Formation for Law School

The statue of Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC

See the more in the Course Catalog.

What is Pre-Law?

The term “pre-law” refers to a course of study intended to prepare students for law school. Top law schools prefer strong subject area majors in their applicants. You can major in any subject and still enter law school, as long as you successfully complete your bachelor’s degree and take the LSAT (the law school entrance exam).

Rigorous Liberal Arts Formation

Law school is academically intensive, involving a heavy load of reading, understanding complex written material, and a generous dose of logic, history, rhetoric, writing, research, and critical analysis. Use your undergraduate classes to explore the liberal arts; enroll in courses that focus on reading, writing, and critical thinking.

The point of a liberal arts education is to develop analytical and communication skills that have broad application. You need to be able to understand information through oral and written forms, to respond to that information morally and imaginatively, to analyze arguments, examine and evaluate evidence, and to communicate cogently.

Best Pre-Law Majors

There are no specific courses you have to take to be admitted to law school; there is no set list of “prerequisites.” A major that will prepare you for law school is one that is rigorous. Some examples of pre-law majors that can help students prepare for law school include philosophy, English, economics, history, and political science.

According to the Law School Admission Council (LSAC), the most common major among 2015-2016 law school applicants was political science. English is among the top five most common majors, and philosophy majors tend to be top law school applicants.

Outside the Classroom

Your post-graduation plans—whether that means law school, graduate school or full time work—will be impacted by the activities you engage in outside the classroom. Jobs, internships, community service, student organizations and leadership experiences can help you prepare for the future. They are also an invaluable investment in yourself, and can aid the process of building virtuous habits and a mature outlook. Get involved in student clubs, academic groups, arts, activities, and study abroad—take advantage of what college has to offer!

Letters of Recommendation

Law schools expect you to produce letters of recommendation, vouching for your academic aptitude and overall motivation. From the beginning of your college experience, take advantage of professors’ office hours, introduce yourself, and dive deeply into academic questions. Get to know your professors—building relationships is a life skill that is key to both your happiness and your future success.

Suggested Pre-Law Activities

  1. Engage intellectually
    1. Take challenging classes, with writing emphasis
    2. Attend lectures & academic discussions
    3. Be well-read; follow current events that have a legal angle or debate element
  2. Familiarize yourself with the practice of law
    1. Shadow a lawyer
    2. Make courtroom visits
    3. Volunteer for a law firm
    4. Interview lawyers about the nature of their work
  3. Develop your skills
    1. Logical reasoning
    2. Analysis / Synthesis
    3. Writing
    4. Speaking
  4. Perform volunteer and service work
    1. Engage the community
    2. Show empathy and explore causes you are passionate about

Law Schools Attended by Recent Benedictine Grads

  • *Notre Dame Law School
  • University of Nebraska College of Law
  • University of Saint Thomas Law School (MN)
  • University of Denver Strum College of Law
  • University of Missouri Kansas City
  • Loyola University of New Orleans College of Law
  • University of Kansas School of Law
  • *Washburn University School of Law
  • Baylor University School of Law
  • University of Wisconsin Law (Madison)
  • Saint Louis University School of Law
  • University of Iowa College of Law
  • Ave Maria University School of Law

*Denotes law schools most popular among Benedictine graduates

Be sure to take advantage of the post-graduate support and guidance provided by Benedictine College's Student Success Center.


John F. Settich, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair
Contact by Email

St. Benedict Hall

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  • Kimberly Shankman, Ph.D.
    Professor and
    Dean of the College

Freshmen Year

POLS-1000 or POLS-1500 or POLS-1750Introduction to American Government or Amer. 20th Cent. Pol. History or Leadership Matters3
Foreign Language4
THEO-1100Introduction to Theology3
ENGL-1010English Composition3
PSYC-1000 or SOCI-1000General Psychology
or General Sociology
GNST-1000BC Experience1
ECON-2090Principles of Macroeconomics3
Foreign Language4
Historical Foundation3
Aesthetic experience3
Skills & perspectives course3

Sophomore Year

POLS-2010Comp World Government & Politics3
EXSC-1115Wellness for Life1
Faith foundation3
PHIL-1750Principles of Nature3
ACCT-2090Principles of Financial Accounting3
Elective, preferably in political science3
POLS-2750Public Policy Analysis3
POLS-2500Research Methods4
EXSC Fitness course1
Aesthetic Experience3
Faith Foundation3
Understanding the Nat. World Found. (w/ lab)4

Junior Year

POLS-3800Development of Political Thought3
Elective courses (Political Science or non-departmental) upper-division10
Philosophical inquiry3
Understanding the Nat. World Found. (w/ lab)3
Constitutional law class3
POLS-4010International Relations3

Senior Year

POLS-4950Capstone Senior Seminar3
POLS-COMPSenior Comprehensive Exam0
Elective courses (Political Science or
non-departmental) upper-division
POLS-4600 or POLS-4700Public Administration   or Policy Implementation3
Political Science elective3
Elective courses (Political Science or non- departmental) upper-division10

Other Department Offerings

  • Minor in Political Science
  • Minor/Concentration in Pre-Law
  • Minor in Economics and Politics