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Top 10 Best Pre-law Majors (+ 10 Pre-law Majors You'd Never Expect)

Published June 23, 2018

Here’s the secret: there’s no undergraduate major that will guarantee entry into OR rejection from law school, nor ensure your success once you get in. Your choice of major will not improve performance on the LSAT, the bar exam, or in a courtroom.

Bottom line: If you’re planning to go to law school after undergrad, choose the major that best fits your goals and/or interests.

That said, there are certainly some majors that are more popular with people who end up going to law school.

A 2017-2018 study by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) looked at people who applied to one or more ABA-accredited schools from a total of 145 different majors. The following 10 majors were the most common out of all who applied. Data includes ONLY applicants who met the requirements for GPA and LSAT scores.

If you’re a prospective law student, these 10 may be some of the best pre-law majors for you!

Top 10 Best Pre-law Majors (see also: what did most law school students major in?)

1. Political Science - 9,612 admitted

Political Science is the not-at-all-surprisingly undisputed top pre-law major. 18% of all applicants admitted were from this major.

2. Other - 2,917 admitted

The second highest number of admitted law students majored in “Other” - topics that did not fall under the other 144 majors listed. 7% of all applicants were admitted from these majors.

3. Psychology - 2,960 admitted

A Psychology degree can be very helpful for prospective attorneys, since practicing law is as much about the people involved as it is about the law itself.

4. Criminal Justice - 2,220 admitted

The Criminal Justice major tends to have a lower percentage of applicants admitted than other majors. English, History, and Economics all had more admitted applicants than Criminal Justice.

5. English - 2,564 admitted

Practicing law also requires strong oral and written language skills for things like case briefs, reports, and analyzing & presenting a case. You’ll be expected to use these skills in law school as well as in practice.

6. History - 2,657 admitted

Law is tightly entwined with History, as it requires knowledge of legal precedents and origins of laws.

7. Economics - 2,373 admitted

If you’re interested in corporate or tax law, an Economics major is a good foundation. Economics is also broadly applicable to other areas of law, such as intellectual property.

8. Philosophy - 1,858 admitted

Law and Philosophy are like the positive and negative poles of a magnet. Very different, but inseparable. At their foundation, the law must consider ethics, human nature, common sense, and other philosophical topics to be effective.

9. Arts & Humanities - 1,496 admitted

This major may include concentrations like language, religion, and design.

10. Sociology - 1,327 admitted

Sociology is the study of people in groups. Laws are guidelines for how people are expected to act in groups.

10 Unexpected Pre-law Majors (see also: can you go to law school with any degree?)

You can absolutely go to law school with any degree. In fact, if you’re planning on specializing in law for a certain industry (e.g. environmental, medical, industrial) you may find it helpful to build a background in that industry before entering law school.

That said, people major in different topics for different reasons, and they go to law school for different reasons at different points in their lives.

The most important thing is: students in the following majors met the requirements for law school, and were admitted based on their aptitude, not their major.

#1 Most Surprising: Home Economics - 5 admitted

The award for least expected pre-law major goes to Home Economics, with a total of 12 applicants for the 2017-18 school year.

#2 Most Surprising: Botany - 5 admitted

A close runner-up is Botany, with six total applicants.

#3 Most Surprising: Aviation Science - 3 admitted

The third favorite underdog is Aviation Science, with five total applicants.

Runners Up:

  1. Dentistry - 5 admitted
  2. Astronomy - 3 admitted
  3. Forestry - 10 admitted
  4. Marine Engineering - 6 admitted
  5. Radiology - 6 admitted
  6. Archaeology - 9 admitted
  7. Physical Therapy - 6 admitted

What should you major in to go to law school?

The bottom line is: you can major in anything you want and go to law school, BUT there may be some majors you’ll like more due to your interest in law. However, if you’re interested in a specific market, industry, or topic in law, building that foundation in undergrad may not be a bad idea.

Similarly, if you’re considering law school later in life, your original degree doesn’t matter. If you meet the application requirements, you will not be discounted based on your major.

What matters is the work you put in once you’re there. Getting into law school means displaying aptitude. Succeeding in law school means dedication, good work ethic, and the desire to make it happen.

Photo of Amber.

Guest blogger Ashley Wilson-Rew is Content Strategist & SEM at protocol 80, Inc.


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