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Pre-law

Pre-law

Did you know that there are no official pre-requisite courses for Law School? Instead, Law Schools want prospective students to focus on building general knowledge and skills and finding an undergraduate major in which you will be academically successful. Though there are no required courses for Pre-Law students, UW-Madison offers a wide range of courses that will help you explore, expand your knowledge, and build tangible skills relevant to Law careers. As always, talk with your academic advisor about how these and other courses of interest relate to your overall degree requirements. The following provides just a glimpse of relevant coursework offered at UW-Madison.

Center for Pre-Law Advising

Resources for Pre-Law Students

Considering Law School? Visit the UW-Madison Center for Pre-Law Advising website for extensive information on exploring, preparing for, and applying to Law Schools. You can also schedule an appointment with a Pre-Law Advisor. We are here for UW-Madison undergraduates and alumni!

*Some or all sections of this course are online.

Law student in badger red working in the law library

Analytical & Problem Solving Skills

In law school, you’ll spend lots of time structuring and evaluating arguments. Look for opportunities to develop your analytical skills and solve difficult problems during your undergraduate education.

  • Economics 102 Principles of Macroeconomics*
  • Educational Policy 412: History of American Education
  • International Studies 374: The Growth and Development of Nations in the Global Economy
  • Philosophy 341 Contemporary Moral Issues
Law class in session

Critical Reading & Critical Thinking Abilities

As a legal professional, you’ll need to read closely and with a critical eye. You will practice this skill in law school by reading judicial opinions, statutes, and other complex documents.

  • Classics 322: The Romans
  • Psychology 225: Research Methods*
  • Sociology 134: Problems of American Racial and Ethnic Minorities
  • Sociology 138: The Sociology of Gender
Pre-law students engaged in conversation

Writing Skills

Expressing yourself clearly and concisely is a must in the legal world. Law school will teach you some writing forms and techniques found in legal settings, but you’ll need to become a skilled written communicator before this.

  • Art 236: Writing for and about the Arts
  • English 201: Intermediate Composition
  • History 201: Writing the Louisiana Purchase from the West
  • RP & SE 501: Rehabilitation-Counseling Psychology: Applications*
The Quarles and Brady reading room at the law library

Oral Communication & Listening Abilities

Speaking clearly and persuasively is another key skill in the legal profession, and being an excellent listener is crucial to building strong relationships with clients and colleagues. The American Bar Association (ABA) advises undergraduates to develop “basic speaking and listening skills, such as by engaging in debate, making formal presentations in class, or speaking before groups.

  • Communication Arts 100: Introduction to Speech Composition*
  • Communication Arts 373: Intercultural Communication & Rhetoric*
  • Counseling Psychology 225: Coming to Terms with Cultural Diversity: Invitation to Dialogue*
Pre law scholars

Broad Knowledge on Social, Economic, & Political Topics

Broad knowledge of social, economic, and political topics is beneficial in law school and beyond. The ABA recommends exploring history and the social, political, economic, and cultural factors that have influenced the development of American society; political thought and the workings of the contemporary American political system; and human behavior and social interaction.

  • Afro-American Studies 156: Black Music and American Cultural History
  • Chicana/o & Latina/o Studies 245: Chicana and Latina History
  • Environmental Studies 113: Environmental Studies: The Humanistic Perspective
  • Gender & Womens Studies 425: Crime, Gender and Justice
Pre law scholars

Gauging Interest in Law

If you are unsure whether law school is right for you, the courses below may help you gauge your interest. Law schools do not require students to take courses related to law – these are for your own illumination.

  • Economics 522: Law and Economics*
  • Educational Policy Studies 412: History of American Education
  • Political Science 434: The Politics of Human Rights*
  • Political Science 414: The Supreme Court as a Political Institution*

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