Hero Image 30 Best Value Schools for Pre-Law

30 Best Value Schools for Pre-Law

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Best Pre-Law Programs

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Welcome to our ranking of the top prelaw programs!

If you want to go to law school, what should you major in as an undergraduate? It might seem like a no-brainer that the answer to this question is “pre-law,” as the name actually means “before law [school].” But the American Bar Association (ABA) is hesitant to officially endorse a particular undergraduate program, and for good reason. The data shows that students from all academic disciplines – including some surprising ones, like physics and math – have the potential to achieve high LSAT scores and succeed in law school. As such, many universities have shifted away from designated pre-law degrees to give students more flexibility in their coursework. Instead of mandating a particular sequence of classes in history and American government, many colleges are now emphasizing courses that will help aspiring lawyers learn to think critically and consider multiple perspectives.

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Methodology

For this best value pre-law degree ranking, we looked for programs that are comprehensive, connected, and of course, affordable! Although pre-law degrees come in all shapes and sizes, we placed emphasis on schools that have retained full-fledged, well-established programs over those that only offer minors or merely a “suggested course list.” We also analyzed schools on the vitality and popularity of their programs by looking at the % of all graduating students in most recent school year who earned pre-law degrees (data from College Navigator). To assess student access to networking opportunities and connections to graduate schools, we also looked for colleges that have active Phi Alpha Delta chapters on campus (the international law and pre-law honors society) as well as the universities that the ABA has named to its list of top law school feeder schools. Finally, we factored in metrics on overall academic quality and affordability by looking at six-year graduation rates for undergraduates and annual net price. Note that net price is not the same as tuition, in that it accounts for a wider range of monetary factors, including living expenses, course fees, and average financial aid packages.

In addition to the schools’ websites, you can find the other sources we used for this ranking at the end of the article.

  1. Michigan State University
    Location

    East Lansing, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Let's cut to the chase: Michigan State University offers the best pre-law degree in the U.S. because its program is affordable, comprehensive, and part of one of the largest and most established universities in the country. MSU's large size - the school is home to over 50,000 students and 5,300 faculty - means it can offer an interdisciplinary pre-law education that includes high-quality and resource-laden courses in nearly every field. The top pre-law program at MSU is a part of the school's Political Science Department and receives support from Phi Alpha Delpta and the school's Pre-Law Society, a student organization that hosts bi-weekly meetings with working professionals, provides LSAT prep and law school application assistance, and more.

  2. Nova Southeastern University
    Location

    Fort Lauderdale, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies at Nova Southeastern University is a rare bird — a true undergraduate degree specifically for pre-law. Although graduates of this top pre-law program are well-prepared for higher-level learning across many fields, the interdisciplinary nature of the curriculum is ideal for future law students. NSU also offers a 12-credit Pre-Law Track within the Legal Studies major that includes coursework in American history and government. What's more, students can access a range of law school prep resources through the curriculum, including an annual three-part seminar about how to apply - and get accepted - to law schools.

  3. Northern Arizona University
    Location

    Flagstaff, AZ

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Like its neighbor in this pre-law degree ranking, Northern Arizona University provides designated pre-law advisors who have expertise across nearly a dozen different departments. These advisors - most of whom are also lawyers - help students choose relevant, useful courses in fields ranging from philosophy to hotel and restaurant management. This wealth of academic support means students in this top pre-law program have access to mentoring and professional guidance in almost any field, ensuring they find the best coursework and extracurricular opportunities for graduate work in law. On top of this, NAU students can join the campus chapter of Phi Alpha Delta to take advantage of peer networking opportunities. And although NAU's degree is already one of the least expensive on this list, the school has cut costs even further by establishing two exclusive scholarships for pre-law students.

  4. University of Maryland
    Location

    Princess Anne, MD

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    At the University of Maryland, pre-law students won't find a specific major by which to identify themselves. Instead, UMD has established a dedicated Pre-Law Advising Office within the Letters & Sciences Department, which acts as the academic core and home base for all pre-law activities. Advisors are experts on all things pre-law and can provide information on recommended courses (which span 14 departments across the university), access to on-campus resources like the Phi Alpha Delta Professional Pre-Law Fraternity, connections to local internships, and of course one-on-one academic and career advising. For exceptional students, Maryland offers a three-year Arts/Law Degree Program that allows high-achieving undergraduates to apply to law schools in their third year of college and, if accepted, enter law school prior to receiving their undergraduate degree.

  5. CUNY City College
    Location

    New York, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    CUNY City College's Pre-Law Program is the most affordable in this pre-law degree ranking, and yet the school hasn't cut any corners in building its curriculum. Above all, this university emphasizes the need for lawyers with sharp critical thinking, decision-making, and analytical skills. As such, the curriculum focuses on developing these strengths rather than sticking to a single academic subject. Required pre-law coursework includes economics, English, philosophy, and political science, and students can choose from electives from nearly any department on campus (with the approval of a pre-law advisor). In fact, pre-law students aren't permitted to take more than two courses from any single department, ensuring they receive a truly interdisciplinary pre-law education.

  6. Utah State University
    Location

    Logan, UT

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Like Campbell University, Utah State's top pre-law degree is a part of the school's Economics major. Students can choose a concentration in Prelaw Economics and design a program of study that fits with their interests; for example, many students at Utah who concentrate in Prelaw Economics also choose to add a second major in Political Science, providing an advantageous balance of topics that will serve them well on the LSAT and beyond. Utah State's curriculum is also the most math-heavy in this pre-law degree ranking, with required courses in calculus, algebra, and statistics in addition to the expected economics courses. But considering the high scores that physics and math majors earn on the LSAT, this approach could be just what pre-law students need to set themselves apart from the competition.

  7. University of Utah
    Location

    Salt Lake City, UT

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Utah distinguishes itself from other affordable pre-law degree programs through its innovative living learning community for future lawyers, known as "LEAP." LEAP students kick-off their education by taking a sequence of courses with the same professor and classmates, providing an early opportunity for students to meet fellow pre-law majors and get to know the faculty. After the first year, students can continue to take advantage of LEAP by enrolling in a number of one-credit courses to learn more about the legal profession. Rounding out this comprehensive experience is a third-year Pre-Law Writing course, which assists students in developing their law school application essays and studying for the LSAT.

  8. Ball State University
    Location

    Muncie, IN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Students at Ball State University can choose one of two specialized tracks within the school's Legal Studies program — Business law or Public law. The former is ideal for students who hope eventually to work in a corporate environment or manage a law office, and the latter is more suitable for those interested in public policy, government, and politics. Both provide a strong foundation in legal studies with courses like Family Law, Litigation, and a Professional Experience component that make Ball State's one of the best pre-law degrees in the country.

  9. Wilmington University
    Location

    New Castle, DE

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The Legal Studies program at Wilmington includes an unusually robust set of core electives. Courses include Cyberlaw, Delaware Practice, Food & Drug Law and Policy, Environmental Law, and even an LSAT Preparation course. This wide range of subjects may be due in part to Wilmington's Legal Studies Advisory board, a body made up of attorneys, paralegals, and other legal professionals who help guide and improve the school's top pre-law degree. This advisory board participates in special events in the program and also develops internship and job opportunities for pre-law students at Wilmington.

  10. Hamline University
    Location

    Saint Paul, MN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    When it comes to flexibility and breadth of study, Hamline University undoubtedly has one of the best pre-law programs in the country. In addition to a major and minor in Legal Studies, Hamline also offers a unique dual-major for pre-law students in the form of a Legal Studies and Women's Studies degree. This interdisciplinary program integrates courses in gender, sexuality, and race with a legal foundation in litigation, research, and specialty coursework. The school also has an active Phi Alpha Delta chapter and a strong partnership with the Mitchell Hamline School of Law, which grants pre-law students access to a law library, court visits, and special conferences.

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