Pre-Law Programs, Advising &
Legal Studies Minor

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

I. LEGAL STUDIES MINOR

II. PRE-LAW ADVISING:

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:

  • Reading comprehension and speed (ability to read and comprehend complex materials);
  • Writing with clarity and confidence;
  • Research skills, particularly library and electronic database usage and research paper preparation;
  • Oral communication, including poise and correct speech (and thinking on your feet!);
  • Analytical reasoning and critical thinking.

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

Category I:    Law-Related Skills Courses

COM 382          Persuasion            

COM 284          Argumentation and Debate 

ENG 377           Argument and Persuasion                                                                       

PHL 262           Critical Thinking

PHL 362           Introduction to Contemporary Logic

POL 379           Research & Writing

 

Category II:  Substantive Legal Content Courses

CJ 430         Law and Society

CJ 432          Legal Aspects of Corrections

CJ  361         Comparative Criminal Justice Systems

GBA 362       Business Law

GBA 385       Real Estate Law

GBA 363       Human Resources Management Law 

GBA 465        International Business Law

HIS 433          History of the Black Civil Rights Movement

MCM 471       Mass Media Law & Ethics

POL 334          Judicial Systems

POL 338           Victim’s Rights

POL 377           Introduction to Political Theory

POL 378           American Political Thought

POL 395           Environmental Policy

POL 434           Constitutional Law I: Individual Rights & Liberties

POL 435           Constitutional Law II: Governmental Powers & State-Federal Relations

PSY 383            Psychology and the Law

SOC 333           Age & Inequality

SOC 335           Gender and Inequality

SOC 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.

More Info

If you have questions about the SHSU Political Science Program, please contact us at:

Department of Political Science
SHSU Box 2149
Sam Houston State University
Huntsville, Texas 77341-2149
Phone: (936) 294-1457
Email: polsci@shsu.edu
Fax: (936) 294-4172