The pre-law program at St. Mary’s has been designed to facilitate the student’s planning and decision-making in a way that accords with the recommendations and observations of most law schools, the Law School Admissions Council, and the Association of American Law Schools. There is no prescribed course of study that will better prepare students for the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) or to succeed in law school. We recommend a rigorous course of study that will enable a student to develop skills in problem-solving, communication (both oral and written), analysis, and synthesis.
The courses that are required as part of the College’s Core Curriculum requirements and the Senior Experience requirements of the majors emphasize the above skills, with the various areas of study focusing on different approaches to a common set of abilities.
Pre-law students at the College may choose any of the 23 majors offered at St. Mary’s. While it is true that, both nationwide as well as at the College, more students applying to law school major in political science than in any other major, it is far from a requirement, or even an expectation. St. Mary’s students who have applied to and matriculated at law schools across the nation have majored in a number of fields in addition to political science, including biology, economics, English, history, mathematics, philosophy, and psychology. We advise students to major in fields they enjoy and in which they can excel.
Although law schools do not expect first-year students to arrive on campus with substantive knowledge of the law, many pre-law students find it useful to take some law-related coursework in college. Some students discover that the more they know about the legal system, the more determined they are to become a part of it. After taking an undergraduate course on a legal topic, other students find that reading court cases and thinking about legal concerns is not really to their liking.
St. Mary’s offers a number of courses on law and legal processes that familiarize students with how law is presented as a field of study.
- POSC 266, Women & the Law
- POSC 303, Law, Courts & Judges
- POSC 351 & 352, Constitutional Law
- POSC 366, Law & Society
- PSYC 354, Psychology & the Law
- PHIL 215, Systems of Logic
Seminars which emphasize the United States Supreme Court are frequently offered in political science. In addition, students at St. Mary’s have the opportunity to participate in credit-bearing internships with government agencies, private law offices, at the local legal services agency, and with Maryland state court judges.