Pre-Law Track

The Pre-Law Track in Philosophy is not a major. However, it is one way of selecting core and elective classes in such a way as to maximize the benefits of studying philosophy as a preparation for further study in law.

According to the American Bar Association:

An undergraduate should be aware that there is no particular course of study that is required or preferred by law schools. Accordingly, students from a variety of majors (e.g., philosophy, physics, political science, engineering, and business) are admitted to law schools each year. There is no true pre-law curriculum. Generally, a broad-based education that is rigorous and that stresses analytical and verbal communication skills will be useful.(Emphasis added)

If there is no true pre-law curriculum, why choose the Philosophy Pre-law Track? Since every student must select a major in order to graduate you should consider a number of different reasons why philosophy is an outstanding major for students who aspire to law school.

Philosophy, like the law, critically deals with arguments, reasons and ideas.

In law school you learn about court cases and the arguments lawyers use to make their cases and the reasons judges offer to support their opinions. These arguments and reasons contain ideas and terms that have to be precisely defined and carefully understood. The skills that one acquires in the study of philosophy are just the sort of skills that serve as excellent preparation for law school. Is it any wonder then that the greatest philosophers dealt with questions of law and public morality as part of their philosophical work? These philosophers include Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Hobbes, Locke, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Mill, Dewey, Habermas, and Rawls.

On the LawSchool Admissions Test (LSAT), philosophy majors score the best among humanities majors and second overall.

According to a 2006 article in the Journal of Economic Education, philosophy majors have consistently done extremely well on the LSAT. They rank the highest among humanities majors and second only to physics/math among the 29 majors with over 400 students taking the exam.

Philosophical reasoning is indispensable in legal analysis.

One contemporary philosopher defines philosophy as “a second-order discipline that investigates other disciplines.” What does that mean? First order disciplines are subjects like law, physics, politics, biology, chemistry, neuroscience, and medicine. Philosophy is a discipline that concerns questions about these disciplines. When, for example, someone sees an injustice and says, “There ought to be a law,” he or she is thinking like a philosopher of law. This is because the person making this judgment is appealing to something outside the law in order to suggest that the law ought to be changed. This person is appealing to an idea of justice, a philosophical notion that the person hopes will provide legislators a good reason to improve the law. Thus, philosophy encourages you to think in ways that get to the heart of issues, an indispensable skill in legal analysis


See the link below for requirements for a major in philosophy that follows the pre-law track.

Pre-law Track Requirements (This is a pdf. form of the information listed below)

B.A. Degree

Requirements for Major in Philosophy, Pre-Law Track

*Thirty semester hours including the following:

 

            I. Pre-Law Track Core

A. Philosophy Core (9 hours)

PHI 1306         Introduction to Logic (or Phil 4345)

PHI 3310         History of Philosophy: Classical Philosophy

PHI 3312         History of Philosophy: Modern European Philosophy

 

B. Legal, Moral and Political Philosophy (Choose 9 hours)

PHI 2310         Law, Science and Society

PHI 3301         Moral Philosophy

PHI 4318         Philosophy of Law

PHI 4361         Social Philosophy

PHI 4360         Contemporary Ethical Theory

           

II. Electives (Choose 9-12 hours from the following courses in consultation with advisor)

PHI 1307         Critical Thinking (or Phil 1306)

PHI 1308         Introductory Topics in Ethics

PHI 1321         Introductory Topics in Philosophy

PHI 2305         Philosophy and Religion

PHI 2370         Business Ethics

PHI 3305         British Philosophy and Culture

PHI 3320         Philosophical Issues in Feminism

PHI 4345         Symbolic Logic

PHI 4311         Epistemology

PHI 4314         History of Philosophy: Patristic and Medieval

PHI 4321         Metaphysics

PHI 4324         Philosophy in Literature

PHI 4335         Philosophical Problems in Contemporary Culture

PHI 4341         Contemporary Continental Philosophy

PHI 4342         Contemporary American Philosophy

PHI 4353         Philosophy of Language

PHI 4363         Philosophy and Medicine

PHI 4379         Islam and Democracy (cross-listed CHS 4365)

PHI 4385         Religious Ethics in a Liberal Democracy (cross-listed CHS & PSC 4379)

PHI 4V99        Special Topics in Philosophy

 

III. Interdisciplinary Course (May choose 3 hours from the following in consultation with advisor, if only 9 hours of philosophy electives chosen from II). 

BL 3305          Legal Environment of Business

BL 4302          Commercial Law

BL 4303          Employment Law

BL 4310          Cyberlaw

CCS 3372        Law, Justice and Community

CHS 2304        Church-State Separation and Religious Liberty

CSS 3307         Legal Communications

ECO 4318        Law and Economics

                        JOU 4389        Law and Ethics and Journalism

PSC 3353         American Political Thought

PSC 3363         Western Political Thought: Classical and Medievel

PSC 3373         Western Political Thought: Modern

PSC 3339         Law and Religion in the United States

PSC 4303         International Human Rights

PSC 4305         International Law

PSC 4321         Administrative Law

PSC 4361         American Constitutional Law I

PSC 4381         American Constitutional Law II

PSC 4383         Contemporary Political Thought

REL 3309        Christian Ethics

REL 3392        The Christian Faith and Business Ethics

REL 3394        War and Peace in the Christian Tradition

REL 4390        Contemporary Christian Ethical Theory

REL 4395        Bioethics

                       

*Requirements for a major in philosophy include:

 

  1. Three hours of logic:  Either Phil 1306 (Introduction to Logic), Phil 1307 (Critical Thinking) or Phil 4345 (Intermediate Logic) 

  2. Six hours in history of philosophy:  Both Phil 3310 (Classical Philosophy) and Phil 3312 (Modern Philosophy) 

  3. Six hours at 4000 in philosophy

Fifteen hours of electives in philosophy or twelve in philosophy and three hours from interdisciplinary courses listed at (III).    

Pre-law Program

We encourage you to consider a Philosophy major if you are interested in law. Please contact Michael Beaty, Francis Beckwith or Todd Buras if you have any questions about our undergraduate offerings.