UT Tyler Department of Political Science
The decision to attend law school after earning your bachelor’s degree is not only very important, but requires a good deal of deliberation and research. The Pre Law Program not only prepares students for a potential future in the law profession, but also provides students the resources to make an informed decision about their future academic endeavors. Given the intellectual rigor of law school, coupled with its financial cost, this decision should not be taken lightly. The most important factors students should consider are:
- Your undergraduate record.
- The law school admission process.
- Preparation for the LSAT.
- The choice of which law schools to apply.
- The choice of which law school to attend.
As the Department of Political Science and History, we are prepared to assist you in all these decisions. Our recent graduates have attended the University of Texas Law School, SMU Dedman School of Law, the University of Houston Law Center, Texas A&M University School of Law, the University of North Texas at Dallas College of Law, and the University of Idaho College of Law.
Students intending to apply to law school should not take any undergraduate course on a pass/fail or CR/NC basis. Law school admissions typically interpret a "P" (pass) as a "D" or "C," a CR as a "C", and an NC as an "F."
A student considering law school will receive advising from both an advisor in their major and the pre-law advisor. A student’s major advisor ensures that the student fulfills the requirements for their chosen plan of study. Consequently, the major advisor is the student’s primary advisor and should be consulted early and often.
The pre-law advisor is responsible for certifying that students have fulfilled their coursework for the Pre-Law minor, reviews students’ academic progress, and ensures that students are engaged in extracurricular activities that make them a well-rounded applicant for the admissions process. For example, the pre-law advisor helps students organize, prepare, and submit their law school applications.
Pre-law advising, at UT Tyler, is conducted through the Department of Political Science and History and Professor Eric Lopez serves as the pre-law advisor. He is also the advisor to the Pre Law Society, a group of students who share a common interest in law.
The American Bar Association does not recommend a particular major for students considering law school. Nor is there one field that will give students an advantage in the application process. Instead, law schools tend to value a rigorous liberal arts education that sharpens students’ intellectual skills and values (which are essential for not only success in law school, but also competent legal advocacy). Such skills include: critical thinking and reading, expository and persuasive writing, oral communication, research and organization. Thus, select a major that you will not only enjoy but one that will demand excellence in these areas. Also, seek out courses and instructors that require research papers, substantial reading assignments, essay exams, and oral presentations.
Choose a minor, and course electives, that complement your major with a focus on history, political thought and theory, the American political system, ethics and justice, economics, human behavior, mass communications, and cultural studies (e.g. see the requirements for the Pre-Law Minor below). Because the best law schools expect students to have two years of college-level foreign language, the B.A. degree is recommended.
The Pre-Law minor is an 18-hour interdisciplinary minor designed to prepare students for a postgraduate study of law. It consists of 9 hours of legal content specific courses and 9 hours of law preparation and application courses. Courses taken to fulfill requirements for a major cannot be applied to the minor. Courses to fulfill the Pre-Law minor are:
Legal Content Courses (9 hours)
POLS 4321: American Constitutional Law
POLS 4322: The Law of Civil Liberties
POLS 4350: International Law, Diplomacy and Organization
CRIJ 3326: Criminal Law
CRIJ 4341: Criminal Procedure
BLAW 3301: Business Law and Social Responsibility
*any class not taken to fulfill the 9 hours of legal content courses can be used to fulfill the law preparation and application requirements.
Law Preparation and Application Courses (9 hours)
PHIL 2303: Intro to Logic (Course will help prepare students for LSAT)
POLS 2320: The Study of Law (Course will help prepare students for law school applications)
POLS 3300: United States Constitutional Development
POLS 4320: The Judicial System and Process
CRIJ 3310: Ethical Issues in Criminal Justice
CRIJ 3325: Law and Society
CRIJ 4345: Courtroom Testimony
ENGL 3308: Writing Textual Analysis
ENGL 4380: The Language of Argument
SPCM 4328: Corporate and Legal Advocacy
* no class can be used to fulfill the Legal Content requirements.
Law school admission counselors will look not only at your LSAT scores, your GPA, and the rigor of your academic training, but they will also evaluate your participation in meaningful extracurricular activities that enhance concepts of citizenship, leadership and service, and activities that build writing and oral communication skills. As a pre-law student, you will want to become involved in such groups as student government, athletics, the debate team, student newspaper, Model UN, and Moot Court.
However, grades and your LSAT score are much more important to your chances of admission than are extracurricular activities. Do not sacrifice your GPA, or LSAT preparation, in favor of these activities.
Professor Eric Lopez: firstname.lastname@example.org
LSAT Preparation through Kaplan:
Kaplan offers a student discount for those interested in taking Kaplan’s Live Online course. If you are interested, please contact Professor Eric Lopez for more information. For material on the Live Online course, please visit: Kaplan Live Online Software
The Live Online course schedule can be found here:Kaplan Scheduler