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College of Arts & Sciences

Political Science Pre-Law B.A.

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Olayemi Olurin '14 was a peer mentor in the Learning Community about Law, Justice & Culture.

  • Preparation for law school
  • As an attorney, careers as legislative aide, political activist, business executive, reporter, political appointee, educator, policy analyst, and public official
  • Careers in nonprofits, libraries, think tanks, and governmental agencies

Faculty Contact: Dr. Jennifer Fredette

Program Overview

Political science has a well-deserved reputation as the preeminent field of study for students considering legal education. The emphasis on understanding the nature and role of law in our public lives, on critical thinking about political issues and institutions, and on learning to express one's thoughts clearly on these matters, make a degree in Political Science an excellent gateway to the study of law. Whether their career goals are in public leadership, litigation, law enforcement, private practice, or even if they are not really sure what they are, the department invites students to consider its program as a place to work and learn.

Along with a number of courses that specifically focus on the law, the Department of Political Science offers a broad array of related classes on politics and the different forms and functions of government. It also offers extensive for-credit internships in professional legal environments, pre-law advising, a thriving majors association, and connections to a network of campus resources for the prospective student of law. With a total faculty of more than twenty and more than a half dozen professors involved in studying and teaching about different aspects of the legal environment, the department has the resources to help students get what they need.

Careers and Graduate School

A legal education is valuable in a wide variety of careers. In addition to traditional lawyering–serving as a prosecutor or dealing with individual and private sector clients–attorneys work as legislative aides, political activists, business executives, reporters, political appointees, educators, policy analysts, and public officials. Anyone considering law school will want to explore the full range of careers open to those qualified to practice law. These include fields such as nonprofits, libraries, think tanks, and governmental agencies. Both legal and non-legal opportunities open up due to the broad range of skills acquired through a major in Political Science Pre-Law. These skills include those related to communication, critical and analytical thinking, research, and organization and management.

Students who are considering law school do not have to wait until senior year to prepare. They can begin in freshman year with course selection. The following timetable is one way to prepare. Students can modify this to suit their own situations. Above all, remember that this is advice, and students are responsible for meeting their graduation requirements, admission deadlines, etc.

Freshman & Sophomores
  • Select Courses at Ohio University
Juniors
  • Research Law Schools
  • LSAT Registration
Seniors
  • Think ahead to the LSAT
  • LSDAS Registration
  • Law School Applications

More information can be found at the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) website.

Pre-Law Advising

The Department of Political Science offers a pre-law advising service in order to provide the Political Science majors with the help they need to prepare for law school throughout their years at Ohio University. Whether a student is a pre-law major or not, he or she can attend pre-law events and visit law faculty to learn more about law schools and legal careers.

  • Please, note if you are not a Political Science Pre-Law major, you should contact an adviser within the department of your major.

Pre-Law Faculty

Political Science Pre-Law majors should feel free to schedule a meeting and meet with the pre-law adviser to discuss their plans at any stage of their Ohio University career.

Admissions Information

Freshman/First-Year Admission: No requirement beyond University admission requirements.

Change of Program Policy: No selective or limited admission requirements.

External Transfer Admission: No requirement beyond University admission requirements.

Degree Requirements

University-wide Graduation Requirements

To complete this program, students must meet all University-wide graduation requirements.

Liberal Arts and Sciences Distribution Requirement

View the College-Level Requirements for the College of Arts & Sciences.

Political Sciences Hours Requirement

Complete a total of 30 semester credit hours of POLS coursework, including all the requirements below.

Political Science: Introduction

Complete only one of the following courses. POLS 1600 is recommended for Political Science majors.

  • POLS 1010 - Politics in the United States Credit Hours: 3
  • POLS 1500 - Themes in Global Politics Credit Hours: 3
  • POLS 1600 - Engaging Politics Credit Hours: 3

Foundations of Political Science: Part I

Complete the following course:

  • POLS 2200 - The Politics of Law Credit Hours: 3

Foundations of Political Science: Part II

Complete one of the following courses:

  • POLS 2300 - Comparative Politics Credit Hours: 3
  • POLS 2500 - International Relations Credit Hours: 3

Political Theory

Complete the following course:

  • POLS 2700 - Introduction to Political Theory Credit Hours: 3

Political Science Electives

Complete 18 hours of Political Science courses at the 3000 or 4000 level.

  • No more than six hours of the following courses may count: LPA 4120, 4140, 4680, 4840, 4890, or 4900.
  • No more than three hours of the following courses may count: POLS 4910, 4911, or 4961.
  • No more than six hours of the following courses may count: POLS 4900, 4901, 4902, 4903, 4904, 4905, 4931, 4932, 4933, 4934, 4944, 4935, 4941, 4942, 4943, 4944, or 4945.

Political Science Advanced Elective

As a part of the Political Science Electives description listed immediately above, complete one of the following courses:

  • POLS 4010 - American Constitutional Law Credit Hours: 3
  • POLS 4015 - Constitutional Politics Credit Hours: 3
  • POLS 4040 - Civil Liberties Credit Hours: 3
  • POLS 4210 - The Politics of Law and Sexuality Credit Hours: 3
  • POLS 4550 - International Law Credit Hours: 3
  • POLS 4555 - Transitional Justice Credit Hours: 3
  • POLS 4902 - Special Topics in Law and Politics Credit Hours: 3
  • POLS 4932 - Independent Study in Law and Politics Credit Hours: 1.0-3.0
  • POLS 4942 - Research in Law and Politics Credit Hours: 1.0-3.0

Preparation for Law

The reading, writing, and critical thinking skills you acquire in completing the political science prelaw major provide solid preparation for your coursework in law school. Students also can prepare for law school by being selective in completing College of Arts & Sciences distribution requirements. Courses in History, Economics, and Philosophy can fill in gaps in a student's knowledge and provide additional skills.

Following the track of courses in the theme, Making and Breaking the Law, will expose students to legal questions in other disciplines as they meet the College of Arts & Sciences distribution requirements.

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