Pre-Law Studies Minor

Degree Type

Pre-Law Committee: Laura Anker (American Studies), Maureen Feder-Marcus (History and Philosophy), Carolyn Cocca (Politics, Economics and Law).

Law schools maintain that there is no particular undergraduate major that will best prepare students for admission to the study of the law. In accepting applicants, all use LSAT scores, GPA’s, reference letters, personal written statements, and various indicators of applicants’ interest in and suitability for entry into the profession. However, schools have identified the requisite skills for success in the completion of a law degree. They include analytical and problem-solving skills; the ability to reason, to construct a logical argument, and to present that cogently orally and in writing. A strong liberal arts education is crucial in developing these abilities.

Four liberal arts programs at Old Westbury have traditionally graduated students who have gone on to law school and legal careers. They are American Studies (AS); History and Philosophy (HI); Politics, Economics and Society (PES); and Sociology (SY). In addition to providing students the opportunity to achieve the necessary competencies, these programs offer a range of courses which contribute to a knowledge base that is pertinent to law studies. In the past, majors in each of these programs have been advised to broaden their liberal arts preparation for law school by taking specific electives in the others. Faculty in the four programs have now instituted a pre-law committee to coordinate and formalize their recommendations to aspiring law students. The committee has arranged the recommended courses in a 20-credit pre-law minor

The curriculum of the minor pulls together courses in the liberal arts disciplines of economics, history, philosophy, political economy, political science and sociology. Excluded are courses on specific areas of the law that are required or recommended for majors in the career-oriented programs of Business Administration, Public Health, Industrial and Labor Relations, and Media and Communications. These law courses, however, may be of interest to students with specific career goals and are listed at the end of the pre-law curriculum to apprise pre-law minors of their availability.

Majors and Minors:

The Pre-Law minor is open to all academic majors who are interested in applying to law school. Since only one course in a student’s major can be used to satisfy the requirements of a minor, AS, HI, PEL, and SY majors opting for the pre-law minor must choose courses offered by programs other than their own. Majors in all other academic programs may choose courses within the various categories identified in the curriculum below.


Liberal Education Curriculum:

Choose one 2000-level course in the Liberal Education Curriculum Program that is a prerequisite to the minor. Choose from:

  • HI2700 Introduction to Logic


  • PE2300 Introduction to Law

In choosing courses to fulfill their Liberal Education Curriculum requirements, pre-law students are also advised to consider the following which provide useful background information and skills:

  • AS2112 American People I
  • AS2122 American People II
  • AS3462 History of Women in the U.S.
  • AS4222 The Emergence of Modern America
  • AS4252 Immigration History
  • HI2681 Introduction to European History
  • HI2720 Introduction to Philosophy
  • HI4001 Nineteenth Century
  • HI4011 Twentieth Century
  • PE2650 Introduction to U.S. Politics
  • PE4580 Origins of the Capitalist Economy


Students must complete 5 courses or 20 credits as follows:

A. Theory: two courses (8 credits)

  • AS4215 Critical Ideas in American History
  • AS5202 American Social and Political Visions
  • HI3703 Modern Philosophy
  • PE4325 Jurisprudence: Legal Thought
  • PE4470 History of Economic Thought
  • PE4620 Political and Social Thought
  • SY4530 Sociological Theory I

B. Issues and Institutions: two courses (8 credits)

  • AS4222 The Gilded Age and the Progressive Era
  • AS4252 Immigrants, Migrants, and Americanization
  • CR4099 Sociology of Violence
  • HI3752 Ethics
  • PE3410 Contemporary U.S. Political Economy
  • PE4650 Topics in U.S. Politics
  • SY2550 Social Problems
  • SY2600 Social Deviance
  • SY3630 Political Sociology

C. Constitutional Law, Civil Rights, and the Judicial  rocess: one course (4 credits)

  • CR3093 Criminal Justice Administration
  • IR3500 Arbitration and Mediation
  • PE4655 Constitutional Law and Politics
  • PE4658 Law and Civil Liberties
  • PE4659 Law and Civil Rights
  • SY4810 Law and Justice


Law internships for juniors and seniors are available and are highly recommended for the “hands on” experience they provide. American Studies offers internships in local government and community agencies with credits ranging from 4 to 8, dependent on the length of time spent on site. Politics, Economics and Law also offers 4 credit internships and recruits students for the New York State Assembly Session Internship Program offered each spring in Albany as well as the Semester in Washington (D.C.) Internship Program offered through SUNY Brockport. Interested students should consult a pre-law adviser.

Pre-Law Center:

The Pre-Law Center, located in the NAB 3053, has numerous resources for students considering law school: information about the Law School Admission Test and how to prepare for it; networking events and internship opportunities; materials about law schools across the country; and an advisor to guide students through these processes. 

Specific Law Courses:

The law courses taught in the career-oriented programs of Public Health, Industrial and Labor Relations, Media and Communications, and the School of Business are:

  • AS4220 Media and the Law
  • BU3600 Principles of Business Law
  • BU3605 Intermediate Business Law
  • BU3610 Advanced Business Law
  • PH4820 Health Law
  • IR4320 Labor and Employment Law

While these are not part of the pre-law curriculum, liberal arts majors, who may be contemplating legal careers in any of these areas, should consider acquiring a greater appreciation of the subject by taking the appropriate course.