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Pre-Law Preparation at Michigan Tech

Create Your Future!

Choosing a Major | Choosing Your Courses | What is Available? | Advisors

Choosing a Major

Students can prepare for a legal career at Michigan Tech in any number of majors. Indeed, there is no single pre-law major at Michigan Tech and MTU students in any major who are interested in law can find law related coursework that sparks their interests both in the Law & Society program and many other places on campus. The American Bar Association (“ABA”) advises students that the law is “too multi-faceted” to be limited to one particular major or a definitive list of courses that will get you ready for law school. Nonetheless, the ABA does point out the “core skills and values that are essential for competent lawyering include analytic and problem-solving skills, critical reading abilities, writing skills, oral communication and listening abilities, general research skills, task organization and management skills, and the values of serving faithfully the interests of others while also promoting justice.” Your job then is to find an area of study that interests and challenges you, so that you will be prepared for law school and a legal career. You should consult with your advisor or the pre-law advisors at Michigan Tech for help selecting a course of studies that will assist you in gaining the skills and foundations needed for a legal education.

Choosing Undergraduate Course Work

Oral Arguments

Student Court

Hallway Discussion After Oral Arguments

Hallway Discussion After Oral Arguments

Presentation Notes

Presentation Notes

Just as there is no specific major required by law schools, there is no single course that pre-law students must take. This sentiment is echoed by the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) which states “[t]here is no pre-law curriculum of required courses. … Law schools prefer that you … fill your undergraduate curriculum with broad, diverse, and challenging courses.” (LSAC 2001, 32)

However, if you are interested in paving the way for your legal career, the ABA has put together some excellent advice as to the types of knowledge that one should possess to develop into a competent lawyer. (For more information go to http://www.abanet.org/legaled/prelaw/prep.html.) The ABA list of the types of knowledge that would most allow a student to derive the maximum benefit from legal education includes the following:

  • A broad understanding of history
  • A fundamental understanding of political thought and theory and the contemporary American Political System
  • A grounding in economics - particularly microeconomics
  • Some basic mathematical and financial skills such as pre-calculus mathematics
  • A basic understanding of human behavior and social interaction
  • An understanding of international institutions and issues, as well as an appreciation for the diverse heritage and cultures within the United States

In sum, when deciding what courses to take read course descriptions carefully, look at syllabi that are available, and choose coursework that will both interest you and give you core knowledge in areas such as history, political thought, ethics, economics, basic math skills, and global issues. Again, work closely with an advisor where possible.

What law related courses are offered at Michigan Tech?

Kathy Halvorsen in Class

Class Activity with Dr. Kathy Halvorsen

Jacobs Falls

Jacob's Falls, Keweenaw County

Michigan Tech offers many law-related courses in the Department of Social Sciences and other departments across campus. As one example, the Law and Society Major allows students to choose from courses in Social Sciences, Humanities, Forestry, Psychology etc. A partial list of courses in that program includes:

SS 1002 Orientation to Legal Careers
SS 2610 Introduction to Law and Society
SS 3600 American Foreign Policy
SS 3610 International Law
SS 3660 Constitutional Law
SS 3640 Topics in Cyber Law and Policy
SS 3300 Environmental Problems
SS 3710 Social Problems
SS 4100 American Indian Political Issues
BA 3580 Legal Environment of Business
HU 2700 Introduction to Philosophy and Ethics
FW 3100 Natural Resource Policy

A more complete list of law related courses is available on the Law & Society Major page.

Pre-Law Advising at Michigan Tech

Students have many questions when contemplating law school. “How do I get into law school?” “What will a job as an attorney pay?” “Are there good jobs out there?” “What should I major in?” “What will law school cost?” among others. Your pre-law advisors should be able to give you most of the answers, and help you make decisions about coursework and your future careers.

Introducing Your Pre-Law Advisors

Terry ReynoldsTerry Reynolds, Ph.D.
Dr. Reynolds is a Historian, editor, long time advisor, as well as recipient of the 2004 Distinguished Teaching Award at Michigan Tech. He was the instigator of the pre-law program at Michigan Tech and can answer your questions about a range of subjects from degree requirements to choosing courses and choosing a career. He can be reached at TReynolds@mtu.edu, or by phone at 906-487-2113

Mary DurfeeMary Durfee, Ph.D.
Mary Durfee is a political scientist who specializes in International Law and Foreign Policy. She is well acquainted with the opportunities for work, study and research in international affairs, government and policy making. She can be reached at 906-487-2113 or at MDurfee@mtu.edu

Susanna PetersSusanna Peters, J.D.
Ms. Peters is an attorney who also teaches pre-law courses at Michigan Tech. Prior to coming to Tech, she taught at Wayne State University Law School. She has also worked both in the federal court system and has been in private practice in Los Angeles, Detroit, and Washington D.C. She can be reached at Speters@mtu.edu or by phone at 906-487-2113

Contact Susanna Peters for pre-law news postings, corrections, or general comments.