While a college student planning to pursue law can major in any discipline, philosophy is among the more common choices, and many of our philosophy majors have continued successfully in law school. Law schools want students to come in with a background in logic, reasoning, and problem-solving. For the student who enjoys thinking and rational argument, and who is eager to pursue a challenging course of study, the pre-law philosophy major is a good option.
The Pre-Law Advisor is Professor Jason Matzke.
Requirements for the Pre-Law Concentration in Philosophy
Eleven courses (33 credits) including:
Logic (PHIL 151)
Ancient Greek Philosophy (PHIL 201)
Early Modern Philosophy (PHIL 202)
Philosophy of Law I (PHIL 320)
Philosophy of Law II (PHIL 325)
One additional history of philosophy course from Medieval Philosophy (PHIL 301), Hume and Kant (PHIL 302), or Hegel, Marx and Nietzsche (PHIL 303)
One course from the Ethics set (PHIL 160, 225, 226, 330, 335)
One course from the Continental Philosophy set (PHIL 260, 342, 343, 450)
One course from the non-Western set (PHIL 283, 284, 287, 440)
Research in Philosophy (PHIL 485)
3 Credits of either PHIL 499 (Internship) or one of the following courses: ECON 342 (Law and Economics), HIST 416 (American Legal History), HIST 417 (American Constitutional History), PSCI 422 (American Civil Liberties), or SOCG 415 (Sociology of Law).
Although not required for the major, we also offer PHIL 110 Introduction to Law and Legal Writing, which provides an overview of the U.S, legal system, basic categories of the law, and practice at writing legal briefs. This course is taught by a local attorney who also coaches the Mock Trial Team.
Latin has an important place in legal history and terminology; some background in Latin is advantageous to the student of law. Learning a classical language fosters analytical skills, writing skills, attention to detail, and contributes to self-awareness.
In addition to the required course, Introductory Logic (PHIL 151), Advanced Logic (PHIL 306) is also recommended. Law school admissions committees continue to treat LSAT scores as significant indicators of a student’s likelihood of success in the study of law, and there is no better preparation for that test than a good background in basic logic.
Philosophy of Law: Phil 320 and 325 provide an overview of the major theories of law, as well as addressing specific areas of study within legal theory, such as punishment, rights, equality, causality, liberty, etc.