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The BEST College Degrees For Law School (Spoiler: NOT Political Science)
Why is it important to pick the right prelaw major?
Its important to pick the right prelaw major because it can help you develop important skills, increase your knowledge, prepare for law school and manage future caseloads. Law school admissions may require high grade point averages and Law School Admission Test (LSAT) scores, so consider choosing a major that can help you achieve these. Researching the law school acceptance rates for different subject matters can also help you choose the right prelaw major.
Your prelaw major might also depend on your individual interests. For example, if youre interested in mathematical studies, you may choose a major like engineering that can highlight your strong analytical skills.
What is a prelaw major?
A prelaw major is the area of study you specialize in while pursuing a bachelors degree to prepare for law school. There are no specific course requirements or required majors to get into law school if youve completed a bachelors degree. This means prelaw students can pursue undergraduate degrees in any subject, such as business or criminal justice. Some schools also offer a specific major called prelaw, which may be an option depending on the college or university you choose to attend.
12 prelaw subjects to study
If youre interested in becoming a lawyer, here are 12 prelaw subject matters to consider studying:
1. Political science
Political science usually focuses on politics and the functions of government systems. Your coursework may include topics like political behaviors or the functions of different legal systems inside and outside of the U.S. Some other topics this major might explore are:
Studying this subject may also help you develop your reading, writing and public speaking skills because you can engage in mock trials or debates. Typically, political science can also give you firm knowledge about the Constitution and its principles, as well as the creation and development of the first U.S. judicial system.
Majoring in history can allow you to gain a complex understanding of how the U.S. legal system became established, how its changed and how the system currently operates. Other important things you may learn while studying this topic include:
These topics can help you grow your law-related knowledge and may be useful when youre evaluating cases or case decisions. History studies may also cover some elements of political science.
Business is another subject you may study because the coursework can prepare you for law school. The amount of reading and writing involved in business classes may help you practice and develop skills for taking the LSAT as well. Some important concepts you can learn in this area of study include:
An English major can offer benefits because it focuses on reading and analysis. These skills may be beneficial for taking the LSAT and working as a lawyer. One area of study within English is linguistics, which is the study of language. This topic can provide you with firm knowledge about the roots of different words, which may be beneficial when studying legal vocabulary. Additional skills and relevant knowledge you might gain as an English major are:
Another major you may consider is philosophy because of its focus on human nature and ethical decision-making. Typically, these courses refine critical thinking and detailed analysis skills to help you form individual opinions. Studying this subject might also help you:
Philosophy can also help you think about and determine the most ethical decisions when provided with facts or evidence. This is something lawyers usually do when managing caseloads.
Economics is a specialized subject within business studies that focuses on analyzing large amounts of fiscal data. This subject can offer you many opportunities to develop real-world problem-solving skills regarding money and economics, which can be helpful for careers in corporate or intellectual property law. Other things you might learn in your economic coursework include:
Majoring in psychology might benefit you because this subject studies the human mind, its behaviors and its reactions to experiences. This information can be relevant for prelaw students because laws involve rules or regulations for human decision-making and actions. This knowledge can also be useful if lawyers need to work with social workers for cases. If youre planning to study this subject, here are some things you might expect to learn:
You may also gain important skills in research, analysis and communication. Research and analysis skills may be beneficial for finding evidence in future cases, while communication skills can help you effectively interact with colleagues, clients or judges.
8. Criminal justice
Another major you might consider is criminal justice because it focuses on criminology research, methods and theory. The goal of this major is to prepare you to help society operate safely and can give you essential knowledge about the criminal justice system and typical criminal court operations. Specific topics you may study include:
Sociology is a niche area in social science studies that studies society and its interactions. Typically, this major involves reading, writing and memorization, which are important skills lawyers can use when studying client cases or presenting information in a courtroom. Topics you may study in this major are:
Gaining knowledge in these topics may help you better understand human interactions and conflicts when working on client cases. For example, if you take a case about class inequalities, you might use the concepts you learned in this major to support your arguments for how to resolve the conflict. Throughout your studies, you can also gain important research and analytical skills.
10. Arts and humanities
Depending on the college or university you choose to attend, you may major in arts and humanities studies. If so, you might select a niche specialization within relevant study areas, like art or literature. Examples of what you can learn within arts and humanities include:
You may also recognize English studies as an art or humanities study area because it focuses on social sciences, which might be something to consider if you enjoy English and want to expand your knowledge in similar studies.
Selecting science as your major study area might benefit you because it focuses on topics like biology, ecology and chemistry. Each of these topics can relate to unique niche law areas, like chemistry with pharmaceutical law or criminal law and ecology with environmental protection law. Skills you might gain from studying science include:
Math studies can offer many benefits, like logical reasoning, problem-solving and analytical skill sets. Mathematical knowledge may be useful to help lawyers balance timesheets or bill clients. As a math major, you may learn things like:
Comprehensive understandings of these concepts can especially help in niche law areas like bankruptcy, real estate, healthcare or taxes. You might also gain knowledge to help you eventually become an estate or trust lawyer.
Tips for selecting a prelaw major
Here are some tips to help you choose a prelaw major:
What major is best for pre-law?
What majors do law schools prefer?
What does it mean to major in pre-law?