Undergraduate Courses That Are Recommended for Law School

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Law school applicants should have a variety of courses on their transcripts, including studies in the areas of business, logic, and social studies, among others. While most colleges do not ask students to complete a set of required courses for law school, there are certain classes and majors that can best prepare students for the rigors of this field of study.

Business

Students who are hoping to practice law in business-related areas, such as corporate law, real estate law, and tax will greatly benefit from early exposure to business studies. Business courses provide students with a strong command of business issues such as contracts, negotiations, and corporate structure. These courses require that students think critically and come up with solutions to intricate problems.

This coursework can also be useful for students who expect to practice law in the areas of government regulation, business litigation, and aspects of representing nonprofits. A business major, in particular, covers many subjects that a student will encounter in law school. Courses within this major include reading, writing, contracts, and speaking, all courses that will provide a solid foundation for students ultimately seeking a law degree. Many business courses also cover basic analytics skills. Relevant courses include accounting, finance, and negotiation.

History, Government, and Politics 

The legal profession requires basic knowledge of the government, as well as its history and processes. Courses in these subjects are advised so students have some understanding of the topics before beginning law school. These courses covering world history, government, jurisprudence, law and/or taxation are usually reading-intensive, which is also great preparation for law school.

Economics

Our country is driven by its economic system, and many pre-law students will benefit from understanding how money affects society. Students who study economics will also be required to apply logical thinking to their studies, as well as interpret and analyze complex data. These courses inform how our country has grown over time from an economic standpoint. Students might consider taking courses that provide fundamentals of economics, history of economics, and those that tackle law and economics directly.

English Literature and Composition

A legal education will build on writing and analytical thinking, so courses that showcase a candidate's ability to excel in these areas will look good on an undergraduate transcript. Students must show a strong command of the English language through writing, reading, and speaking. While most students will find that their writing styles will definitely change in law school, they still must work to strengthen their skills during the undergraduate years. English courses might include literature studies, logic and reasoning, philosophy, public policy, and writing.

Political Science

This is one of the more popular degrees for pre-law students. Political science degrees are designed to expose students to the intricate nature of a complex judicial system. Politics and law go hand in hand, and these courses teach students about how our laws are both structured and carried out.

As a political science major, the pre-law student will learn how to speak in public. Students will learn about the Constitution and how it developed the foundations for our legal system, and how different courts operate. Along with developing an understanding of politics and law, the student will also have the opportunity to write comparative papers on a variety of political issues. These courses might include public policy, international politics, leadership studies, and even courses related to current events.

Public Speaking

Students who are not political science majors need to seek out courses that emphasize public speaking skills. While students can enroll in public speaking classes, they should also practice speaking in public or to a large group of people—there's a lot of that in law school. This includes both giving in-class presentations as well as other public speaking endeavors. Writing for speech is also a skill that needs to be honed, not just speaking. Students should consider classes in debate, public speaking, and speech writing.

Additional Courses

Disciplines that study human behavior can also be useful, including both psychology and sociology. They involve critical thinking and analysis, two valuable legal skills. Many students will also benefit from exploring courses in criminology, anthropology, and even religion.

The bottom line is that students who want to prepare for law school should take courses that emphasize reading, writing, and critical thinking skills. Admissions officers look favorably on transcripts that show a student has both practiced these skills and has done well in courses that require them. 

Two of the most important components of the law school application are the GPA and LSAT score. Both should be at or above the school’s averages to be a competitive candidate, and students can often distinguish themselves from a pack of applicants with similar testing scores provided they show a range of high-quality classes.