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2002-2004 Undergraduate Catalog
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[College of Arts and Sciences]


Timothy D. Dillard, Coordinator
Office: 200 Clark Hall

While students planning careers in law may pursue a wide variety of undergraduate programs of study, a broad liberal arts education is considered an ideal preparation for the study of law. In the College of Arts and Sciences, prelaw students obtain this through required and elective courses that provide breadth and emphasize critical thinking, and through the selection of a major and minor that give intellectual depth. Because there is no single prelaw curriculum, careful academic planning with an adviser is very important.

Strongly recommended coursework for freshmen and sophomores interested in law includes English composition, English and American literature, American government and general political science courses, principles of economics, principles of accounting, and American history. Also recommended are appropriate courses in philosophy (logic and ethics), English history, political theory, psychology, sociology, and mathematics. Students are urged to select courses that stress the development of oral communication, writing skills, and critical thinking.

Specific details for a prelaw program of study are a matter for each individual student to plan in consultation with advisers. However, a typical program for the first two years of prelaw is as follows:

First Semester Second Semester
Course Hours Course Hours
EN 101 3 EN 102 3
Natural science 4 Natural science 4
PSC 101 3 MATH 110 3
PHL 101 3 PY or SOC 101 3
History elective 3 History elective 3
___ ___
16 16
First Semester Second Semester
Course Hours Course Hours
Literature 3 Fine arts 3
EC 110 3 EC 111 3
COM 120 or COM 248 3 PHL 200 3
Political science elective 3 Computer science or foreign language 3-4
Computer science or foreign language 3-4 Major or minor course 3
___ ___
15-16 15-16

When ready to select a major or minor, the prelaw student is advised to choose a major and minor in fields of study found to be personally fulfilling, and to select electives that assure a broad liberal education. These choices are best made if the student's first two years of undergraduate study are planned systematically to provide a broad acquaintance with recommended areas of study. The second two years of study provide opportunity for advanced work in major and minor subjects and continued development of a broad liberal arts background. Elective courses that may be helpful include AC 210, EN 309, HY 323 and HY 324, and statistics in psychology or sociology.

Most law schools base admission on undergraduate academic performance and on scores on required aptitude tests. These tests, such as the Law School Admission Test, are administered at least four times a year but normally should be taken in the first semester of the final year of undergraduate study. Since admission to professional schools is highly competitive, students should be aware that satisfactory completion of preprofessional requirements does not guarantee admission to professional schools. Therefore, students are advised to plan undergraduate course programs with some attention to alternative career goals.

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