Best Undergraduate Majors To Prepare You for Law School
Updated February 3, 2023
When choosing a major for undergraduate study, it can be helpful to consider your future goals to ensure you pick a major that can help you achieve them. Students who plan on attending law school after graduation might benefit from majoring in a subject that can help prepare them for the curriculum and environment of law school. If you're considering law school and want to prepare during your undergraduate study, you might think about which major can most effectively support you and provide you with the skills to succeed once you graduate.
In this article, we explore some of the best majors that can prepare undergraduates to apply for and complete law school.
What is law school?
Law school refers to postgraduate programs that prepare students to work as lawyers and other types of professionals in the law industry. When in law school, students can attend classroom lectures on concepts in law, engage in mock trials to practice skills they might use in future cases and complete coursework in subjects like civil litigation, family law and taxation. Most full-time students can earn a law degree in three years, but there are sometimes opportunities for students to graduate early. Some law schools also offer programs for part-time students that they can complete in four years.
Here are some common jobs that law school graduates often pursue:
Related: 11 Benefits of Law School
Top undergraduate majors for getting into law school
Here are some of the best majors for preparing to attend law school:
One of the most popula r undergraduate majors for students who want to enter law school is criminal justice. This is because studying criminal justice can provide a thorough foundation on the basic concepts that law school explores in more depth, including how the court system functions and which procedures someone can use to determine whether an individual has broken the law. Some criminal justice programs also explore criminology theory and the psychology that contributes to criminal behavior, which is information that an aspiring law student might use later in their career.
Related: How To Get a Criminal Justice Degree
History can be very effective in preparing students for law school, as many laws exist due to historically significant events. Studying history can also benefit aspiring law students by allowing them to engage in similar methods of study to what they might encounter in law school. For example, majoring in history typically involves reading high volumes of material, identifying important pieces of information and taking detailed notes and remembering specific details, like names, dates and locations. These are also common characteristics of studying law.
English is another major that can be especially helpful for aspiring law students because of the volume of reading and writing these programs typically involve. Most English programs help students develop the critical thinking and comprehensive analysis skills that many law professionals use every day. Studying English can also offer the opportunity to build experience interacting with different genres of writing and various types of documents, which can be great skills to have in law school.
Earning a degree in philosophy can benefit law school applicants by allowing them to practice developing and presenting arguments. This is because most philosophy programs involve frequently exploring and debating the claims and ideas of different philosophers, which can be a very similar process to arguing a court case. Studying philosophy can also help aspiring law students learn how to consider all aspects of an argument or idea, including opposing sides, which can be another valuable skill for professionals in law.
Related: 9 Top Jobs for Philosophy Majors
Political science is another major that can be helpful for aspiring law students during their undergraduate studies, as much of studying political science can involve exploring concepts in law and the judicial system. Students in political science programs can study subjects like how laws are structured and which historical court cases impact the law today. Political science majors also typically develop excellent public speaking skills, which are typically very valuable for law professionals.
Many future law students choose to pursue a business major during their undergraduate study because it can introduce students to various elements of the legal system. For example, business students can learn about concepts like preparing contracts, conducting negotiations and evaluating entities for compliance with industry and legal regulations. Completing a program in business can also provide students with skills that can help them succeed in the legal industry, such as written and verbal communication, critical thinking and attention to detail.
Economics can be a highly beneficial major for future law students, as it can help them develop skills in data analysis and problem-solving. These abilities can be very valuable when practicing law, as many law professionals spend a lot of time reviewing information and finding legal solutions for their clients. Studying economics can also offer the chance to learn about specific laws and policies related to using money and engaging in transactions like investments or business acquisitions.
Another undergraduate major that can prepare students for law school is finance. Similar to economics majors, finance majors often learn extensively about the policies that impact how people use money. However, a finance major can often focus more closely on financial planning and interactions that businesses take part in, which can be beneficial for aspiring law students who want to pursue careers in business law.
Majoring in sociology can also be helpful for aspiring law students because it can provide opportunities to study human behavior and different cultures. Exploring these subjects can help prepare students for careers in law because many jobs in the law industry involve evaluating people's behavior to determine the reasoning behind their actions, which can help build defenses for court cases.
Completing an undergraduate major in mathematics can be very beneficial for a student who wants to enter law school because it can show law school admissions teams they can succeed in studying challenging material. This is often attractive to law schools, as attending law school also requires hard work and discipline. Majoring in mathematics can also help to set an application apart from other candidates, as it can be rarer for students with mathematics majors to pursue careers in law.
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