Prelaw Program in the History Department

Preparing for law school requires careful thought and long-range planning. One of the most important decisions that you must make involves what to major in during your undergraduate years.

You can major in any academic subject and gain admission to law school as long as your coursework indicates that you have acquired the skills and knowledge needed to undergo the rigors of legal study.

However, it is not a coincidence that most law school entering classes contain significant numbers of history majors. Law school admissions committees know that the study of history, if pursued properly, enables students to master the three crucial skills needed to succeed in law school: the ability to write clearly, the ability to interpret complex subjects, and the ability to read efficiently and effectively. In addition, a well-grounded familiarity with history is considered by many law professors to be vital in mastering the complexities of the American legal system and international law. Your chances of gaining admission to law school and your ability to make the transition between undergraduate work and legal study will be greatly assisted by concentrating upon the discipline of history.

The History Pre-Law Program at Ohio University centers on expert, timely advising from the freshman through senior year. In your freshman and sophomore years, the History Pre-Law Advisor helps you select the best set of courses to assist you in preparing for law school. In the junior year, the History Pre-Law Advisor helps you plan out a course of action to insure that you are prepared for the LSAT and the law school admission process. In the senior year, the History Pre-Law Advisor helps you with the application process and the difficult decisions involving where to apply and ultimately where to attend. The quality of Pre-Law Advising in the History Department is well-known at the University, and has prompted pre-law students from a variety of other colleges and programs to become informal advisees. Nevertheless, it is the History Pre-Law students who receive advising priority and benefit from four years of assistance.

History Pre-Law Students in the recent past have been admitted to the following Law Schools:

  • Cornell University
  • Stanford University
  • Yale University
  • University of Michigan
  • Ohio State University
  • Case Western Reserve
  • Duquesne University
  • William and Mary
  • Boston University
  • Tulane University
  • New York University
  • George Washington University
  • University of Cincinnati
  • Capital University
  • University of Akron

Pre-Law Major Requirements (BA4214)

Starting in the fall 2012, History prelaw majors benefit from requirements that ensure chronological and geographical breadth and depth of knowledge while allowing for the opportunity to focus on courses especially useful for law school preparation.

Majors must take two introductory (freshman) courses, selected from our World History (HIST 1320/1330) or Western Heritage (HIST 1210, 1220) sequences. Students will also take two survey (sophomore) courses in US History (HIST 2000, 2010).

At the advanced level, students take a research and writing course (HIST 3111J) and 21 additional semester hours in upper division courses (above HIST 2010). They will need to take one course in two of the three geographical areas (U.S., Europe and World) and one course in two of the three chronological areas (pre-modern, early modern, and modern). They also will need to complete two history courses identified within the prelaw track and two extradepartmental requirements, the vast majority of which also meet college of arts and science distribution requirements. Please see the 2012-13 catalog for more specifics.

Graduation with a B.A. in history prelaw requires the successful completion of college of arts and science requirements and 33 semester hours in history (+ the HIST 3111J course which also meets the university J requirement) and a 2.0 minimum G.P.A.

Please note: these requirements are those going effect under the semester system in fall 2012. Those students already here before the transition will continue to operate under the prelaw requirements under their catalog of entry.

Here is a sample four-year program for the Pre-law BA 4214. It includes both the departmental and nondepartmental requirements which should be taken within the Arts and Sciences Area requirements.