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!
Political Science is the not-at-all-surprisingly undisputed top pre-law major. 18% of all applicants admitted were from this major.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Law is tightly entwined with History, as it requires knowledge of legal precedents and origins of laws.
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.
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.
This major may include concentrations like language, religion, and design.
Sociology is the study of people in groups. Laws are guidelines for how people are expected to act in groups.
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.
The award for least expected pre-law major goes to Home Economics, with a total of 12 applicants for the 2017-18 school year.
A close runner-up is Botany, with six total applicants.
The third favorite underdog is Aviation Science, with five total applicants.
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.