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Pre-Law Program

The practice of law is one of the most esteemed professions that one can undertake. The profession is broad in regards to areas of practice, and at the same time, richly rewarding. One who is interested in the profession can enter practice areas like criminal justice, constitutional law, international law, contracts, family law, probate, intellectual property, and civil litigation generally. The profession is diverse yet specialized for any prospective attorney.

The necessary gateway to enter the profession of law is the completion of law school, which is generally three years. SMSU has a proven track record of academically preparing students for the rigors of law school and providing the necessary academic transition to succeed. Academic transition is a key feature that sets the conditions for success. It begins with a robust and challenging undergraduate curriculum that develops students’ writing, critical, and analytical skills. The progression continues with opportunities to take undergraduate law classes taught by faculty who hold law degrees and have experience in its practice. Entrance into law school is competitive and is contingent upon taking the LSAT exam, and the SMSU Philosophy Program offers excellent courses to prepare for it. A strong LSAT score is a significant predictor for law school acceptance. Coupled with the LSAT, students are expected to maintain strong GPAs.

Dept. of English, Philosophy, Spanish and Humanities

BA 221
Southwest Minnesota State University
1501 State St.
Marshall, MN 56258

Common majors for law school are philosophy, political science, history, English, criminal justice, business, economics, and the humanities. To complement existing areas of study, SMSU offers a Pre-Law Minor that is designed to further prepare students for law school. SMSU also has a Pre-Law Club that offers exposure to the legal profession through programming and field trips to respective law schools.

The outcome for a successful law graduate who also passes a state’s respective bar examination is a rewarding career. That career may involve work as a government attorney, in-house counsel for a major corporation, or work with a law firm. The range of opportunity is wide, and at the same time, offers prospective law graduates tremendous capability to positively impact the lives of others.

Course Guidelines

Due to variation in each school’s curriculum. To determine the exact requirements for each program, the student should work with their academic advisor to review each school to which he/she is applying.

Typical Course Requirements
SMSU Course Number Pre-Requisite courses for Program Semester Credit Hours
Skills (choose two of the following, 6 total credits)
COMM 303 Advanced Public Speaking 3
COMM 310 Persuasion 3
COMM 356 Argumentation and Debate 3
ENG 361 Advanced Composition 3
PHIL 101 Critical Thinking 3
PHIL 340 Logic 3
Content (choose three of the following, 9 total credits
AGBU 350 Agricultural & Environmental Law 3
BLAW 305 Legal Environment & Contract Law 3
BLAW 355 Commercial & Financial Law 3
HOSP 320 Hospitality Law 3
JUAD 450 Criminal Law 3
PHIL 305 Law, Liberty & Morality 3
PHIL 331 History of Philosophy: Social & Political Philosophy 3
POL 328 Criminal Justice and Procedure 3
POL 351 Constitutional Law II: Civil Liberties 3
POL 430 Supreme Court 3
POL 455 International Law 3
Elective (choose on of the following, 3 total credits)
ACCT 211 Principles of Accounting 3
ACCT 212 Principles of Accounting II 3
ENG 204 Introduction to Journalism 3
HIST 301 Historiography 3
HIST 331 US Since 1945 3
HIST 352 American Revolution and the Early Republic, 1763-1816 3
JUAD 300 Women and Justice 3
LIT 331 American Literature: Beginning Through Realism and Naturalism 3
LIT 332 American Literature: Modern & Contemporary 3
PHIL 303 Ethical Issues in Professional Life 3
PHIL 330 History of Philosophy: Ethics 3
POL 227 The Judicial Process 3
Total credits for Pre Law Minor 18


  • Complete Application
  • $20 Non-refundable Application Fee
  • Official High School Transcript(s)
  • ACT or SAT Test Scores

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  • Rank in the upper half of graduating class
  • or
  • Score a composite of 21 or above on the ACT or 990 on the SAT

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