Pre-Law Program

Pre-Law Program On-campus

About Pre-Law

Prepare for a career in a dynamic, high-demand field.

The pre-law program at PennWest California helps you build a strong academic foundation while preparing you for law school or other graduate studies. 

Designed to give students the best preparation for admission to law school, the pre-law program is a collaboration among seven academic disciplines that allows students to select any major. Academic disciplines participating in the pre-law program are business, communication studies, criminal justice, economics, English, history and political science.

Gain a strong foundation for law school admission.

The term "pre-law" usually indicates a career goal and not a specific undergraduate major or course of study. No particular major is required for law school admission. In fact, most law schools want students to have a broad-based undergraduate education that prepares them to read, write and think.

 Unlike most professional schools, law schools do not specify the coursework or a major field that the prospective student must complete while in college. Instead, law schools prefer that potential students receive a well-rounded education. Students are encouraged to select a rigorous major with elective courses in numerous disciplines. Law schools accept students from almost any major, as long as the program of study is academically rigorous.


Learning options: The pre-law program includes a pre-law concentration in political science and a pre-law minor.  Any student from any major can earn a multidisciplinary minor in pre-law, which requires 21 hours of coursework over one to two semesters. A range of academic disciplines participate in the pre-law program.

LSAT performance: Between 2010 and 2016, an average of 24 PennWest California pre-law students have taken the LSAT test annually. These students represented the following 15 majors: art and design, biology, business administration, communication studies, computer programming, criminal justice, education, health professions, history, international studies, music, philosophy, political science, parks and recreation management, and social work. The pre-law students' average LSAT score was 147, with a high score of 170 (out of a possible180). The pre-law students' average GPA was 3.23, with a high of 4.0.

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Student-to-faculty ratio at PennWest California.
Average LSAT score for PennWest California pre-law students.  
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Degree Benefits

Pre-law students are encouraged to participate in a wide array of activities to enhance their prospects of being accepted into law school, including completing at least one internship in their field of study; joining at least one club or organization; or participating in intellectual activities, such as attending lectures or taking part in debates and book clubs. Students can become members of the Pre-Law Society and participate in in mock trial competitions. Depending on their chosen major or program of study, pre-law students also are encouraged to take advantage of opportunities to do research, working with faculty members.

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Graduate Outcomes

Over the past seven years, PennWest California students were admitted to 79 different law schools; they have matriculated from 34 of those schools. PennWest California students have graduated from such top-rated law schools as Drexel University, Duke University, Notre Dame, Penn State - Dickinson, University of Georgia, University of Minnesota, University of Pittsburgh and University of San Diego.

Students talk as they walk through campus.

Political Science Focus

The pre-law concentration in the B.A. in Political Science program is designed for students interested in going on to law school. The concentration focuses on developing critical-thinking skills and rational argumentation, as well as analytical reading and writing skills. Courses include History of Law, Administrative Law, Judicial Policy, and the U.S. Constitution. 

A PennWest California student poses with American flags.

Solid Preparation

In addition to earning an academic degree in any major, the pre-law program encourages students to increase their prospects for admission to law school by taking specific steps such as: completing a wide variety of challenging courses that emphasize reading and interpreting difficult texts, and develop skills in critical thinking, writing and oral communication; keeping an up-to-date resume; participating in at least one club or organization related to law or politics, such as the Pre-Law Society; meeting lawyers to talk about law school and the legal profession; and studying and practicing for the LSAT.

Balloons falling down at the Democratic National Convention.

Key Statistics

From 2010 to 2016, 166 PennWest California students hoping to attend law school took the LSAT. They sent out an average of four law school applications per year. On average, nine PennWest California students per year are accepted to more than one law school. Each law school applicant received an average of 1.5 acceptances.


Pre Law Program


Course Credits
General Education Courses 40 or 41
Building a Sense of Community
UNI 100  First-Year Seminar
  • ENG 101  English Composition I
  • Select from: ENG 102, 211, 217; HON 250  
Public Speaking
Any Public Speaking Course
Mathematics and Quantitative Literacy
Any Mathematics and Quantitative Literacy Course
Health and Wellness
Any Health and Wellness Course
Technological Literacy
Any Technological Literacy
Any Humanities Course
Fine Arts
Any Fine Arts Course
Natural Sciences
Any Natural Sciences Course
3 or 4
Social Sciences
Any Social Sciences Course
General Education Options
  • Any Ethics and Multicultural Awareness Emphasis Course
  • Additional General Education Courses (two courses)
Required Major Courses 12
POS 100  Intro. To Political Sci. 3
POS 105  American Politics 3
POS 301  Research Methods POS 3
POS 450  Seminar in Politics 3
Required Related Courses 30
POS 316  Judicial Policy  OR  LAW 370  Administrative Law 3
HIS 435  History of Law  OR  HIS 322  History of Religious Persecution 3
POS 327  Contemp. Political Thought  OR  POS 330  American Political Ideas 3
PHI 115  Logic and Language  OR  PHI 211  Formal Logic 3
CDC 201  Argumentation and Advocacy  OR  CDC 302 Persuasion 3
Political Science Elective 3
U.S. Constitution Course (select one): POS 314, 315; HIS 308 3
Political Theory Course (select one): POS 327, 330, 347, 348 3
International Politics Course (select one): POS 307, 312, 320, 346 3
U.S. Government Course (select one): POS 300, 306, 310, 318 3
Free Electives 37 or 38
Total 120

Additional requirements, not counted toward the General Education requirements, include:

  • Special Experience Course (1 course required): POS 450 Seminar in Politics
  • Writing-Intensive Component Courses (2 courses required): POS 301 Research Methods in Political Science AND POS 450 Seminar in Politics
  • Laboratory Course (1 course required): Any Laboratory Course

Program Notes: Minimum GPA - 2.0; Minimum Credits - 120. Developmental courses do not count toward the 120 credits necessary for graduation but are calculated in your overall GPA.

B.A., Political Science - Minor & Concentration

  • Pre-Law (Minor)