2009-2010 Undergraduate Catalog 
    Oct 29, 2020  
2009-2010 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

(Pre-) Law

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Gordon Tolle, Coordinator
Department of History and Political Science
Scobey Hall 304

Area of Study

The formal academic training for law includes, with few exceptions, four years as an undergraduate leading to a bachelor’s degree and three years in law school. Entering students who are undecided as to major choice and desire to prepare for law school may enroll in the College of General Studies. However, you will be required to declare an academic major during your freshman or sophomore year. If you enroll under this classification you are assisted by a pre-law adviser in planning your courses of study. Entering students who have chosen a major and desire also to prepare for law school enroll in the college at SDSU that offers this particular major. They may request pre-law as an emphasis and be assigned to pre-law adviser who will assist them in planning course schedules.

The pre-law student should be involved in an undergraduate program which is intellectually challenging and which requires rigorous academic discipline. No specific subjects are prescribed for law school admission. You may select any undergraduate major available at SDSU. Law schools welcome and encourage a variety of educational backgrounds among their students. Breadth and intellectual maturity are more important than particular subject matter. However, law schools do recommend that the pre-law curriculum be carefully selected.

A reasonable exposure to such subjects as political science, history, literature, English composition, economics, sociology, and philosophy will provide a good background for the full appreciation of the law. An important skill in law school is writing ability so undergraduate courses that develop this skill should be stressed. Electives such as drama and theatre arts, debate, creative writing, and speech can help in sharpening those skills needed by a member of the legal profession. Finally, the discipline used in the study of science will help prepare the student for the rigors of the law curriculum. Moreover, a basic knowledge of the physical and biological sciences will often help in the cases the lawyer pleads. Many law schools expect the student to have completed at least one accounting course.

The attorney must be a well-rounded individual with knowledge in more than law. Understanding the basic psychology of people and the philosophy behind the law, and to use the logic necessary to present a case are important.

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. The pre-law adviser has application forms and sample tests. The adviser also has general information on law schools.

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