Just as there are many paths to reach the same destination there are many undergraduate majors that lead to a law degree.
If the long term goal is to earn a law degree, beginning with the right undergraduate major is critical. There are multiple majors that will provide a strong foundation for future study of law, where they differ in content they are similar in critical skills that are imperative for success in law school and beyond.
To begin with a prospective law student must first take and receive a score worthy of law school admissions on the LSAT. The LSAT is a standardized test that unlike others does not test specific subject matter, rather it tests for critical thinking skills. Law schools seek out those prospective students with the ability to think abstractly, interpret written texts, and have a very high reading comprehension. Students that are able to think logically and thoroughly about subjects are those that law schools want to identify.
As no single major develops these skills it isn’t necessary for prospective law students to attend a specific major to gain admissions, but there are some majors that stand out as having helped develop these imperative skills more than others.
What Law Schools are Seeking In Prospective Students
Despite what some might think Law Schools want students with a wide array of backgrounds and majors. Students that have the critical thinking skills are more sought after than students of a particular major. If a student is the only applicant with a major in physics, they are most likely to be admitted than the hundredth business major applicant. Why is variety of background so important? Well think of all the various types of lawyers there are and what they specialize in. Earning an undergraduate degree in a field where you shine is more important than trying to “fit a mold” for law admissions. It is also noted when students have taken a variety of courses and excelled in their given field.
What not to do; major in pre-law. Counter-intuitive? Perhaps, after all, this degree was designed to prepare students for law school following it, but law schools want critical thinking skills and personal talents brought to the table as well as proof that these individuals can excel in difficult subjects. That isn’t to say that going this route won’t get you into law school, but another route where you can show your ability to earn good grades, be challenged in difficult subject matter, and score high on the LSAT would definitely be a better route to ensure admissions to law school. Undergraduate courses are a time to delve into subjects where personal talents can shine and be expanded. Expert knowledge in a variety of fields is critical in a law career.
What are some of the best majors for law school then? Below is a short list of some of the most popular among students that scored well on the LSAT and were admitted into a law school.
1. Political Science
It is no secret that most applicants to law school have an undergraduate in Political Science. Political Science and Law have gone hand in hand since the earliest days of formal education in these subjects due to their similar nature of political theory and political theory and the writing and governing of laws. Political Science is a study of governments and their systems, political behavior, and judicial systems. A core reason why political science majors do so well is due to the foundational knowledge of how and why laws are created and executed. This knowledge along with knowing the history behind laws makes them very good candidates for law school. Students of Political Science will cover foreign political systems as well as many history courses. The study is rigorous and students develop advanced reading comprehension skills.
- Average LSAT Score: 153.8
- Average GPA: 3.39
Psychology is the study of human thought, behavior and the why behind all of it. When making and interpreting laws people need to understand what kinds of laws will positively impact human behavior to accomplish the desired result. Psychology is the study of human behavior and the mental processes that impact how people behave, interact with others, and their surroundings. Psychology majors will learn how people reach judgements or prejudices about others in their decision making and how that leads to discrimination. Students of psychology are also very good at networking and negotiating, two skills that are well used in the world of law.
- Average LSAT Score: 152.59
- Average GPA: 3.35
3. Criminal Justice
This undergraduate major is a natural fit for law school, seeing that students learn and focus on the justice system along with criminal justice topics. Students will have a foundational knowledge of court proceedings, the legal system, as well as different correctional systems. This particular degree requires students to have strong research, writing, and analytical skills. All of which are essential to do well in law school. Surprisingly, though this seems to be a perfect fit for law school, most law schools prefer students to have specializations in a different field of study. It may be harder for students with this degree to gain entrance to law schools as they often will scrutinize the academic records of these students for more than those of other degrees.
- Average LSAT: 145.90
- Average GPA: 3.22
English as an undergraduate major is a very good and solid choice for those seeking admittance to a law program. Law students need exceptional reading comprehension skills as well as the ability to process, analyze and defend their position on a text. English students learn to do just that throughout their entire major. As part of an English degree students will read large complex volumes, process, and analyze them and then defend their position through their writing. Prospective law students will learn many of the necessary critical thinking and persuasive writing skills early on with an English major.
- Average LSAT: 155.25
- AVerage GPA: 3.42
This major comes as no surprise as it is imperative for lawyers to have knowledge of past precedent on legal cases. Within a history major students gain strong research skills, advanced reading comprehension of difficult texts, analytical skills, and advanced writing skills. Each of these are necessary to being successful in law school. Through this major students not only gain the skills they will be utilized throughout the law program and beyond but they will also gain critical knowledge and understanding into the past. Many history students analyze complex texts from the history of multiple civilizations, giving them a unique perspective on law and past precedent.
- Average LSAT: 156.22
- Average GPA: 3.45
This is an interesting major that proves to be very beneficial not only before law schools but following law school as well. As more laws have been enacted to correct and adjust economic behavior of individuals and businesses, economics has become a critical major for those desiring to understand the financial impact of law. Students will learn to analyze the economic impact laws have on businesses through contracts, property rights, antitrust, and more. Having a deeper understanding of business organizations and regulations and how those alter the economic landscape will also benefit those interpreting laws that govern businesses. Many will find that this will be a continuous study even after law school should they continue in business and financial law.
- Average LSAT: 158.93
- Average GPA: 3.47
Philosophy, that art of thinking critically and presenting an argument. Students of this major learn to think, analyze, present arguments without any clear right or wrong answer. With strong philosophical elements of ethics and human nature built into law, students of philosophy tend to fit right in with analyzing law and presenting an argument of why it is or is not ethical. It requires logical thinking and logical arguments to solve problems of human behavior. This is a difficult major. Students are accustomed to examining moral, political, and legal issues with no clear right or wrong answer. Law admissions tend to look more favorably on students of this major than say those that take the criminal justice route simply due to its difficulty and critical thinking skills it develops.
- Average LSAT: 157.53
- AVerage GPA: 3.43
Sociology is often overlooked as a major for those desiring to enter law, but it is really quite ideal as it studies the bigger picture of society. Students will learn to see and analyze current issues that society is facing today. Topics can vary but often they include subjects such as poverty, economic justice, racial discrimination, LGBTQ rights, and more. Students will learn to see laws that can help mitigate these issues as well as what is hampering it. Those seeking to make a change in public policy to make a difference in society will find a degree in Sociology would be a good start to a law degree.
- Average LSAT: 150.71
- AVerage GPA: 3.29
Those in the communications sector might find themselves as public speakers, writers, or negotiators. All of these lend themselves to success in law school. Most students in the communications major will have courses on team building, conflict management, and opportunities to develop critical thinking skills. These will be very beneficial skills for those in law school. Most communication courses require students to present regularly on current events either in writing or publicly speaking, this also improves students’ knowledge of current political events and how to analyze and address them.
- Average LSAT: 151.2
- Average GPA: 3.32
An undergraduate degree major in science in and of itself does not guarantee a spot at a law school but what it does do is make that applicant stand out drastically from the rest of the applicants. Students that stand out as unique and capable will definitely fare better at receiving an acceptance letter than the dime a dozen students. While science may seem unrelated to law it is very evident that there are niches within law where a science degree is exactly what is needed to have a clear understanding of specific niches. Not convinced, think about the niche of pharmaceutical law, those with a degree in chemistry will be better suited for this specialty of law. Another hot topic is environmental law, those students with environmental degrees will be much better suited for this specialty than one with a background in criminal justice. ALong with that they develop many of the same skills, research, analytical skills, logic, reasoning, and the ability to express findings.
- Average LSAT: 148.4
- Average GPA: 3.21
11. Arts and Humanities
This major often doesn’t look like a typical law school major, but remember the LSAT doesn’t test prior knowledge of law but rather the applicant’s ability to think critically, comprehend, and effectively write. Arts and humanities students study a wide variety of topics and have opportunities to have a broad range of coursework where they study various cultures, history, literature, art forms and more from all around the world. This makes them ideal candidates for law schools with a broad knowledge base and a solid background in research and writing.
- Average LSAT: 154.19
- Average GPA: 3.4
For those that have the goal to attend law school be sure to make the most of your undergraduate degree choice to better prepare you for success in law school and beyond. Ultimately there is no wrong major, but here we found the best majors for law school to prepare you and set you apart in the sea of applicants.