Start a legal studies degree at American Public University.
By Tiffany Sappington
Career Coach, APUS
If you see law school in your future, but you are struggling with deciding on an undergraduate major, below are some items to consider before committing. First, let’s examine typical admissions requirements for law school. Then, we’ll look at undergraduate options that can help you prepare for your future legal career.
Some of the top requirements for admission to law school include:
- Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
- Good GPA (aim for 3.7 or above)
- Highest LSAT score as possible (scores range from 120-180)
- Work and volunteer experience
- Other admissions requirements (personal essay, resume and references)
Most law schools do not require applicants to have an undergraduate degree in a specific field. However, they will evaluate the rigor associated with your undergraduate program to assess logical reasoning, oral and written communication, and research skills.
Pros of Pursuing an Undergraduate Degree in Legal Studies
Choosing what may be considered a traditional undergraduate degree like legal studies or pre-law can introduce you to extremely valuable skills, such as legal research and writing, that other degree options may not. These programs can also help you with legal terminology, rules of court, and practice with reading and briefing cases. The important thing to remember is that you are not required to pursue a legal studies or pre-law undergraduate degree to be admitted to law school.
Pros of Pursuing an Undergraduate Degree by Interest or Specialty Area
Since most law schools do not require you to have a specific undergraduate major, you might consider an undergraduate program that you have a strong interest in or relates to a field of law in which you later want to practice.
For example, if you hope to practice environmental law, you might enroll in an environmental studies bachelor’s degree program to broaden your knowledge in this industry. Another option might be a technical undergraduate major like engineering, which could help prepare you for patent law. For more information on becoming a patent practitioner, visit the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website.
Other common fields of law include criminal, corporate, immigration, intellectual property, real estate, personal injury, tax and even cyber. Therefore, many various undergraduate degree programs can prepare you for success in both law school and your future career.
Additional Resources for Law Students
For more information on fields of law, the LSAT and preparing for law school, I recommend visiting the following websites. In fact, the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) compiles data related to undergraduate majors accepted to ABA-approved law schools, such as its 2017-2018 report.