Suggested Pre-Law Courses
At Boston College there is no specific pre-law program of study nor are there any specific courses required for students planning to apply to law school. Moreover, law school admissions officers inform us that no one major is any more attractive in terms of gaining admission to law school than any other. The business of lawyers covers all fields and they recommend only that students pursue challenging courses in an area of interest to them. They also suggest that applicants include in their undergraduate program of study upper level courses in areas other than their major and some writing-intensive (not necessarily English) courses. (Instructors in such courses who can comment directly on specific examples of your analytical and writing abilities can also provide the most useful references.)
With this in mind however, Boston College does offer a variety of law related courses (listed on the reverse of this page) that may be useful for students considering law school, even if they do not provide any direct advantage in gaining admission. These fall into three broad categories:
1) Skills Useful for Law School: In addition to analytical and writing skills there are a variety of abilities that pre-law students might develop more fully as undergraduates. These include analytical thinking; public speaking and debating; the study of Latin (which helps train students in structured memorization and expand their familiarity with the legal principles which are expressed in Latin) and the principles of accounting and finance (which define the concepts of property on which most of civil law is based). Our undergraduate program offers a variety of courses that focus on these skills and if you are concerned about developing these abilities you might include the appropriate courses in your program of study.
2) Substantive Areas of Law and Legal Reasoning: There is a variety of courses in the undergraduate program that focus on specific substantive areas of law and legal reasoning. These include topics from Ethics and Constitutional Law to Advertising Law and Federal Taxation. Law school admissions committees assume that you will take substantive areas of law in law school and therefore do not encourage undergraduates to take many law courses. However, if you want to know whether you will find the practice of law interesting, exposure to one or two of the substantive law courses can be helpful in making your decision.
3) Courses About Law and the Legal System: There are also a range of courses that analyze law, the legal system, legal problems, and the legal profession from philosophical and social science perspectives. These can contribute to a more sophisticated understanding of what the law actually does and how it behaves, and thus can be useful in placing law in a larger social and human context. Such courses can help you understand better the role of law and ultimately make you a more realistic and sophisticated applicant.
Once again, you should remember that none of the courses in the above categories is more impressive to admissions committees than any other challenging course in the curriculum. The courses most frequently chosen by undergraduates interested in law school are "American Constitutional Law" in the Political Science Department and "Logic" in the Philosophy Department. Even these however, are no more valuable or important in gaining admission to law school than any other demanding course.
Nonetheless the courses described here can make you a stronger law school applicant by improving your skills and enhancing your understanding of the law and how it works. Such understanding will help you make better informed decisions about whether you want to pursue law as a career and ultimately will be reflected in the personal statements submitted with your applications, thereby strengthening the credentials you present.
Thus the inclusion of some of these courses in a strong Liberal Arts program of study can help you make a better career decision and at the same time strengthen your application. By far the best strategy, however, is to pursue a challenging program of study in a field in which you are interested and therefore most likely to do your best work. Such a program is most likely to strengthen your analytical and expressive abilities and ultimately produce the strong grades that law schools are seeking. It is your performance in such a program of study, much more than the specific courses you have taken, which will determine your attractiveness as a law school applicant.
No. Title Sem.
Skills Useful for Law School
CO 030 Public Speaking F/S
CO 105 Elements of Debate F/S
CO 375 Argumentation Theory F/S
CO 500 Debate Practicum F/S
CL 010 Elementary Latin F
EN 412 Writing Workshop F/S
MA 021 Financial Accounting F/S
MA 022 Managerial Accounting F/S
MF 021 Basic Finance F/S
PL 264 Logic F/S
PL 577 Symbolic Logic: Theory and Practices F
Substantive Areas of Law and Legal Reasoning
IN 521 International Law F
MA 405 Federal Taxation F/S
MJ 021 Law I - Introduction to Law and Legal Process F/S
MJ 022 Law II - Business Law F/S
MJ 147 Constitutional Law F
PO 521 International Law F
MJ 152 Labor and Employment Law F/S
MJ 154 Insurance F
MJ 156 Real Estate F/S
MJ 603 Cyberlaw for Business F
MJ 631 African Business S
MJ 674 Sports Law S
MJ 803 Topics: Law for CPAs S/Sum
UN 256 Environmental Law and Policy S
PO 386 Civil Liberties S
Courses about Law and the Legal System
CO 249 Communication Law F
CO 263 Media, Law, and Society S
EC 338 Law and Economics F
EC 353 Industrial Organization: Competition and Antitrust F
HP 274 What is Law? S
IN 504 Seminar: Ethics in International Studies F
IN 600 Ethics, Religion and International Politics
MJ 102 Law and Ethics F
PL 160 The Challenge of Justice F/S
PL 261 Telling Truth I: Writing for the Cause of Justice F
PL 377 Ethical Theory F
SC 030 Deviance and Social Control F/S
SC 144 Legal and Illegal Violence Against Women F