Santa Clara University

Pre-law

Pre-Law Emphasis Programs and Courses

Santa Clara has not established a pre-law major or specific program of study to prepare to enter law school.  Many Santa Clara major programs and the University's Core curriculum provide much of the necessary preparation and background.  In addition to those courses, the departments of Philosophy and Political Science offer a pre-law emphasis within the major (in Philosophy, it is also available within the minor).  The Department of Philosophy's program requires a cluster of five courses from among the department's offerings. The Political Science program requires eight courses beyond the major, five of which are outside the department and often fulfill other University or College requirements. 

Elective courses also provide valuable training and breadth of academic and analytic experience.  Some elective courses strengthen specific skills, while others provide perspectives on legal problems and social issues related to the law.  Several departments from time to time offer such courses (check with each department to determine when these courses are offered in any given academic year and whether there are any applicable prerequisites).   The following are some examples:  

  •     Communication 20.  Public Speaking
  •     Communication 170A.  Communication Law and Responsibility
  •     Economics 126.  Economics and the Law
  •     English 174.  Nonfiction Writing
  •     English 177.  Argumentation
  •     Environmental Studies 120.  Intro to Environmental Law and Regulation in the U.S.
  •     Environmental Studies 122.  Environmental Politics and Policy
  •     Philosophy 10.  Ethical Issues in the Law
  •     Philosophy 25.  Informal Logic
  •     Philosophy 111.  Bioethics and the Law
  •     Philosophy 113.  Ethics and Constitutional Law
  •     Philosophy 114.  Ethics and Criminal Law (in development)
  •     Philosophy 119.  The Moral and Legal Status of Prenatal Humans
  •     Philosophy 154.  Philosophy of Law
  •     Political Science 45.  Criminal Justice System
  •     Political Science 125.  International Law
  •     Political Science 159.  The Constitution and Liberty
  •     Political Science 160.  The Constitution and Equality
  •     Political Science 161.  Law and Politics in the U.S.
  •     Psychology 155.  Psychology and Law
  •     Sociology 159.  Sociology of Crime
  •     Sociology 160.  Sociology of Law
  •     Sociology 161.  Sociology of Criminal Justice Systems
  •     Theater 8. Acting for Non-Majors
  •     Theater 21. Voice 1: Voice, Speech, and Presentation Skills

In considering these options, students should note that taking numerous courses with “law” in the title or acquiring a "Pre-Law Emphasis" notation on a transcript does not by itself improve their chances of gaining admission to law school. While these courses and programs may help students explore their academic interest in law, students should not feel they need to specialize in law at the undergraduate level.

Major in Political Science with a Pre-Law Emphasis

  • Visit the Political Science Department website for more information.
  • Adding a pre-law emphasis adds at most 6 classes to your political science major. View a more detailed PDF on pre-law courses in political science here.

Major in Philosophy with a Pre-Law Emphasis

  • Visit the Philosophy Department website for more information.
  • Adding a pre-law emphasis adds at most 5 classes to your philosophy major. View a complete list of philosophy courses and descriptions here.