UT Tyler Department of Political Science
Pre-Law ProgramThe decision to go to law school after receiving your bachelor's degree is a very important one and requires a good deal of thought and research on your part. Law school is not easy and it is very expensive, therefore your preparation should be taken very seriously. The three most important decision points you will reach on your way to law school are:
- Your undergraduate preparation.
- The law school admission process.
- The choice of which law school to attend.
At UT Tyler, we are prepared to help you with all of these decisions.
Students intending to apply to law school should not take any undergraduate course on a pass/fail or CR/NC basis. Law school admissions typically interpret a "P" (pass) as a "D" or "C," a CR as a "C", and an NC as an "F."
A student planning to apply for law school will receive advising from both an advisor in their major and the pre-law advisor. The role of the advisor in the student's major is to ensure the student fulfills the requirements for the chosen major. The major advisor is the student’s primary advisor and should be consulted early and often. The pre-law advisor is available to help a student make important choices regarding extra-curricular activities, the law school application process and choice of law school.
Pre-law advising at UT Tyler is conducted through the Department of Political Science and History. Dr. Robert Sterken is the pre-law advisor. He is also the advisor to the Pre Law Society, a group of students who share a common interest in law.
The American Bar Association does not recommend any one major for students planning to attend law school. Nor is there one field which will give you an advantage. Instead, law schools look for a rigorous liberal arts education that has sharpened skills and values essential for competent lawyering.
Select a major that you not only enjoy but one that will demand excellence in critical thinking, expository and persuasive writing, oral communication, critical reading, research and organization. Also, seek out courses and instructors that require research papers, substantial reading, essay exams and oral presentations.
Choose a minor and electives that complement your major with history, political thought and theory, the American political system, ethics and justice, economics, human behavior, mass communications and cultural studies. Because the best law schools expect students to have two years of college-level foreign language, the B.A. degree is recommended.
The pre-law minor is an 18-hour interdisciplinary minor designed to prepare students for the post-undergraduate study of law. It consists of 12 hours of required core courses and six hours from a list of selected electives. Courses taken to fulfill requirements for a major cannot be applied to the minor. Courses in the minor include:
Core Courses (12 hrs.):
POLS 3321: Jurisprudence or POLS 4320: The Judicial System and Process
POLS 4321: American Constitutional Law or POLS 4322: The Law of Civil Liberties
CRIJ 3325: Law and Society or CRIJ 3326: Criminal Law
ENGL 3308: Writing Textual Analysis or ENGL 4380: The Language of Argument
Electives (6 hrs.):
BLAW 3301: Business Law and Social Responsibility
BLAW 3306: Business Law
BLAW 4340: Business and Professional Ethics
CRIJ 3310: Ethical Issues in Criminal Justice
CRIJ 4341: Criminal Procedure
CRIJ 4345: Evidence
CRIJ 4350: Comparative Criminal Justice
CRIJ 4360: Topics in Criminal Justice
JOUR 3318: Media Law and Ethics
POLS 3321: Jurisprudence or POLS 4320: The Judicial System and Process (If not already taken to fulfill core courses requirement).
POLS 4321: American Constitutional Law or POLS 4322: The Law of Civil Liberties (If not already taken to fulfill core courses requirement).
POLS 4350: International Law, Diplomacy and Organization
SOCI 4311: Majority/Minority Relations
SPCM 3325: Persuasive Communication
SPCM 4326: Public Speaking
SPCM 4328: Corporate and Legal Advocacy
Law school admission counselors will look not only at your LSAT scores, your GPA and the rigor of courses taken, they will also want to see participation in meaningful extra-curricular activities that enhance concepts of citizenship, leadership and service, and activities that build writing and speaking skills.
As a pre-law student you will want to become involved in student government, athletics, the debate team, student newspaper, Model UN and Moot Court. However, grades are much more important to your chances of admission than are extracurricular activities. Do not sacrifice your GPA in favor of these activities.