Academic Programs Catalog

Undergraduate Education

Academic Opportunities

Prelaw Study

The Prelaw Handbook, the official law school guide published by the Association of American Law Schools, emphasizes that there is not a prescribed course of study which can be recommended to all students seeking to enter law school.  The two most important law school admission criteria, according to the Prelaw Handbook, are the student's undergraduate grade–point average and their score on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). The admission policies of various law schools, and the degree to which they utilize other criteria as well as the above, are described in the Prelaw Handbook which may be examined in the University Library or purchased in most bookstores.  The prelaw student is urged to study this handbook carefully and to discuss it with an advisor in the college of their choice.

Although the Prelaw Handbook does not single out specific courses or majors as being especially suitable for prelaw studies, it does call attention to certain skills and insights which the student should seek to develop, and which the LSAT attempts to measure. These are the ability to think carefully and critically, to comprehend the thoughts of others and express one's own with accuracy and clarity, and to understand critically the human values and institutions with which the law deals.

The development of these abilities is not the monopoly of any one subject area, department, or school. While the  Prelaw Handbook does discuss specific areas of study and the potential contribution each can make to prelaw education, it prefaces its discussion by insisting on the importance of a prelegal education of the broadest scope. Thus, a prelaw student may major in virtually any discipline, provided that the major is made part of a rigorous and broad education.

The following colleges at Michigan State University have defined prelaw programs and advisors:  Arts and Letters, Business, James Madison, and Social Science. Page references to these programs may be found in the General Index.  Additional information may be obtained from the office of the associate dean of these and other colleges.