Undergraduate Course Catalog 2009-2010
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The Pre-Law Advising Program is housed in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration. Acceptance into law school is generally determined by the candidate’s Law School Admission Test (LSAT) score, participation in a rigorous course of undergraduate study, college grade point average, a written personal statement specified by each law school, and recommendations. As a rule of thumb, the successful pre-law student will maintain a minimum 3.25 GPA in an academic program with a challenging major, double major and/or minor. Most law schools expect successful candidates to have a minimum score of 150 out of 180 on the LSAT.
While there is no specific undergraduate major or set of courses required for admission to law school, certain programs are recommended as an excellent introduction into the field of law as preparation for the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT), and as important background to the study of law and its affiliated fields.
The best undergraduate preparation for the LSAT and course work required in Law School is a challenging program of study which develops reading comprehension, critical judgment, logical reasoning, and precise expression of ideas. A course of study in criminal/social justice, history, political science, English, and philosophy are especially helpful. Students with particular interest in the application of law to business, technology, research, and so forth, are encouraged to have majors or minors linked to those areas. As a strong formation for both the LSAT and for First Year Law School course work, the Pre-Law program recommends the following courses:06-300 Writing for the Professions (3)06-310 Advanced Writing (3)09-323 The Emergence of Modern America, 1877-1941 (3)09-325 United States Since 1941 (3)09-381 History of England and Great Britain after 1450 (3)10-242 Argumentation and Debate (3)15-310 Philosophy of Law (3)15-299 Logic (3)18-200 American National Government (3)18-210 State and Local Government (3)18-371 Constitutional Law (3)23-250 Business Law I for Accountants (3)81-110 Introduction to Criminal Justice (3)81-200 Court Systems and Probation (3)81-430 Elements of Criminal Law (3)
The courses listed in History (09), Philosophy (15), Political Science (18) and Justice, Law, and Public Safety Studies (81) can easily be linked to majors or minors in those departments.
Students planning to enter law school in the fall semester after graduation from college should take the LSAT at the end of their junior year or the beginning of their senior year. The Pre-Law Program strongly encourages students to participate in and complete a comprehensive preparatory program prior to taking the LSAT. This preparation can be in the form of self-guided study using a preparation manual, tutorial study in a group or with a faculty member, or a specially designed, commercially available preparation course. The LSAT may be taken more than once so students are urged to take the exam earlier rather than later.
Multiple test takers should know that LSAT will send all scores to the designated Schools of Law. However, the manner in which the scores are handled by the law school will depend on the policies of the particular institution. Some will consider only the most recent score, some the highest score, and some law schools will average the scores. With this in mind, students should check with those law schools to which they will be applying to ascertain the advisability of retesting.
Pre-law students are encouraged to meet with a pre-law advisor on a regular basis. The advisor can assist in reviewing course schedules and providing information on the LSAT, LSAT preparation programs, specific law schools, and the law school application processes. In addition, pre-law students are encouraged to participate in the activities of the Pre-Law Club and the Mock Trial Program and to join Phi Alpha Delta, the national legal fraternity.