  • Monday, March 3: "Progressive Reforms" and "Modern Moves" video lectures released 
  • Friday, March 7: bonus content released
  • Sunday, March 9: Writing Assignment #1 Evaluation Period Ends


Week 7

  • Monday, March 17: Quiz #2 Released.
  • Monday, March 17: "Reading Between the Lines" and "Heeding the Deed" video lectures released 
  • Friday, March 21: bonus content released 

Week 8

  • Monday, March 24: Quiz #2 Due In Order To Be Eligible For Full Credit
  • Monday, March 24: "Hearing the People" and "Confronting Modern Case Law" video lectures released
  • Friday, March 28: bonus content released 

Week 9

  • Monday, March 31: Writing Assignment #2 Released
  • Monday, March 31: Quiz #2 Due In Order To Be Eligible For Partial Credit (5% per day late penalty)
  • Monday, March 31: "Putting Precedent in its Place" and "Honoring the Icons" video lectures released 
  • Friday, April 4: bonus content released

Week 10

  • Monday, April 7: Writing Assignment #2 Due; Writing Assignment #2 Evaluation Period Begins
  • Monday, April 7: "'Remembering the Ladies'" and "Following Washington's Lead" video lectures released 
  • Friday, April 11: bonus content released
  • Sunday, April 13: Writing Assignment #2 Evaluation Period Ends

Week 11

  • Monday, April 14: Quiz #3 Released
  • Monday, April 14: "Interpreting Government Practices" and "Joining the Party" video lectures released 
  • Friday, April 18: bonus content released

Week 12 and Beyond

  • Monday, April 21: Quiz #3 Due In Order To Be Eligible For Full Credit
  • Monday, April 21: Writing Assignment #3 Released
  • Monday, April 21: "Doing the Right Thing" and "Envisioning the Future" video lectures released 
  • Friday, April 25: bonus content released
  • Monday, April 28: Writing Assignment #3 Due; Writing Assignment #3 Evaluation Period Begins; Quiz #3 Due In Order To Be Eligible For Partial Credit (5% per day late penalty)
  • Sunday, May 4: Writing Assignment #3 Evaluation Period Ends

Taught by

Akhil Amar


4.8 rating, based on 5 Class Central reviews

Start your review of Constitutional Law

  • This is one of the interesting courses offered under MOOCs for Lawyers, Journaist and even for the general people. You will learn lots of new things from this course. I will request Prof Amar to start this course again for 12 weeks
  • Anonymous
    It's a great course to introduce you in the American Constitutional Law.
  • Taich
  • Dawn D Shaw

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