Pre-Law Programs

Students planning to attend law school and pursue careers in law should be aware that no major has a special advantage in preparing them to compete on the Law School Admission Test or for admission into even the most prestigious law schools. The American Bar Association emphasizes this point in its publication Law as a Career: "An undergraduate should be aware that there is no particular course of study that is required or preferred by law schools. Accordingly, students from a wide variety of majors (e.g., philosophy, physics, political science, engineering, and business) are admitted to law schools each year. There is no true prelaw curriculum. Generally, a broad-based education that is rigorous and that stresses analytical and verbal communication skills will be useful." Students with undergraduate degrees in the humanities and the arts as well as the social, health, and natural sciences are consistently successful in achieving competitive scores on the LSAT and in obtaining admission to law schools of distinction.

However, students should keep in mind that successful pursuit of a career in law depends on skills acquired only through particular kinds of courses. The Law School Admission Council's Official Guide to U.S. Law Schools explains: "While no single curricular path is the ideal preparation for law school, you should choose courses that sharpen analytical reasoning and writing skills. Law schools prefer students who can think, read, and write well, and who have some understanding of what shapes human experience."

Students considering careers in law should consult regularly with a pre-law faculty advisor. The number and kind of courses that prepare students for law can be offered by a variety of departments. It is therefore important that students consult with a faculty member familiar with the curricular choices that best align student aspirations with law school expectations. A faculty advisor can also provide valuable information concerning law school and law careers that will not be acquired through any set of courses. The following departments offer pre-law advising: Justice Studies, Philosophy, Political Science. A further resource for students considering a career in law is the Law School Advisor provided by Student Services.