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South Dakota State University    
 
    
 
  Nov 19, 2017
 
2017-2018 Undergraduate Catalog

(Pre-) Law


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Program Coordinator/Contact
David Wiltse, Assistant Professor
Department of History, Political Science, Philosophy, and Religion
West Hall 220
605-688-4311
E-mail: david.wiltse@sdstate.edu

Pre-Professional Interest Area Information
The formal academic training for law includes, with few exceptions, a bachelor’s degree and three years of study in law school to earn a Juris Doctorate. Law schools welcome and encourage a variety of educational backgrounds among their students. Breadth and intellectual maturity are more important than study of particular subject matter. However, law schools do recommend that the pre-law curriculum be carefully selected.

No specific subjects are prescribed for law school admission, and thus any undergraduate major available at SDSU can prepare a student to study the law.  The pre-law student should be involved in an undergraduate program that is intellectually challenging and requires rigorous academic discipline. Individuals who have chosen a field of study work with their major advisor as well as the pre-law advisor to select courses and create a plan of study.

Suggested Coursework
An attorney must be a well-rounded individual. Reading and writing abilities are fundamental, and thus undergraduate courses that develop these skills should be stressed. A reasonable exposure to such subject areas as English composition, economics, history, literature, philosophy, political science, and sociology are typically considered foundational for the full appreciation of the law. Electives such as drama and theatre arts, debate, creative writing, and speech will sharpen those skills needed by a member of the legal profession. Additionally, courses in business, finance, and accounting are generally considered an asset to attorneys’ professional practice, and many law schools expect the student to have completed at least one accounting course. Furthermore, knowledge of the physical and biological sciences will often help in the cases the lawyer pleads. In particular, certain areas of the law are only open to those with an educational training in the sciences and engineering fields.

Law School Admissions Test
All law schools require the Law School Admissions Test, and most pre-law students take it in June between the junior and senior year or during the undergraduate senior year. It is a nationwide, half-day test of general aptitude for undertaking law studies and for writing ability. Students are encouraged to contact the pre-law advisor for more information on the LSAT and law schools of interest early in their academic career.

Possible Majors
American Indian Studies (B.A.)  
Economics (B.A./B.S.)  
English (B.A.)  
History (B.A./B.S.)  
Interdisciplinary Studies (B.S.)  
Political Science (B.A./B.S.)  
Psychology (B.S.)  
Sociology (B.A./B.S.)  

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