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Pre-Law Classes to Help You Prepare for Law School

August 25, 2023


Reviewed by:

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

Reviewed: 05/19/23

If you consider yourself a pre-law student, there are certain college courses you can take to prepare for law school. Read on to learn more about them!

As you go through the law school admission requirements, you’ll notice law schools have no preference over the major you choose. You’ll simply be encouraged to choose a challenging major that interests you. 

With that being said, there are certain pre-law classes you can take to help prepare you for law school, and ensure a smoother transition from college to professional school! This guide will cover the top six pre-law courses to take in college and go over the exact skills you’ll develop through them!

Pre-Law College Classes to Prepare You for Law School

Law school is rigorous. It is demanding and difficult to keep up with unless you remain determined and have already developed key academic skills required to excel in its competitive environment. While college courses will not compare to your law classes, there are a few you should take to begin honing these skills:

Psychology Courses

Psychology courses can be beneficial for students because law deals with understanding human behavior and patterns. As you participate in moot courts and legal clinics, you’ll have to pick up on cues and learn how to read your clients, witnesses, and opposition! 

Psychology courses are especially important for students interested in criminal law, as it can help you better understand mental illnesses and abnormal behavior. Psych courses also require students to synthesize long, and sometimes dry, readings, which you’ll be doing every day in law school!

English or Other Writing Courses

Any writing intensive courses will aid you in law school. While legal writing will be vastly different than writing an essay on The Taming of the Shrew, learning how to read difficult material, pick out the key details, and analyze these details thoroughly will help you in all of your law school classes.

Additionally, English courses typically require students to complete research papers, which will familiarize you with the process of using research databases, sifting through articles, and reiterating important facts and opinions.

History or Political Science

Having at least some foundational knowledge about the US government and its laws can help prepare for your legal degree. 

You can become familiar with some of the jargon you’ll see throughout your legal readings and can gain some insight into how laws are created and passed. You will also gain a better understanding of the varying interactions that take place between different levels of the government during the policy-making process. 

These courses typically require students to use their memorization, research, and writing skills as well, which all prove useful for law school. 


Pre-law students should take a philosophy class to learn more about ethics, schools of thought, epistemology, logic, and to develop their argumentation skills. Many philosophy courses involve presentations, debates, and research which can help you become a more confident speaker.

Criminal Justice

Students are surprisingly strongly discouraged from majoring in criminal justice as pre-law majors. These courses tend to have lighter academic workloads than other majors and provide a limited scope of knowledge for aspiring lawyers that will be trained in various legal specialties. 

However, taking one or two criminal justice courses can be beneficial because it can help you confirm your passions for this type of law and introduce you to how the justice system works as a whole. 

Speciality-Specific Courses

If you know the legal specialties you’re interested in pursuing, you can take courses to expand your knowledge in them. For instance, students interested in becoming tax attorneys may want to take some introductory finance or economics courses to learn about basic financial modelings. 

Students interested in environmental or animal law can similarly take courses in earth sciences, environmental sciences, animal sciences, or related courses. 

Alternatively, students interested in civil rights can take courses in critical race theory, women studies, or similar disciplines to understand prominent ideologies that prevent certain groups from receiving equal social opportunities and protection.

FAQs: Pre-Law Classes

For any remaining questions about pre-law classes, read on to find your answers!

1. What Classes Are Best for Pre-Law Students?

While there isn’t a perfect transcript for students to have to prepare for law school, the following pre-law courses can help students develop skills that will aid them throughout their legal education:

  • Psychology: to gain a better understanding of human behaviour
  • English: to hone your writing, research, and analytical thinking skills
  • History or political science: to learn how laws are made and the systems of government involved in the process
  • Philosophy: to develop argumentation skills and learn about epistemology, logic, and ethics
  • Criminal justice: to learn more about criminal legal proceedings and law enforcement
  • Specialty-specific courses: to gain foundational knowledge in particular legal areas such as tax law, animal law, or environmental law

Ensure you take courses from multiple disciplines! Your ability to complete courses in several challenging subjects will prove your academic talent.

2. What Is the Most Common Major for Pre-Law?

The most common pre-law major is political science.

3. Which Major Looks the Best on Law School Applications?

There is no perfect major for law school! Choose a major that interests you so you maintain a high GPA and explore different disciplines to expand your skill set.

4. Should I Major In Criminal Justice for Law School?

No, admissions committees are actually less likely to accept you into their programs if you choose a criminal justice major and do not branch out through your electives! This subject is considered to be limited and less challenging than other majors.

Final Thoughts

Don’t feel obligated to only take courses that fall within your major! You’ll have little opportunity to explore other fields once you get to law school, so take diverse electives! You’ll become more knowledgeable, can gain new interests, and will certainly hone skills that help you thrive in law school!

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