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Students are ordinarily subject to the curricular requirements outlined in the Bulletin in effect at the start of their current degree. See below for links to previous Bulletins (bulletins prior to 2013-2014 are in PDF format only).

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Pre-Law Preparation

Pictured | Vanessa Tikhalanawo Sitima Ndau | Political Science / Minor in Psychology | Lilongwe, Malawi (hometown)

Pre-Law Preparation

In the United States, students apply for law school admission after they have received a four-year bachelor’s degree (either a B.A. or B.S.) in a major of their choice. Following varied paths to prepare themselves for law school, successful students come from all walks of life with diverse experiences and different courses of study. They attend law school for three to four years and, after completion of study, earn a juris doctor (J.D.) degree and take a written bar exam in the state(s) or region(s) in which they wish to practice law.

Some common undergraduate degrees of students currently in law schools are political science, history, English, philosophy, psychology, criminal justice and business. Many IU South Bend students also take a certificate or minor in paralegal studies, which further prepares them for law school and the legal profession. These and many other majors and minors help develop students’ analytical and communication skills, including critical thinking, reasoning, writing and oral communication—all important skills for success in law school.

To be admitted to law school, students must have a strong undergraduate cumulative grade point average and an acceptable score on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). The very best schools will only accept the top students.

For pre-law advising, students are invited to contact any member of the Department of Political Science. Students may also obtain additional information about law schools from the Pre-Law Handbook published by Bobbs-Merrill and prepared by the Association of American Law Schools and the Law School Admission Test Council.

Recommended Courses for All Students Interested in Law School

The following course suggestions are intended to help pre-law students develop the requisite skills and knowledge necessary for a sound law school foundation. It is recommended that students select from among these courses as they meet their general education, major, minor and elective requirements.

Critical Thinking, Reasoning and Logic
  • HPSC-X 200 Scientific Reasoning
  • HPSC-X 201 Nature of Scientific Inquiry
  • HPSC-X 220 Issues in Science: Humanistic
  • HPSC-X 303 Introduction to Philosophy of Science
  • HPSC-X 336 Religion and Science
  • PHIL-P 105 Thinking and Reasoning
  • PHIL-P 110 Introduction to Philosophy
  • PHIL-P 150 Elementary Logic
  • PHIL-P 250 Introductory Symbolic Logic
  • POLS-Y 201 Controversies in U.S. Politics
  • PSY-P 211 Methods of Experimental Psychology

  • CJUS- 330 Criminal Justice Ethics
  • PHIL-P 340 Classics in Ethics
  • PHIL-P 341 Ethical Classics 2
  • PHIL-P 342 Problems of Ethics

Writing Skills
  • ENG-W 131 Elementary Composition
  • ENG-W 140 Elementary Composition—Honors
  • ENG-W 233 Intermediate Expository Writing
  • Other courses from the Schedule of Classes fulfilling the Level 2 Writing requirement

Oral Communication/Argumentation
  • SPCH-S 121 Public Speaking
  • SPCH-S 228 Argumentation and Debate

Law Courses

In addition to receiving a minor in Paralegal Studies, the following courses also provide students with a sound introduction to various areas of law.

  • BUS-L 203 Commercial Law I
  • BUS-L 303 Commercial Law 2
  • CJUS-P315 Corrections and Constitutional Law
  • CJUS-P 370 Criminal Law
  • JOUR-J 300 Communications Law
  • LSTU-L 200 Survey of Employment Law
  • LSTU-L 201 Labor Law
  • POLS-Y 304 American Constitutional Law I
  • POLS-Y 396 Law and Public Affairs

  • BUS-A 201 Introduction to Financial Accounting
  • BUS-A 311 Intermediate Accounting I
  • BUS-A 312 Intermediate Accounting II

Possible Political Science Pre-Law Curriculum

In addition to fulfilling their general education requirements by selecting courses from the above list, which is recommended for all students interested in law school, political science majors may also wish to enroll in the following recommended courses, which also fulfill major requirements:

Introductory Level Courses (9 hours)
  • POLS-Y 103 Introduction to American Politics
  • POLS-Y 120 Public Affairs

Select one of the following:

  • POLS-Y 107 Introduction to Comparative Politics
  • POLS-Y 109 Introduction to International Relations

Any one course in Political Theory (3 hours)
  • POLS-Y 381 Classical Political Thought
  • POLS-Y 382 History of Political Theory 2
  • POLS-Y 383 American Political Ideas 1

Law-Related Courses (6 hours)
  • POLS-Y 304 American Constitutional Law I
  • POLS-Y 396 Law and Public Affairs

Courses in American National Institutions (9 hours)
  • POLS-Y 380 The American Supreme Court
  • POLS-Y 318 The American Presidency
  • POLS-Y 319 The United States Congress
  • POLS-Y 301 Political Parties and Interest Groups

Additional Courses for those interested in pursuing International Law (6 hours)
  • POLS-Y 107 Introduction to Comparative Politics
  • POLS-Y 109 Introduction to International Relations
  • Or any other two courses in Comparative and International Relations

Photo credit | Teresa Sheppard

Academic Bulletins

PDF Version

2017-2018 Campus Bulletin
2016-2017 Campus Bulletin
2015-2016 Campus Bulletin
2014-2015 Campus Bulletin

Please be aware that the PDF is formatted from the webpages; some pages may be out of order.