What Are the Best Schools with Pre-Law Degree Programs?
Get info on choosing a school for your pre-law studies. Review three top schools in this field, based on their national rankings and law school rankings. Explore your options for a pre-law bachelor's degree program at each school.
What Are Some Characteristics of the Best Pre-Law Programs?
Though some schools offer pre-law majors, you could be admitted to a law school with any background that develops analytical, research, oral communication, critical reading and writing skills that would help you on the LSAT, according to the American Bar Association (ABA). Relevant undergraduate majors could include a wide variety of disciplines, including political science, philosophy, American studies, foreign affairs, government or economics. You might consider a highly ranked college that also has an ABA-accredited law school. Schools might field undergraduate mock trial or debate teams or may offer pre-law networking and counseling programs.
What Are Three Top Schools with Pre-Law Programs?
Cornell University in Ithaca, NY
The Ivy League's Cornell, tied for 16th as a national university, also had U.S. News & World Report's 13th-ranked law school in 2019. Cornell offers a 6-week NYC summer pre-law program to sophomores and above providing an introduction to the legal system and internship options. Students can prepare for law school with any program or dual degree option. For example, those with an interest in public policy might major in government. This major offers internships, honors programs and a semester in residence in Washington, D.C.
Students can use pre-law advising services and attend pre-law events. The Extern and FRESH programs provide alumni shadowing options during academic breaks and Career Services offers placement support for positions as paralegals or legal assistants during your school years. The Undergraduate Research Office promotes connections with faculty researchers. Pre-law students could earn these or other degrees:
- Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in American Studies
- B.A. in Classics
- B.S. in Biological Sciences
- B.S. in Chemistry and Chemical Biology
- B.S. in Computer Science
- B.A. in Government
- B.A. in Linguistics
- B.A. in Philosophy
University of Southern California in Los Angeles
USC tied for 22rd among national universities and had the 17th-ranked law school in 2019, according to U.S. News & World Report. The Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences (USC College) alone offers over 70 majors. A pre-law advisory program helps with curriculum choices and preparation for law school applications. Services include a law school fair, pre-law workshops and brown bag discussion groups led by current Gould School of Law students. Student research is supported through the SOAR and SURF programs.
In 2011, USC introduced a pre-law major hosted through the USC College's School of Philosophy. This unique interdisciplinary program blends philosophy, politics and law (PPL). Students may earn a degree in philosophy or PPL. PPL majors are typically interested in law school or careers in public service or politics. USC's institutes and centers include centers for law and philosophy, law, economics and organization and law, history and culture. An overseas program supports philosophy studies at universities in every continent.
- Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy
- Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
- Bachelor of Arts in Law, History and Culture
University of Virginia in Charlottesville
UVA tied for 25th among national universities and its law school ranked eighth in 2019, according to U.S. News & World Report. Undergraduates at this school won 27 tournaments in the national Collegiate Mock Trial competition from 2005-2012, including the national championship in 2006 and 2007. UVA also hosts an Undergraduate Moot Court, which permits case study and the opportunity to present Supreme Court arguments.
Students may participate in the the Washington Literary and Debating Union, the Jefferson Literary and Debating Society or the Virginia Law and Business Society. The Center for Undergraduate Excellence encourages participation in research through the Harrison Undergraduate Research Awards and other opportunities. Relevant programs facilitate in-depth research through the distinguished majors program or the honors program with its honors thesis and seminar options. These are several of many possible pre-law degree programs:
- B.A. in Political and Social Thought
- B.A. in Political Philosophy, Policy and Law
- B.A. in Foreign Affairs
- B.A. in Government
Other Schools With Top Pre-Law Degree Programs
|College/University||Institution Type||Location||Estimated Undergrad In-State Tuition*|
|Avila University||4-year, Private||Kansas City, MO||$20,000|
|Campbell University||4-year, Private||Buies Creek, NC||$32,500|
|DeSales University||4-year, Private||Center Valley, PN||$37,000|
|Ohio Wesleyan University||4-year, Private||Delaware, OH||$46,000|
|University of Detroit Mercy||4-year, Private||Detroit, MI||$28,000|
|CUNY City College||4-year, Public||New York, NY||$7,000|
|Ball State University||4-year, Public||Muncie, IN||$10,000|
|University of Utah||4-year, Public||Salt Lake City, UT||$9,000|
|Northern Arizona University||4-year, Public||Flagstaff, AZ||$11,500|
|West Texas A&M University||4-year, Public||Canyon, TX||$8,000|
*Source: NCES, U.S. Department of Education