What is the Best Major for Law School? Choosing a Pre-Law Major

Here's what you need to know about picking the best major for law school while you are plotting your academic path.

If you are considering becoming a lawyer, you may be interested in the best majors for law school. After all, admission to law school is competitive, and you may think that earning one of the best undergrad degrees for law school could help you earn a leg up when applying. 

So, which course of study should you pursue? Here's what you need to know about picking the best major for law school when you are planning your academic path. 

What are the best undergrad degrees for law school?

According to the American Bar Association (ABA), there aren't necessarily any best majors for law school. The professional association of attorneys states, "The ABA does not recommend any undergraduate majors or group of courses to prepare for a legal education. Students are admitted to law school from almost every academic discipline."

However, while the ABA makes clear there isn’t one right path to take, it does list some of the best majors for law school based on subjects that are considered to be "traditional preparation" for earning your Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree. They include:

  • History
  • English
  • Philosophy
  • Political science 
  • Economics
  • Business

Ultimately, though, the goal should be to find a course of study that interests you and that helps you develop the research and writing skills that you will need when studying the law. The best major for law school for your particular situation could be the one that excites you the most, as you may be better able to perform and earn the top grades admissions officers look for. 

These are the best majors for law school, based on current students

While there may not be one particular best major for law school, some fields of study are definitely pursued more often by people who go on to earn a J.D. degree. According to research from the Law School Admissions Council, these were the 10 most common majors among law school applicants:

  • Political science: This was the No. 1 prelaw major among people applying to law school. 
  • Other: This was actually the second-highest category of majors among those admitted, which reinforces the fact that there's no one best major for law school. Students with more than 145 different majors applied. 
  • Psychology: Psychology helps attorneys to prepare for dealing with clients while practicing law. 
  • Criminal justice: This major provides a basis for understanding the justice system. But while criminal justice was a popular major among applicants, it had a lower number of candidates admitted compared with other fields such as economics, history and English. 
  • English: English helps prelaw students develop solid reading and writing skills, which are crucial both in law school and while practicing law. 
  • History: Law and history are closely related, as it's important to understand legal precedents and the origins of the law. 
  • Economics: Economics can be an ideal choice for prelaw students interested in tax law or corporate law. 
  • Philosophy: Philosophy helps prelaw students develop critical thinking skills that are valuable in law school. 
  • Arts and humanities: Language and religion are among the arts and humanities majors that are popular among prelaw students. 
  • Sociology: Studying how people relate in groups is helpful to those who study the law because of the time spent dealing with clients. 

How to choose your major if you're applying to law school

The American Bar Association recommends working with a prelaw adviser to explore the best majors for law school. Many undergraduate institutions provide an adviser for students who are interested in pursuing a legal education. A prelaw adviser can help you explore what majors at your undergraduate institution would help prepare you to excel both in the study of law and in the legal profession. 

You also should consider what types of coursework would best prepare you to succeed in the Law School Admission Test and would give you the foundation for excelling in a rigorous course of academic study in law school.  And you should make sure to choose a major you can complete within the typical four-year undergraduate degree period so you can keep the costs of your education affordable. 

Getting an undergraduate degree and a J.D. can cost well over $100,000, but you can keep costs down by working diligently toward earning your undergraduate degree on time. You should also be sure to explore scholarships and grants before borrowing and should max out federal Direct Loans, as they come with low fixed interest rates.

Private student loans also can be affordable and may be necessary both when earning your undergraduate degree and when pursuing your legal degree. Juno can help you find the best rates possible on private loans for undergraduate degrees and professional programs. We help groups of borrowers negotiate with our trusted partner lenders. And since lenders compete for their business, borrowers get the best rates and terms possible for their situations.

To find out more about how Juno can help you find the best loans for earning your undergraduate or law degree, join Juno today

Christy Rakoczy Bieber
Written By
Christy Rakoczy Bieber

Christy Rakoczy Bieber is a full-time personal finance and legal writer. She is a graduate of UCLA School of Law and the University of Rochester. Christy was previously a college teacher with experience writing textbooks and serving as a subject matter expert.

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