Online Pre-Law Schools: How to Choose
Students may choose among many different types of undergraduate degree programs to prepare them for law school, as long as the program includes particular requirements set forth by the American Bar Association. Although rare, a few schools offer online associate degree programs specifically in pre-law that are designed to transfer to 4-year school.
Online pre-law degrees can include many different undergraduate fields. When choosing how to prepare for law school, make sure to consider the area of study you intend to pursue and whether or not your education will help you meet American Bar Association guidelines.
How to Select an Online Pre-Law School
Most law schools consider an applicant’s undergraduate GPA and Law School Admission Test (LSAT) scores when determining admissions. No specific pre-law degree is required for admission to law schools, but students can find many online undergraduate degree programs at various colleges and universities to prepare them with the skills that law schools look for. Students must then consider the American Bar Association guidelines and area of study. Popular areas of study include political science and justice studies.
American Bar Association Guidelines
The American Bar Association (ABA) does not require one particular degree program for pre-law students, but it does suggest several key courses and relevant undergraduate programs that prepare students for law school. It recommends degree programs that encourage problem solving, critical thinking, reading and writing skills, oral communication, listening, and general research skills (www.abanet.org). Many colleges design pre-law curriculums specifically to fit these requirements and some such programs are available online. These are often found as online programs that mention fulfilling law school course requirements or as a pre-law track. Some schools also offer online advisors that help students make sure they are meeting the prerequisites required for admission to law school.
Area of Study
Because pre-law degree requirements are not designed for a single degree, students may want to consider an area of study that they will both enjoy and excel at in order to earn high grades and improve their admission standings. Common online degree programs for pre-law students include political science, criminal justice, history, journalism, philosophy, and business.
Find schools that offer these popular programs
- Advanced Legal Research
- Comparative Law
- Energy and Environmental Law
- Financial, Banking, and Securities Law
- Health Law
- International Business, Trade, and Tax Law
- International Law
- Law Degree
- PreLaw Studies
- Programs for Foreign Lawyers
- Tax Law
- US Law
Partial List of Online Pre-Law Programs
Online Associate of Science Pre-Law Program
This online program is designed for students who plan on transferring to a 4-year school upon completion. This is typically a fully online program that can be completed entirely over the Internet. It includes courses in many of the fields that are required for admission to law school, such as:
- Statistical methods
- U.S. federal government
- U.S. history to the present
Online Bachelor of Arts in Law and Society
An online Bachelor of Arts in Law and Society program is often specifically designed to give students the skills and tools they need to gain entry to law school. Students typically correspond with professors via e-mail and with classmates through discussion threads on a forum. Online programs that deal with law may also make electronic law libraries and other legal resources available to their students. The degree program focuses on teaching students about the American legal system, including:
- The American legal process
- Contemporary legal issues
- Labor-management relations law
- Conflict resolution and negotiation
Online Bachelor of Science in Justice Studies
Online justice studies bachelor’s degree programs may be used in a variety of different professions, including those that involve the correctional system. Students who pursue justice studies, however, take many of classes that prepare them for law school. Students in a fully online program in this field often use Study.com software that combines forums, instant messaging, and real-time testing capabilities. Students take courses such as:
- Humanities, arts and design
- Cultural diversity in the U.S.
- Statistical analysis in justice studies
- Justice theory
- Research in justice studies
Online Bachelor of Arts in History
Undergraduate programs in history are available online from several colleges and universities. Students enrolled in online history programs use interactive learning communities, such as Blackboard, and e-mail to communicate with professors and complete assignments. Pre-law students often enroll in a U.S. history track and take classes in:
- The American Revolution
- Women in U.S. history
- Methods of historical inquiry
- Craft of the historian
Schools with Online Programs for Pre-Law Students
Seminole State College of Florida offers an online associate’s degree in pre-law. This program is designed as foundational education for those intending to transfer to an upper-division college or university, typically within the state of Florida (though this may not be the case for out-of-state online students). You will need to work with an adviser to determine your exact courses, as many schools have different requirements for pre-law students, meaning it is important to consider where you intend to transfer to while earning an undergraduate education.
Arizona State University has a Bachelor of Science in Justice Studies available online. Studying statistics and research methods, students learn about the concepts of law and justice, examining the justice systems around the world from different perspectives. The online version of this degree offers the opportunity for accelerated 7.5 week classes, as well as joint study for a master’s degree.
When choosing where to earn your pre-law education, it is important to consider the area of study for your program, as well as whether or not it will help you meet the American Bar Association guidelines for law school.