Legal education was first introduced in Southwest University for Nationalities (SWUN) in 1952 in the form of “judicial studies” targeting judicial cadres serving the minority areas in China. Established in 1986, the Department of Law started enrolling law undergraduates, and in 2000 developed into the School of Law. The school was then designated by the Ministry of Education as West China’s Grassroots Base for Education and Training of Law professionals, Practice Base for Law Education, Sichuan Provincial Training Base of Law Undergraduates for Minority Areas, Off-campus Demonstrative Education Base for Sichuan Education and Training Plan of Outstanding Law Professionals, and Sichuan Provincial Evaluation and Cooperation Base for Regional Legislation. The discipline of legal theories is a key discipline recognized by the State Ethnic Affairs Commission and Sichuan Province. The program of legal studies is a national and provincial featured specialty as well as a demonstrative program of the university.
More than 2,000 students are currently studying in the school, including undergraduates, postgraduates, dual-degree law students, and students of the Pilot Program for the Recruitment of Law Professionals. Among the 76 faculty members, 60 are full-time teachers，including 10 professors and 24 associate professors；24 hold and 9 are pursuing doctoral degrees. In addition, more than 50 experts on law practice serve as visiting (part-time) professors and part-time supervisors. Among the full-time faculty, one is accredited as an Expert with Outstanding Contributions in Sichuan Province, three are selected as Reserve Candidates for Academic and Technical Leaders of Sichuan Province, and one is recognized as Outstanding Young and Mid-aged Law Expert of Sichuan Province. In addition, one is selected for New Century Outstanding Talent Support Plan operated by the Ministry of Education. At the university level, the School boasts two discipline leaders, one Excellent Teacher, and five Outstanding Young Teachers. Besides, the School is also home to one Academic Innovation Team and one Outstanding Teaching Team of Sichuan Province.
The school attaches great importance to developing disciplines and specialties. Currently, the school offers doctoral programs related to the economic development and legal guarantee of minority areas (a Doctoral program in Chinese Ethnic Economy), and the autonomous system research of minority areas (a Doctoral program in Marxist Ethnic Theories and Ethnic Policies). In addition, the school offers the Primary Master’s Degree program in law (which is composed of six Secondary Master’s Degree programs in legal theories, litigation, civil and commercial law, criminal law, constitutional and administrative law, and legal history), a program of Juris Master (JM), and undergraduate programs in law. Furthermore, the school enrolls students of the Pilot Program for the Recruitment of Law Professionals and those on-campus ones who wish to pursue dual-degree programs.