What Degrees Prepare You for Law School?
Admission to law school requires an undergraduate degree from a 4-year school. Although there are no specific undergraduate degrees required to enter law school, liberal arts degree programs in areas such as political science, philosophy, history or English can help prepare you for it.
Educational Options for Aspiring Law Students
Law schools accept students with bachelor's degrees in any field. The American Bar Association does not recommend any particular undergraduate course of study to prepare for law school. Prospective law students might choose a bachelor's degree program that will help them specialize their law practice, such as an art or music degree if they wish to pursue entertainment law. Degrees in social sciences or liberal arts can also prepare you for general law education.
Important Facts About Law School Graduates
|Key Skills||Research, speaking, writing, analytical, problem-solving|
|Possible Careers||Mediator, legal assistant, judge, legislator, lawyer|
|Work Environment||Offices, courtrooms, prisons, jails or other locations where clients are|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)||8% growth (for lawyers)|
|Median Salary (2018)||$120,910 (for lawyers)|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
A bachelor's degree program in political science can help aspiring law school students learn about the conflicts in societies, interpersonal interaction and political ideas throughout history. A Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Political Science program teaches pre-law students how to write papers on current political topics and argue controversial topics in front of an audience. Classes may cover topics like international relations, state and local government and foreign policy. In addition, some programs even include courses on legal subjects, such as constitutional law or due process.
Philosophy undergraduate degree programs can help pre-law students sharpen their critical thinking and analysis skills by examining the nature of existence and knowledge. Students can learn about the history of philosophy, philosophical ideas and founders of philosophy. Through a BA in Philosophy program, future law school students learn to use logic to support their ideas in a debate and write clearly on complex topics. Philosophy program curricula usually incorporate study in communication, logic, ethics and political philosophy. They may also include courses on law, morality or ethical history.
Pre-law students majoring in history can learn how to research and interpret written documents and objects from the past. History degree programs involve heavy reading, writing research papers and participating in class discussions. History classes also teach students how to verify reliable sources. Specific coursework may be called for in advanced-level sociology, political science, international relations and religious studies, as well as in the history of law.
English degree programs can teach future law school students how to become better writers, speakers and critical thinkers. Students learn about the history of English and structure of the English language. Law schools require strong writing and reading scores from applicants, so the skills you develop in analyzing texts, working independently and enhancing your public speaking skills as an English major may come in handy when it's time to apply for law school. You'll also likely take a number of composition courses, which will help you cultivate solid writing and research skills and learn how to organize the arguments you're presenting.