A List of Undergraduate Courses That Are Recommended for Law School

Add These Courses to Your Schedule If You're Considering Law School

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If you're considering applying to law school, you may be wondering what undergraduate courses admissions officers like to see on your transcript. Law schools don't require a set curriculum from your undergraduate education. In fact, you don't even have to feel obligated to choose pre-law if your school offers it when you're selecting a major.  Law students come from a wide range of majors, from English to history to engineering, so the best advice is to choose challenging college courses and a major that interests you, then do well in those classes. You're more likely to get great grades if you're studying and majoring in something you actually like. 

What Admissions Officers Look For 

Law school admissions officers will be most impressed by the fact that you challenged yourself and succeeded in the material you chose. They don’t want to see that you took the easy courses whenever you could. A high GPA from easy courses is much less impressive than a high GPA from a challenging course load. That said, some courses will help you prepare for and succeed in law school more than others. 

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 you have some understanding of the topics before you begin law school. These courses are usually reading-intensive, which is also great preparation for law school. They include:

  • United States and world history
  • Economics
  • Government
  • Jurisprudence
  • Law and/or taxation
  • Any political science

Writing, Thinking, and Public Speaking

Your legal education will build on writing, analytical thinking, and public speaking skills, so courses that showcase your ability to excel in these areas will look good on your undergraduate transcript. Your command of the English language through writing, reading and speaking will get you through law school. Your writing style will definitely change in law school, but has developed and used it during your undergraduate studies will help immensely.

You should also practice speaking in public or to a large group of people — you'll be doing a lot of that in law school. Look for courses in these areas:

  • Debate
  • English
  • Literature
  • Logic
  • Philosophy or public policy
  • Public speaking
  • Writing

Other Helpful Courses

Disciplines that study human behavior can also be useful. They involve critical thinking and analysis, two valuable legal skills. Some recommended undergraduate courses in this area include:

  • Criminology
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Religion

The Bottom Line 

If you want to prepare for law school, take courses that require 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. It will also put you at an advantage when you start law school. 

Two of the most important components of your law school application is your GPA and LSAT score. Both should be at or above the school’s averages. Others may have GPAs close to yours, but you can distinguish yourself with the quality of your course selection.