Getting into law school is extremely competitive, with tens of thousands of applicants vying for limited seats each year. While there is no one perfect major to maximize your chances, some stand out as better preparation for the LSAT, law school coursework, and legal careers.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: English, political science, philosophy, history, and economics are generally considered the best majors for law school.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of various college majors to determine which ones make you the strongest law school candidate. We’ll provide details on curriculum, required coursework, and how each major aligns with law school admissions and future legal practice.
Whether you’re an incoming freshman deciding on a major or want to maximize your law school chances as an upperclassman, read on for the best majors to get into top law schools.
Studying English can be an excellent choice for students who aspire to attend law school. The field of English offers a strong development of reading comprehension and writing skills, which are essential for success in the legal profession.
Law schools heavily emphasize the ability to understand and analyze complex legal texts, and an English major equips students with the necessary tools to excel in this area.
Strong development of reading comprehension and writing skills
An English major provides students with extensive practice in reading and interpreting a wide range of texts, including literature, legal documents, and case studies. This helps students develop strong reading comprehension skills, which are crucial for understanding complex legal concepts and arguments.
Additionally, the rigorous writing requirements in English courses enhance students’ ability to communicate effectively and persuasively, which are essential skills for lawyers.
Analysis of complex literature builds critical thinking abilities
Studying English involves analyzing and interpreting complex literary works, which helps students develop critical thinking abilities. This skill is invaluable in the legal field, where lawyers need to critically evaluate evidence, arguments, and legal precedents.
The ability to think critically enables future lawyers to construct well-reasoned legal arguments and make sound judgments.
Debating interpretations of literary works is good preparation for legal arguments
English majors often engage in lively classroom discussions where they debate various interpretations of literary works. This experience helps students develop the ability to articulate and defend their viewpoints, an essential skill for lawyers who must present persuasive arguments in courtrooms and legal settings.
Debating interpretations of literary works prepares students for the legal profession by honing their argumentative skills and teaching them how to counter opposing viewpoints effectively.
Exposes students to social/political issues which feature in law
The study of English literature often exposes students to social and political issues that are prevalent in society and frequently intersect with the law. By exploring literary works that touch on themes such as justice, inequality, and human rights, English majors gain a broader understanding of the social and political contexts that shape the legal system.
This exposure provides valuable insights into the complexities of the legal profession and helps students develop a well-rounded perspective.
Political Science is one of the best majors for aspiring law school students. It provides a strong foundation in government, political systems, and processes, which are essential knowledge for a career in law.
Understanding how governments work and how policies are developed and implemented is crucial for lawyers who will be navigating the legal system.
Learn foundations of government, political systems, and processes
Studying political science allows students to delve into the intricacies of different political systems and gain a comprehensive understanding of how governments function. They learn about the structures of power, the role of institutions, and the mechanisms of decision-making.
This knowledge is invaluable for future lawyers as it provides a solid framework for understanding the legal landscape and the broader context in which laws are made.
Exposure to politics, public policy, and laws
Political science majors also gain exposure to politics, public policy, and laws. They learn about the various branches of government, the policy-making process, and the impact of laws on society. This exposure prepares them for the complexities of legal analysis and helps them develop a critical understanding of the legal system.
Develop research, analytical, and communication skills
One of the key skills that political science majors develop is the ability to conduct research and analyze data. They learn how to gather information, evaluate sources, and draw informed conclusions. These research and analytical skills are essential for legal research and crafting persuasive arguments in the courtroom.
Additionally, political science majors also develop strong communication skills, both written and verbal, which are crucial for success in law school and the legal profession.
Can take pre-law courses on constitutional law and jurisprudence
Many political science programs offer pre-law courses that focus on constitutional law and jurisprudence. These courses provide students with a solid foundation in legal principles and concepts. They explore topics such as the interpretation of the Constitution, the role of the judiciary, and the fundamental rights and freedoms protected by the law.
Taking these pre-law courses as part of a political science major can give students a head start in law school and a deeper understanding of the legal framework.
When it comes to choosing a major that can prepare you for law school, philosophy is an exceptional choice. This field of study builds logical reasoning and critical analysis abilities, which are essential skills for success in the legal profession.
Builds logical reasoning and critical analysis abilities
Studying philosophy requires students to think critically and analytically, honing their ability to construct well-reasoned arguments and evaluate the validity of others’ reasoning. This skill is invaluable when it comes to legal analysis and presenting persuasive arguments in courtrooms.
Focuses on crafting arguments and dissecting reasoning
Philosophy courses often involve intense discussions and debates, fostering the development of strong argumentative skills. Students learn how to construct compelling arguments, identify logical fallacies, and critically analyze the reasoning behind different viewpoints.
These skills translate directly into the practice of law, where lawyers must present coherent arguments and counter opposing viewpoints effectively.
Explores theories of ethics relevant to legal practice
Another crucial aspect of philosophy is the exploration of ethical theories and moral reasoning. Many philosophical discussions delve into ethical dilemmas and the principles that guide ethical decision-making.
This knowledge is directly applicable to the legal profession, where lawyers must navigate complex ethical issues and make sound judgments. Understanding ethical theories can help lawyers make informed decisions and uphold the principles of justice and fairness.
Good preparation for LSAT logic games and arguments
A major advantage of studying philosophy for aspiring law students is its alignment with the skills required for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). The LSAT includes sections on logical reasoning, analytical reasoning (logic games), and reading comprehension.
Philosophy majors develop the ability to analyze arguments, solve complex logic puzzles, and comprehend dense texts – all skills that are directly relevant to performing well on the LSAT.
According to The Princeton Review, philosophy majors consistently score among the highest on the LSAT compared to other majors. This data further highlights the strong correlation between philosophy and success in law school admissions.
Studying history can be an excellent major for students interested in pursuing a career in law. Here are some reasons why:
Learn historical context for legal/political issues
Understanding the historical context of legal and political issues is crucial for any lawyer. History majors are trained to analyze events, policies, and decisions that have shaped society. By studying history, aspiring lawyers can gain valuable insights into the development of legal systems, the evolution of constitutional principles, and the impact of past legal decisions on current legal issues.
Research and analyze historical documents and events
History majors develop strong research and analytical skills, which are essential for success in law school. They learn how to critically examine primary and secondary sources, extract relevant information, and construct coherent arguments based on evidence.
These skills are directly applicable to legal research, where lawyers often need to analyze statutes, case law, and legal precedents to build their cases.
Develop reading comprehension and writing abilities
Lawyers spend a significant amount of time reading and writing complex legal documents. History majors are well-equipped to handle this aspect of legal practice, as they have honed their reading comprehension and writing abilities throughout their studies.
They are accustomed to analyzing dense texts, synthesizing information, and presenting their findings in a clear and concise manner.
Gain a broad base of knowledge applicable to law
One of the advantages of studying history is that it provides a broad base of knowledge on various subjects. History majors explore diverse topics such as politics, economics, social movements, and cultural developments.
This interdisciplinary approach can be beneficial for aspiring lawyers, as it allows them to understand the complexities of legal issues from different perspectives and make well-informed arguments.
For those aspiring to attend law school, a major in economics can provide a solid foundation for success. Economics is a field that explores the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.
It offers a unique perspective on how individuals, businesses, and governments make decisions and interact in the marketplace.
Understand economic theories relevant to business, finance, and policy
Studying economics as an undergraduate can help students develop a strong understanding of economic theories that are relevant to various areas of law. For example, knowledge of microeconomics can be helpful in understanding how businesses operate and how market forces influence pricing and competition.
Macroeconomics, on the other hand, can provide insights into the broader economic factors that shape policies and regulations.
Moreover, economics can offer valuable insights into the financial aspects of legal practice. Understanding concepts like supply and demand, cost-benefit analysis, and risk management can be advantageous when dealing with cases involving financial disputes or regulatory compliance.
Build quantitative and analytical skills valuable for legal practice
Economics is a quantitative discipline that requires students to develop strong analytical and problem-solving skills. These skills are highly transferable to the field of law, where lawyers often need to analyze complex legal issues, evaluate evidence, and make persuasive arguments.
By majoring in economics, students have the opportunity to develop their abilities in data analysis, statistical reasoning, and critical thinking. These skills can be invaluable when conducting legal research, preparing cases, and presenting arguments in the courtroom.
Overlap with pre-law and political science courses
One of the advantages of pursuing a major in economics is the overlap it offers with pre-law and political science courses. Many law schools recommend or require students to take courses in these fields, as they provide a solid foundation for legal studies.
By majoring in economics, students can fulfill some of these requirements while also gaining a deeper understanding of the economic principles that underpin legal systems. This interdisciplinary approach can provide a well-rounded education and a unique perspective on the law.
Opportunities to take law-related electives later on
While majoring in economics, students often have the opportunity to take electives that are directly related to law. These courses may cover topics such as business law, environmental law, or international trade law.
Taking these law-related electives can give students a taste of what studying law might be like and allow them to explore specific areas of interest. Additionally, it can help them make connections between economic principles and their application in legal contexts.
While no singular major guarantees law school admission, majors like English, political science, philosophy, history, and economics build important skills for legal education and practice. Aim for a major that aligns with your interests and challenges you intellectually.
Law schools look for well-rounded candidates who have tackled rigorous coursework, so focus on excelling in your major while rounding out your resume with relevant experiences. With smart planning and an eye toward showcasing your abilities, you can successfully get into law school, no matter your undergraduate major.