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Is Psychology a Good Major for Law School?

August 25, 2023
6 min read


Reviewed by:

Former Head of Pre-Law Office, Northeastern University, & Admissions Officer, Brown University

Reviewed: 03/03/23

Is psychology a good major for law school? It’s a question many pre-law students ask when choosing the perfect program to prepare for law school. To find out the answer to this question, read on. 

A natural response to seeing puppies or baby sea otters is to want to squeeze them. While you’re sure you don’t actually want to hurt the animal, you do want to squish them. 

Why is this? Well, psychologists suggest this desire to squeeze adorable animals is called “cute aggression.” It is a way for our brains to cope with the overwhelming response we have when seeing these animals. 

In other words, we see cute animals, our caregiving response is triggered, and our brains toss in a dash of aggression so we are still able to care for this baby and aren’t incapacitated by their fluff! 

If you pursue a psychology major, you might not learn about theories such as cute aggression, but you will learn more useful theories about human behaviour, which can be beneficial if you’re planning on going to law school! If you’re considering pursuing this major, this guide will go over a few reasons it is an excellent choice for law school!

Is a Psychology Major Good for Law School?

So, is psychology a good major for law school? While there is no one right major for law school, psychology is popular among law students for several reasons:

To Gain a Better Understanding of the Human Psyche

As a lawyer, you’ll be expected to be able to read people well. Psychology majors study topics such as perception, cognition, emotion, and social influence, which can be valuable in understanding how people behave in legal settings. 

Certain areas of psychology, such as social psychology and cognitive psychology, may be particularly relevant to law. For instance, knowledge of social influence and persuasion can be useful in understanding how juries make decisions. Similarly, knowledge of cognitive biases can be useful in analyzing witness testimonies.

For students interested in criminal law in particular, you can take courses in criminal behavior to gain a better understanding of profiles, patterns, and motives. 

To Hone Your Research Skills

The field of psychology is grounded in research. Accordingly, as a psych major, you will not only be expected to conduct research for papers and projects, but may be given the opportunity to join your professors’ research projects. 

By forming connections with these professors through your courses, you can join their efforts or even ask them for advice on how to develop your own research ideas. This experience will also bolster your law school resume!

To Develop Your Reading Comprehension

Psychology requires a solid understanding of theory. As a result, psych students are required to read a variety of texts, including research papers, textbooks, and journal articles, to gain a deep understanding of the field. 

They are often assigned lengthy texts which they must analyze, evaluate, and make notes on. Developing these skills during your undergraduate will better prepare you for law school, where you’ll also be required to read lengthy, and often dry, legal texts.

To Strengthen Your Critical Thinking

Considering psychology majors have to analyze and apply complex concepts and theories, pursuing this concentration will help develop your critical thinking skills. These skills translate well to legal analysis and reasoning, and can act as a great foundation for you to build on during law school!

To Learn More About Ethics

All psychology majors learn about ethics through the experiments and studies they learn about. Lawyers are required to follow ethical codes and principles that govern their professional conduct – in fact they’re even tested on them through the MPRE!

As a lawyer, you’ll be grappling with issues of right and wrong, so it’s essential you begin developing your ethical reasoning and analysis as soon as possible. 

Offers Diverse Courses

Psychology is a vast field, so students will be able to explore subspecialties within psychology to further develop their skills and knowledge base. Additionally, this major also typically offers room for students to pursue more electives than other programs. 

By pursuing electives in different disciplines, your transcript will be more diverse and thus more attractive to admissions committees. You will also have little to no opportunity to pursue other disciplines in law school, so you might as well explore your interests during your undergrad!

Can Help You Prepare for the LSAT

The best way to prepare for the LSAT is to use prep materials, complete numerous practice tests, and stay consistent. But, since psychology requires students to use their critical thinking and analytical skills, it may help students feel more confident on the Logical Reasoning portion of the LSAT. 

You may also score higher on the Reading Comprehension part of the LSAT, considering you’ll consistently decipher difficult psychology readings.

FAQs: Psychology for Law School

We’ve focused on the question “is psychology a good major for law school?” in this guide. But, you may have remaining related questions, that we’ll address below!

1. What Majors Are Most Accepted to Law School?

While law schools have no preference over the majors students choose, the most common majors are political science, English, psychology, philosophy, history, and economics.

2. Can I Major in Law and Psychology at the Same Time?

Schools typically do not offer majors in law, but offer majors in criminal justice or studies. It’s highly recommended that students who major in these subjects choose a minor that will allow them to develop skills and knowledge outside of just criminal law, like psychology!

3. Are There Any Drawbacks to Majoring in Psychology for Law School?

A psychology major can be challenging, depending on the courses you take. Unless you have a genuine interest in this subject and are willing to work hard, it may not be the right major for you as it’s critical you maintain a high GPA to get into your top law school choices

Another potential drawback to pursuing a psychology major is your job options. In case you decide not to go to law school, you may have a hard time finding employment in your field with just a psychology degree. You will likely have to pursue higher education to qualify for careers in this field. 

4. Do I Have to Major in Pre-Law to Go to Law School?

No, you do not have to major in pre-law to attend law school. Law schools accept students with a wide range of undergraduate majors as long as they demonstrate strong academic performance.

5. Are There Majors That Are Not Recommended for Law School?

While there are no majors that are explicitly discouraged for law school, some experts recommend students avoid pursuing professional degrees before entering law school, as they develop specific, rather than broad, skills. 

Additionally, contrary to popular belief, criminal justice programs are sometimes discouraged for pre-law students. This is because admissions committees believe these majors are less challenging than others and do not develop the level of critical thinking, writing, and analysis skills expected of pre-law students. 

Ensure you choose a program that is challenging and develops these essential skills so you can prove your academic merit and preparation to the admissions committees.

Final Thoughts

While the answer to the question “is a psychology major good for law school?” is yes, your priority when choosing a major should ultimately be passion. 

Do not choose a major simply because you think it will look good on your law school application! Pursue a major you’re interested in so you can not only excel in it, but can fulfill your academic interests!

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