Pre-law at OU

Varner Hall, Room 425
371 Varner Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4485
(location map)
(248) 370-2362

Pre-law Studies

Pre-law studies, in and of themselves, do not constitute a major. Students interested in completing a bachelor’s degree must select from the 129 undergraduate degrees offered by the university and complete the pre-law studies requirements in conjunction with other degree requirements. This course of study is offered to all students, and is an attractive addition to many degree programs.

Students should choose a major in which they have both interest and aptitude; the particular major is less important for admission to law school than the overall success in courses chosen.

Rather than mastery of any particular subject matter, law schools require that incoming students possess certain basic skills. These skills include critical reasoning and the ability to write and speak in a coherent and precise manner.

Students are advised to select rigorous coursework aimed at developing strong reading, writing and reasoning skills, and to plan undergraduate coursework with an eye toward long-term plans within the legal profession. When reviewing applications, law schools generally consider applicants cumulative grade point average for selected coursework and their score on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT).

Because there is no set of specific courses which guarantees admission to, or success in, American law schools, there is no formal pre-law curriculum at Oakland University. Students who wish to concentrate on pre-law are directed to consider courses in three categories as described below, and to choose courses which they believe will help them to develop skills or acquire knowledge which may be beneficial during or after law school. None of these courses are required or necessarily recommended for all pre-law students.

  1. The development of fundamental abilities of reasoning and written communication
    Although most introductory courses in all of the liberal arts disciplines serve this purpose, suggested courses include: LIN/COM 207; ENG 380; PHL 102 and 103; and RHT 380. 
  2. Development of effective oral communication
    Suggested courses include: COM 201, 220, 301 and 318; and THA 105. 
  3. The law in relationship to other disciplines.
    Suggested courses include: ECN 378; ENV 461;JRN 403; MGT 350; PHL 316, 318 and 319; PS 241, 340, 341 and 342; SOC/AN 320; and SOC 437.

Students are cautioned against overemphasizing law-related courses in their undergraduate training. Law schools virtually never give credit for these courses, either for placement or graduation, and are inclined to believe an education featuring these courses to be too narrow in scope. Undergraduate education is a distinct and vital part of one’s professional training and should never be regarded simply as a “way station” before beginning one’s “real” work. It must be emphasized that none of the courses listed here are required of, or restricted to, pre-law students.

Should you have questions about admission to pre-law studies or course selection that are not covered by this website, pre-law advisers are available at (248) 370-2352.