Law schools require students to complete a Bachelors degree. In order to complete a Bachelors degree, you will need to declare a major. Law schools often look for students with an education focused on building essential academic skills, such as critical thinking, oral and written communication, analytical reading comprehension, research, etc.; developing a broad, integrated perspective on the world and society; and a deepened understanding of the human experience.
Often vocational, technical, and professional majors, such as commercial aviation, engineering, and nursing, may prove to be useful for students planning to practice law in a related field. For example, an engineering student may be interested in pursuing construction law. Click here for a list of other law fields and related majors. Below are some common questions regarding choosing a major for law school.
What major do I need to get into law school?
Often, students believe that they need to major in Political Science, Philosophy, or “Pre-Law” in order to apply to law school. In reality, law students come from all undergraduate majors, including the performing arts, languages, and natural sciences. “Pre-Law” majors do not necessarily prepare you or provide you with an advantage for getting into law school. It is to your advantage to choose a major that interests you.
Go with your interests. You will pay attention and perform better in courses that interest you.
Go with your strengths. You will do the majority of your upper-division (300+) coursework in your major. Your performance in your major courses will significantly impact your GPA, which is an important component of your law school application. Questions to consider:
- Check out our UHM Majors by Area of Law page!
- The Pre-Law Advising Center (PAC) has several books in our office to learn about different careers in law. The more you know about the field of law and the types of careers that are possible, the easier it will be to choose a major.
- Many students begin their undergraduate career planning to go to professional school. However, due to not being admitted or a change in their goals, many students decide to pursue other careers. Choose a major that will be useful in the job market and that you will find rewarding however you use it.
- Some majors have more credit requirements than others, which may impact how many semesters it will take to complete your degree. Once you know how long one major will take, you might want to consider adding a second or concurrent major, a minor, or a certificate. Check out the UHM Program Sheet website here to help with your planning.
- Explore possible majors by taking a variety of courses as a part of your General Education requirements.
- Visit your School/College Academic Advisor to discuss possible majors and how they would fit into your overall plan/goals.
- Make an appointment with a Pre-Law Advisor to discuss possible majors.
- Visit the Manoa Career Center.
- Visit the Counseling and Student Development Center’s Testing Office.
- Research possible careers in law.
- Visit PAC to check out our resources on this subject.
- Find volunteer/shadowing/work opportunities to learn more about different career paths in law.
- Ask people in your chosen profession what their majors were, how they decided what to major in, and what they recommend. Be sure to evaluate whether their experiences suit you.