The university does not offer a pre-law major or minor. 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?
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.
Follow the most challenging path -- take the most challenging courses. Take foreign language, math, and science courses.
Where do I begin?
Visit the university catalog 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 we strongly recommend incorporating some of the following suggested courses into your overall course of study at the university. (*Please visit the SHSU Crosswalk of Course Numbers to convert the courses below into the current 4-digit course codes.)
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.