Pre-Law Certificate

Certificate Requirements

Completion of the Pre-Law certificate requires a minimum of 15 credits in three out of four areas of emphasis. No more than one course may be at the 100-level, at least two must be at the 300- or above level, and there must be at least one that is writing intensive. Students should also consider taking a course that builds oral communication skills.

If the courses taken for the Certificate are applicable to a major, minor or concentration, there is no University restriction on "sharing" credits for the certificate, but students must comply with possible school restrictions on "credit-sharing," and it is recommended, but not required, that at least one course be distinctive to the certificate, and students are advised to consider courses in multiple disciplines.

Read testimonials, FAQs and more about the Pre-Law program.

Program Information

Completion of our Pre-Law certificate requires a minimum of 15 credits in three out of four areas of emphasis.



Required Credit Hours



  1. ENGL 326W: Legal Research and Writing (3 cr.)
  2. POSC 448W/HIST 463W/IR 414W: American Presidents & the Constitution (3 cr.)
  3. POSC 301/BUAD 490: Intro. to Legal Education, Life of Lawyers & the Legal Profession (3 cr.)
  1. FORE 201: Philosophical Ethics of Law & Science (2 cr.)
  2. PHIL 106: Logic (3 cr.)
  3. PHIL 108: Business Ethics (3 cr.)
  4. PHIL 212: Political Philosophy (3 cr.)
  5. PHIL 231: History of Political Philosophy (3 cr.)
  6. PHIL 260: Philosophy of Law (3 cr.)
  7. PHIL 327: Philosophy of Crime and Punishment (3 cr.)
  8. POSC 298: Introduction to Political Analysis (3 cr.)
  9. MGMT 368W: Business Ethics (3 cr.)
  1. BLAW 251: Business Law (3 cr.)
  2. BLAW 353W: Contracts (3 cr.)
  3. BLAW 355W: Law of Business Organizations (3 cr.)
  4. FORE 101: Forensic Science & Criminal Law (2 cr.)
  5. POSC 304/EQ 105: Law and Morality (3 cr.)
  6. POSC 326W: Constitutional Law: Civil Liberties & Rights (3 cr.)
  7. POSC 327W: Constitutional Law & Politics (3 cr.)
  8. POSC 380W: Controversies in Public Policy (3 cr.)
  9. POSC/IR/PJCR 385: International Law & Organizations (3 cr.)
  10. POSC 409: Public Administration (3 cr.)
  11. POSC/IR/ PJCR 413W: Human Rights & Human Security: Politics, Policy, & Law (3 cr.)
  1. COMM 426: Free Speech and Responsibility (3 cr.)
  2. HIST/IR/PJCR 447W: History of Human Rights (3 cr.)
  3. PHBA 340W: Pharmacy Law & Ethics
  4. PHYT 421W: Principles of Practice: Ethical, Moral & Legal Issues (3 cr.)
  5. POSC/IR 215: National Security and Liberty
  6. POSC 292W: Public Policy (3 cr.)
  7. POSC 326W: Constitutional Law: Civil Liberties & Rights (3 cr.)
  8. POSC 327W: Constitutional Law & Politics (3 cr.)
  9. POSC 380W: Controversies in Public Policy (3 cr.)
  10. POSC/IR/PJCR 385: International Law & Organizations (3 cr.)
  11. POSC/IR/PJCR 413W: Human Rights & Human Security: Politics, Policy, Law (3 cr.)

Students can round out their curriculum with remaining selections below. Courses in the Required Categories may be taken as Electives, but no course may be double counted to fulfill two categories. Other authorized elective courses include:

Miscellaneous Elective Courses

  1. BLAW 354: Commercial Transactions (3 cr.)
  2. CLSX 242: Ancient Law (3 cr.)
  3. COMM 406: Political Communication (3 cr.)
  4. FORE 401: American Legal History (1 cr.)
  5. FORE 402: Torts (1 cr.)
  6. HIST 335: Crime & Criminality in Early Modern Europe (3 cr.)
  7. HIST 340: History of Western Law (3 cr.)
  8. HLTM 477: Legal Issues in Healthcare (3 cr.)
  9. MUPF 477: Business Law for the Music Industry (1 cr.)
  10. PHIL 216: Social Justice (3 cr.)
  11. POSC 202: State and Local Government (3 cr.)
  12. POSC 203: American Congress (3 cr.)
  13. POSC 290: American Political Thought (3 cr.)
  14. POSC 302: Political Parties & Interest Groups (3 cr.)
  15. POSC/IR/PJCR 349: United Nations I & II (1 cr.)
  16. POSC/IR/PJCR 350: United Nations III & IV (2 cr.)
  17. POSC 424: Women, Minorities, & Public Policy (3 cr.)
  18. PSYC 228W: Psychology of Personality (3 cr.)
  19. PSYC 240W: Social Psychology (3 cr.)
  20. SOCI 370: Gender, Crime, & Justice (SOCI 3 cr.)
  21. SOCI 421: Criminal Justice Policy (SOCI 3 cr.)
  22. Practical Experiences
  • a. Externships (1 - 3 credits) (with approval of Pre-Law Director and internship director of undergraduate major)
  • b. Internships (1 - 3 credits) (with approval of Pre-Law Director and internship director of undergraduate major.)
  • c. Mock Trial (Undergraduate, 0 credits)

Pre-Law Timeline and Checklist

First and Second Years

  • Meet with Dr. Kristen Coopie, Pre-Law advisor and Director of the Pre-Law Center. She can help you plan courses, and identify resources concerning legal education and the legal profession. 
  • Consider the 3-3 Early Admissions Program with Duquesne Kline School of Law, but remember that you do not need to participate in the 3+3 program to pursue the Pre-Law Certificate.
  • Seek internships, shadowing opportunities, or jobs that expose you to lawyers at work. Find out as much as possible about the life of lawyers to decide whether to become a lawyer.
  • Get to know at least one professor well each semester. They are all potential letter writers!
  • Seek leadership positions in organizations with which you are involved.
  • Find opportunities during summers that will set you apart from your classmates and help you learn more about law as a career.

Third Year

Practice for the LSAT. Not only is your score an important factor for admission, but it also is a significant factor for any financial aid package a school may offer you. 

Fall Semester

  • Start researching law schools online. The preLaw Magazine by the National Jurist and Max Pre-Law by Access Lex are a few of many great resources available.
  • Attend law school fairs and information sessions.

Winter Break and Spring Break

  • Visit law schools.

Spring Semester


  • Take the LSAT.
  • Start working on a personal statement.
  • Bring personal statement to Pre-Law advisor, professors or the University Writing Center for help.


  • Receive LSAT score.
  • Locate web-based applications on LSAC or law schools' web sites.
  • Register for the LSAC Credential Assembly Service
  • Consider registering for the option LSAC Candidate Referral Service, which gives you the opportunity to be contacted by law schools you may not have considered. 
  • Complete second draft of personal statement and seek feedback.

Fourth Year


  • Complete application materials: the earlier the better, especially for financial aid.
  • Don't hesitate to ask specific schools for application fee waivers if you are planning on applying. 
  • Ask professors or supervisors to write letters of recommendation. It is often helpful to provide them with a list of schools you are applying to, as well as a copy of your resume and transcript (it can be unofficial). 
  • Request transcripts from every college you ever attended and send to LSAC.


  • Take the LSAT if you did not take it in June, or if you are taking it a second time. It is better to take it in October than in December!
  • Complete last draft of personal statement.
  • Submit application materials as early as possible.
  • Thank professors for writing letters! 


  • Check to be sure applications are complete.


  • File financial aid applications. 
  • Look into funding options: grants, scholarships, fellowships, and other opportunities.