10 Best Undergraduate Majors for Law School
- Is Pre-Law a Major?
- What Should I Look For in a College or Major if I Want to Become a Lawyer?
- 10 Most Popular Undergraduate Majors for Prospective Law Students
- Top 5 Best Pre-Law Schools
- What Are Your Chances of Acceptance?
Attending law school opens so many doors for someone interested in the justice system. Graduates go on to be judges, prosecutors, politicians, professors, legislators, mediators, and so much more. But getting into law school is no easy matter.
Want to know the best majors for law school? Keep reading! This article is for students thinking about how their choice of major can set them up for success later, when they apply to law school. Additionally, to learn more about the steps you can take to build a successful law career, visit our post on How to Become a Lawyer: Steps to Take from High School.
Is Pre-Law a Major?
Many students talk about pursuing a pre-law track as an undergrad. However, it is not possible to major in pre-law. You have to major in an academic subject, such as Political Science, Math, Philosophy, and so on. Unlike premed, there are no prerequisite courses you must take in order to be considered for law school. When people say “pre-law,” they simply mean that they approached college with the plan that, after graduating, they would one day apply to law school.
While there is no pre-law major or set of required classes, you can still prepare for law school while in college. Here are just a few ways you can do that:
- Take classes on law and legal history. The more you know about how legislation is approached in the United States and abroad, the better prepared you will be for your first day of law school. Additionally, taking these classes will help you decide whether the study of law is interesting to you.
- Join debate, newspaper, and writing clubs. Lawyers must have a strong command of logic and the written word. Your extracurricular activities will help you cultivate these qualities and make applying to law school that much easier.
- Seek out internships with law firms, courts, and legal organizations. There are thousands of ways to practice law, from supporting large companies as a corporate lawyer to defending asylum-seekers with a non-profit organization. The more internship opportunities you pursue in your field, the better sense you will have of what type of law you want to pursue.
- For industry-related law, take classes on your industry. Patent lawyers require a firm grasp of the natural sciences in order to practice. Similarly, entertainment and international law rely on an extensive understanding of media and current affairs, respectively. Use your undergraduate years as an opportunity to strengthen your foundation in the industry in which you hope to practice law.
Beyond taking these steps, there is no single best major for law school. You can major in absolutely anything and apply to law school. However, there are schools and programs that do a better job of preparing you for graduate study.
What Should I Look For in a College or Major if I Want to Become a Lawyer?
Even before you enroll in college, you can take steps to make yourself a stronger candidate for law school. Here are a few tips for how to approach your school, major, and course selection as an undergraduate:
Look for Schools That Offer Pre-Law Advising
Some schools prefer to emphasize learning for the sake of learning, while others help students plan ahead for their careers. As a prospective law student, finding the latter type of school will give you the context and support you need to excel once it comes time to apply. When you research the schools on your list, see what kind of resources are available for students interested in pursuing law.
Select a Rigorous, Well-Respected School or Program
Both your college GPA and the rigor of your course load will be considered when you apply to law school. For that reason, it is important to prioritize academics during your undergraduate years.
Pursue a Program That Strengthens Your Critical Reasoning and Attention to Detail
Lawyers need to be able to think critically and pick out details in arguments. Additionally, these are skills widely tested on the LSAT. Certain fields, such as Classics, Linguistics, and Mathematics, demand more critical reasoning and attention to detail than others. Additionally, all liberal arts curricula are designed to foster these traits. Gravitate towards schools and programs that prioritize these skills.
Pick a Writing-Heavy Major
Law students have many papers to write, as well as exams that include long written responses to questions. Build your stamina and polish as a writer by choosing a major that assesses written content regularly.
Seek Out Schools and Programs with Smaller Class Sizes
Receiving strong letters of recommendation from professors will go a long way towards setting you apart in your law school application. To receive great letters, it is important to cultivate strong relationships with your instructors. Small class sizes make it easier for your professor to get to know you. If you want to major in a subject with large lectures, that is okay too. Simply make a point of attending office hours regularly to foster relationships with your professors and teaching assistants.
Use Undergrad to Build Your Foundation in an Industry of Interest
Your undergraduate years are a great time to build a foundation in the field in which you hope to practice law. Similarly, if you want to support a particular population, now is a great time to learn a foreign language that will be useful when you practice.
Top 10 Most Popular Undergraduate Majors for Prospective Law Students
While there are no objective best majors for law school, certain courses of study do prepare you for that next step better than others. Below, you can find a ranked list of the ten most popular majors for law students.
We put together this list based on two important factors: the percentage of students in each major who were actually admitted to law school, and the average LSAT score of the students with that major.
1. Political Science
Percentage of Students Admitted: 74.0%
Average LSAT Score: 156.03
So much of politics is high-quality legislation that it’s no wonder this field tops our list of most popular majors for law school students. Despite not having the highest percentage of students admitted or the highest average LSAT score on this list, Political Science has the most law school applicants by far. In 2022, 13,693 students who majored in PoliSci applied to law school—more than three times the number of the second largest major!
Political Science offers an invaluable framework for the laws you’ll be studying in graduate school. If you know you want to be a lawyer but are still deciding which major to choose, you can’t go wrong with Political Science.
Percentage of Students Admitted: 78.2%
Average LSAT Score: 161.71
Economics offers the perfect blend of quantitative and qualitative experience. Additionally, this field prepares you to be an effective lawyer in financial domains, as well as an advocate for sound monetary policy. Understanding capital is vital for handling large portions of tax law and federal regulation.
Percentage of Students Admitted: 79.1%
Average LSAT Score: 158.95
Understanding the past is critical for interpreting law for two reasons. First, it establishes precedent, and knowing how legal cases have been resolved in the past is central to our understanding of how to decide current cases. Second, a grounding in the past helps you zoom out and understand the broader social context for a piece of legislation. This is a great major for students eager to pursue a legal career.
Percentage of Students Admitted: 75.5%
Average LSAT Score: 159.47
Traditionally, philosophy is considered the ultimate pre-law major. In this field, you wrestle deeply with logic and reasoning as you consider questions about knowledge, existence, and other fundamental concepts. The same skills directly improve a lawyer’s ability to do their job well. Additionally, philosophy classes tend to be small, discussion-based seminars that allow you to develop your critical thinking, deductive reasoning, and public speaking skills—all qualities of a great lawyer!
Percentage of Students Admitted: 76.3%
Average LSAT Score: 157.30
English is another famous choice for pre-law students, since so much reading and writing is required to perform well in this field. Learning to synthesize a lot of content and becoming sensitive to careful word choice will make you a stronger applicant to law school and a better lawyer down the road.
Percentage of Students Admitted: 73.2%
Average LSAT Score: 157.22
Finance is similar to Economics, but the disciplines are distinct from one another. Economics is a social science that focuses on goods and services, and the effects of human behavior on them. Finance, on the other hand, has a strong focus on financial systems and tools for money management, such as banks, loans, and investments. The quantitative nature of this major will be helpful to you in law school, especially if you want to practice tax law, corporate law, or securities law.
7. Arts & Humanities
Percentage of Students Admitted: 72.8%
Average LSAT Score: 156.64
This group of majors tends to be fairly writing heavy, so it attracts students with the focus and desire to spend hours reading. It’s a great pick if you love art and literature but also want to prepare yourself for a legal career.
Percentage of Students Admitted: 71.8%
Average LSAT Score: 155.07
Psychology is the third social science (after Political Science and Economics) to make an appearance on this list, and that is no surprise. This field blends history, reading, writing, and quantitative analysis together, making graduates in this field well equipped to approach law from almost any angle. Consider majoring in Psychology if you’re fascinated by how people tick.
Percentage of Students Admitted: 70.6%
Average LSAT Score: 154.17
Communications equips aspiring law students with many useful skills, including verbal and written communication skills, critical thinking abilities, and an understanding of people and how they convey ideas and arguments. Having these skills helps lawyers with persuasive argumentation, advocacy, and negotiations. While it’s not the most common pre-law major, Communications is a robust and compelling field to have experience in when you apply to law school.
Percentage of Students Admitted: 67.1%
Average LSAT Score: 153.91
Sociology majors have to be comfortable scrutinizing data and writing long papers. Both the critical thinking and writing skills that this major cultivates can be leveraged in law school. Consider this major if the social dynamics of groups interest you, and you enjoy both quantitative and qualitative reasoning.
Top 5 Best Pre-Law Schools
Location: New Haven, CT
Undergrad Enrollment: 6,590
Acceptance Rate: 4.35%
Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1480-1560/33-35
Yale University is commonly counted among the best law schools in the nation. For its class of 2025, the school offered admission to just 236 students from a pool of 4,202 applicants, and it had an 81% yield rate. The median GPA of students accepted to Yale Law School was 3.94 and their median LSAT score was 175.
Yale’s Office of Career Strategy has a pre-law advisor who can help students navigate the law school application process. Outside of the classroom, Yale is home to numerous law-related extracurricular programs, including, the Yale Undergraduate Legal Aid Association, Yale Mock Trial Association, and Yale Undergraduate Moot Court.
Location: Cambridge, MA
Undergrad Enrollment: 7,153
Acceptance Rate: 3.41%
Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1480-1580/33-36
Attending a prestigious and selective college like Harvard is likely to increase the chances of any student hoping to gain admission to law school. Another benefit Harvard undergraduates enjoy is the school’s residential system, which places students into “houses” at the end of their first year. Each house has its own pre-law advisors, who are generally current law school students themselves, so they can provide firsthand insight and valuable information about the law school admission process.
Harvard’s Mignone Center for Career Success can assist students with more general needs, such as writing a resume, building a college activities list, and researching fellowships and internships.
Location: Chicago, IL
Undergrad Enrollment: 7,600
Acceptance Rate: 5%
Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1510-1560/34-35
The University of Chicago’s Careers in Law program features a variety of resources to aid students in gaining admission to law school, and makes them one of the best pre-law schools in the country. The Careers in Law program allows students to explore different career paths in the legal field through activities like workshops, panels, job shadowing, and internships. Additionally, the program provides one-on-one advising and assists students in preparing strong successful applications to law school.
Location: Princeton, NJ
Undergrad Enrollment: 5,548
Acceptance Rate: 4%
Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1470-1560/33-35
Princeton University provides numerous opportunities for students looking to pursue a career in law. Princeton’s Center for Career Development offers pre-law advising for current students and helps students through the entire law school admission process—from exploring their interest in law to reviewing law school applications to critiquing application materials.
On campus, students are treated to information sessions from law school representatives along with pre-law workshops and panels. Princeton even offers one- to three-day “Princeternships,” which pair students with alumni members working in the legal field.
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Undergrad Enrollment: 10,412
Acceptance Rate: 4.1%
Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1510-1560/34-35
Thanks to its abundance of resources and a stellar record of placing students in top law schools, UPenn is often thought of as one of the best pre-law schools in the nation. UPenn students have access to everything they require to make a strong case for admission to law school—from pre-law advisors to groups like the John Marshall Pre-Law Honor Society to a pre-law newsletter that is distributed once or twice a week.
In 2021-2022, UPenn had over 100 of its graduates studying law at prestigious schools like Harvard, Yale, and NYU.
Final Thoughts on Majors for Law School
Remember, the right major for someone else will be different from the right major for you, as success in a major depends on individual interests, strengths, and weaknesses. Regardless, make sure you choose something that improves your writing and critical reasoning skills.
Beyond that, pick a field that interests you and inspires you to work hard. Since just about every industry needs good lawyers, your field-specific knowledge may become quite valuable as you further specialize your legal practice.
What Are Your Chances of Acceptance?
You might be wondering what your chances of acceptance at top pre-law schools are. This isn’t the easiest question to answer because so many factors play an important role in college admissions. The top pre-law schools are very selective, but your personal chances of acceptance may be higher or lower than a given school’s average chances. Fortunately, CollegeVine has created a tool to help you figure out your personal chances!
Our free chancing engine considers factors such as your grades, test scores, extracurriculars, and more, to estimate your odds of getting into hundreds of colleges and universities around the country, while also providing insight into how to improve your profile!