Pre-Law Programs & Advising

John C. Domino, Ph.D.,
Professor of Political Science

It is my responsibility as a pre-law advisor to assist you during your undergraduate studies. The university does not offer a pre-law major or minor (I don't know of any institution that does). A student first selects an appropriate major and minor from the disciplines available at Sam Houston State University and then uses elective courses to acquire or strengthen academic skills necessary for success in law school.

Frequently Asked Questions

What's the best major?

I am often asked "what's the best major" to help gain admission to law school. While no department or discipline may truthfully say, "major with us and you are guaranteed admission to and success in law school," there are majors and minors that are better suited to the kind of academic preparation needed for law school. Students from a range of majors gain admission to law school, but those who are most successful typically have majored in a program or discipline that is "academic" rather than "applied." An applied program is primarily intended to prepare a student for a specific profession or job.

Studies show that students who have majors and minors in the liberal arts and social sciences are more likely to be successful applicants. More specifically, courses of study in advanced English composition, political science, philosophy, history, and accounting are strongly recommended.

 

What kinds of skills do I need?

Law school is extremely challenging for all majors -- the students who do well have worked to develop five skills during their undergraduate education:

I advise you to follow the most challenging path -- take the most challenging courses. Take foreign language, math, and science courses.

 

Where do I begin?

Obtain a copy of the university catalogue and familiarize yourself with the majors and minors offered. Know the differences between a B.A., B.S. and B.B.A. degree. Most importantly, there is a core curriculum that all students must complete to graduate.

The first two years for a pre law student are similar to those for all other students. English composition, mathematics, history, political science, natural science, and physical education are required.

Then, you will need to choose a major and a minor (see above).

 

Any other advice on strategy?

Be sure not to overburden yourself. Work with an advisor to determine the number of credit hours you will take each semester.

Be sure to take the prerequisite courses before moving on to advanced ones. This strategy will enable you to get the most from the advanced course.

Always remember that grade point average is extremely important. Your GPA and score on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) are the primary factors in determining admission to a law school.

 

Is there a set pre law curriculum?

No, but I would strongly recommend incorporating some of the following suggested courses into your overall course of study at the university.

Courses that strengthen critical thinking and research skills

Philosophy 262 (critical thinking), 362 (logic), or 363 (contemporary moral issues).

History 372 (historiography)

Political Science 379 (research and writing)

Sociology 366 (research methods)

Psychology 234/214 (research methods)

 

Challenging courses that strengthen analytical, writing, and study skills

Accounting 231 (principles)

English 380 (advanced composition)

History 467 (English constitutional law)

Philosophy 363 (moral issues)

Political Science 334 (judicial systems)

Political Science 378 (American political thought)

Political Science 433 (American constitutional law)

Psychology 381 (social psychology)

 

Courses related to a particular field of law

General Business Administration 362 (business law)

Criminal Justice 430 (law and society)

History 467 (English constitutional law)

Political Science 334 (judicial systems)

Political Science 433 (American constitutional law)

Psychology 383 (psychology and the law)

Sociology 465 (race/ethnic inequality)

 

How do I apply for law school?

Your first step is to register with the Law School Data Assembly Service (LSDAS). Nearly all American Bar association-approved law schools require that applicants use LSDAS, which is administered by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). The LSAC also administers the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT), a half-day standardized test which is required for admission to law school. For registration information visit the LSAC web site at
www. LSAC.org.

Additional Questions or Comments?

If you have any additional questions please email me at pol_jcd@shsu.edu or call 936/294-1463 to set up an appointment. Dr. Edwin Davis also advises pre law students. He can be reached at pol_esd@shsu.edu or call 936/294-1462.