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 California University of Pennsylvania 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 Cal U 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 Cal U.
Average LSAT score for Cal U 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, Cal U students were admitted to 79 different law schools; they have matriculated from 34 of those schools. Cal U 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 Cal U 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 Cal U students hoping to attend law school took the LSAT. They sent out an average of four law school applications per year. On average, nine Cal U 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
Freshman Year  
First-Semester 16
ENG 101  English Composition I 3
POS 100  Introduction to Political Science 3
UNI 100  First-Year Seminar 1
General Education Courses 9
Second Semester 15
ENG 102  English Composition II  OR  ENG 211  Business Writing I  OR  ENG 217  Scientific and Technical Writing I  OR  HON 250  Honors Composition II  3
POS 105  American Politics  3
General Education Courses 9
Sophomore Year  
Third Semester 15
PHI 115  Logic and Language  OR  PHI 211  Formal Logic 3
Political Science Elective 3
General Education Courses
Fourth Semester 15
CDC 201  Argumentation and Advocacy  OR  CDC 302  Persuasion
Political Science Elective 3
General Education Courses
Minor OR Elective Course 3
Junior Year  
Fifth Semester 15
POS 301  Research Methods in Political Science
HIS 435  History of Law  OR  HIS 322  History of Religious Persecution in the U.S. 3
Minor OR Elective Courses 9
Sixth Semester 15
Political Science Electives
Minor OR Elective Courses
Senior Year  
Seventh Semester 15
Political Science Electives 6
Minor OR Elective Courses 9
Eighth Semester 15
POS 450  Seminar in American Politics 3
Political Science Elective 3
Minor OR Elective Courses 9
Total 120

Program Requirements

Required Major Courses (12 credits) 

  • POS 100  Introduction to Political Science
  • POS 105  American Politics
  • POS 301  Research Methods in Political Science
  • POS 450  Seminar in Politics

Required Related Courses (30 credits)

  • CDC 201  Argumentation and Advocacy  OR  CDC 302  Persuasion
  • HIS 435  History of Law  OR  HIS 322  History of Religious Persecution
  • PHI 115  Logic and Language  OR  PHI 211  Formal Logic
  • POS 316  Judicial Policy  OR  LAW 370  Administrative Law
  • POS 327  Contemporary Political Thought  OR  POS 330  American Political Ideas
  • Political Science Elective

Select one from each list (12 credits total): 

  • U.S. Constitution: POS 314, POS 315, HIS 308
  • Political Theory: POS 327, 330, 347, 348
  • International Politics: POS 307, 312, 320, 346
  • U.S. Government: POS 300, 306, 310, 318

B.A., Political Science - Minor & Concentration

  • Pre-Law (Minor)

Political Science Faculty

Dr. Joseph C. Heim

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Dr. Craig A. Smith

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