There is no single path that will prepare you for a legal education. Students who are successful in law school, and who become accomplished professionals, come from many walks of life and educational backgrounds. In fact, the American Bar Association (ABA) states that students are admitted to law school from almost every academic discipline.
But Philosophy majors and majors in the Study of Religion consistently secure among the highest scores on the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT). In fact, majors in philosophy and in the study of religion do significantly better on the LSAT than political science or criminology majors.
So what are law schools looking for, anyway?
Law schools look for students who have acquired significant analytic skills and the capacity to present arguments in a compelling way. This is precisely what the programs in our department teach.
Whether your interest is in philosophy or religion, or you're merely looking to supplement your studies with a minor in one of these areas, students interested in law should seek out courses that will give them extensive opportunities for analytical and critical writing.
Studying Philosophy at UNI can help kick you into Pre-Law gear.
Majors in philosophy and the study of religion develop skills most needed in the practice of law. These include analyzing complex situations, formulating definitions, interpreting complex ideas, and evaluating arguments. Students of philosophy and the study of religion learn to read carefully, think independently, communicate clearly, argue cogently, spot fallacies, clarify muddled reasoning, and identify questionable assumptions. These practices encourage debate, open-mindedness, clear thinking and writing, and critical engagement with some of the deepest questions human beings ask, such as questions about the nature of reality; thought and consciousness; the scope and limits of human knowledge; the value and essence of religion, science, history, and art; the foundation of ethics and justice; the deepest norms of culture; and the development of human meanings. Philosophy distinguishes itself by their methods: unpacking concepts, questioning beliefs, evaluating arguments, and examining the methods and assumptions of other disciplines. Religion distinguishes itself by the interdisciplinary study of what has mattered most to human beings throughout the ages.
In other words, if you like to think about the big questions in life as they relate to the development of laws that regulate life, then take courses in philosophy or the study of religion.
Recent UNI Philosophy graduates have attended the following law schools:
Harvard, Stanford, University of Iowa, Villanova, Washington University, and Hamline.