The pre-law program at UMN Morris will guide you through every stage of your undergraduate education in preparing you for a legal career. The academic rigor and interdisciplinary strength of UMN Morris’s liberal arts campus will greatly enhance your pre-law education.
As a student following the pre-law program at UMN Morris, you will need to declare a major of your choosing—there is no required undergraduate major for admission into law school. You’re encouraged to choose a major that will fit your career goals, combining a traditional liberal arts discipline with courses geared toward future legal work. Many law schools recommend that undergraduate students acquire a broad education with a special emphasis on developing oral and written skills. Commonly declared majors for those going on to law school are English, history, philosophy, and political science. Note that the philosophy discipline at UMN Morris offers a sub-plan for legal studies. A pre-law adviser will work directly with you to provide career information, help with course selection, law school admission test (LSAT) planning and preparation, and law school selection.
As a UMN Morris student following the pre-law track, you will need to complete the degree requirements for your chosen major. Pre-law itself is not a major or minor that you can earn as a degree at UMN Morris. It is a pre-professional program to keep you on track in preparing for law school as you pursue your major(s) and minor(s) at UMN Morris, while providing you with a well-rounded liberal arts education.
UMN Morris offers several courses across different disciplines that will help prepare you for law school. Consider choosing courses that focus on logic, analytical problem-solving, and creative writing.
Suggested Pre-Law Courses
ENGL 2121. Introduction to Creative Writing. Introduction to the basic elements of creative writing, including exploration of poetry, story, and journal writing. Practice with techniques such as dialogue, description, voice, and style.
ENGL 2171. Editing and Proofreading. Students learn and practice the techniques of developmental editing, copyediting, and proofreading, while exploring career applications for these skills.
MGMT 2101. Principles of Accounting I (especially recommended for small firm lawyers). An introductory course in accounting principles and practices to develop an understanding of both the conceptual and procedural framework of the accounting processes. Emphasis is placed on the preparation and communication of accounting information and the financial statements for a proprietorship.
PHIL1101. Introduction to Philosophy. How should we live? What happens after we die? What is the relation between our minds and bodies? How much can we know? Does God exist? Do our lives have meaning? This course examines classic works in philosophy that address these big questions.
PHIL 1102. Introduction to Symbolic Logic (strongly recommended for the LSAT). An introduction to formal or deductive logic, including basic concepts of logical argumentation; Aristotelian logic; and symbolic translations, truth tables, and theory of deduction. Samples from political speeches, philosophical essays as well as original LSAT questions are analyzed.
PHIL 1103. Introductory Ethics. An introduction to philosophical accounts of what makes right acts right and wrong acts wrong, issues involving the concept of goodness, and arguments or debates about moral responsibility.
PHIL 2112. Professional Ethics. A critical examination of moral issues that arise in a person’s professional life. Possible topics include affirmative action, autonomy in the workplace, ethical issues in advertising, corporate responsibility, coercive wage offers, distributive justice, and sexual harassment. Issues concerning race, gender, and women are included in selected modules.
PHIL3121. Political Philosophy. An exploration of active debates in political theory and applied political philosophy. Topics such as political legitimacy, free speech (and hate speech), distributive justice, political equality and individual liberties, communitarianism, nationalism, immigration, and secession are discussed from a variety of political perspectives.
PHIL 3131. Philosophy of Law. Critical examination of theoretical and practical normative issues in the philosophy of law (e.g., nature of law, justification of punishment, plea bargaining, legal and moral responsibility, and civil disobedience).
PHIL3141. Epistemology. Explores historical and contemporary views on the limits, justification, and nature of human knowledge. Topics include experiential versus a priori knowledge, the nature of belief, skepticism, and different theories of justification.
PHIL3151. History of Ancient Philosophy. This course offers a broad survey of ancient philosophy. Topics include: happiness, beauty, virtue, fatalism, relativism, taoism, hedonism, skepticism, friendship, emotions, and tragedy.
POL 1202. Law and Society: Introduction to Public Law. This introductory level course is a survey of the concept of public law both for students interested in taking upper-level courses dealing with legal and constitutional questions and for students simply interested in a greater understanding of why and how law matters in 21st-century society.
POL 2202. Criminal Justice and Policing. This course examines processes, actors, and institutions involved in criminal justice, from the investigation of criminal activity through the arrest and incarceration of individuals, providing al foundation for understanding the criminal justice system in the United States.
POL 2221. The American Judicial Process. A half-semester course examining the common law system as broadly practiced in the United States, including types of legal recourse, the structures of state and federal judicial systems, how judges are selected, and the various influences on their decisions.
POL 2222. The U.S. Supreme Court. A half-semester course specifically looking at the role of the Supreme Court in U.S. politics with an emphasis on its historical development, how it interacts with the other federal branches, and the decision-making process of the justices on the Court.
POL 2354. Political Ethics. Examination of the strengths, weaknesses, and implications of moral arguments in political decision making. Ethical frameworks drawn from theoretical readings are applied to a range of contemporary U.S. case studies.
POL 2461. Diplomatic Negotiation. Discusses negotiation strategies and tactics and examines negotiation skills through a series of simulated negotiations and mock conferences.
POL 3231. Constitutional Law: Civil Liberties and Civil Rights. Case-based examination of major Supreme Court opinions primarily dealing with the Bill of Rights and including topics such as freedom of religion, speech and the press, rights of the accused, and struggles over the right to privacy and how to guarantee civil rights protections.
POL 3232. Constitutional Law: Government Powers and Constraints. Case-based examination of major Supreme Court opinions dealing with separation of powers, checks and balances, and issues of federalism. Specific topics include the importance of due process, the Contract Clause, the power to tax and spend, the Commerce Clause, and the struggle to define national and state powers.
POL 3475. International Human Rights. Explores the historical and philosophical development of concepts of human rights and the contemporary international political and legal frameworks to address rights. Analyzes contemporary concerns about political, economic, and social rights, as well as specific human rights topics.
POL 3411. International Law. Relations of international law to individuals, states, the international community, jurisdictional problems, survey of principles developed by diplomatic agents and consuls, treaties, arbitration, treatment of aliens, war and hostile measures short of war, military occupation, war crimes, neutrality, collective security sanctions.
PSY 3502. Psychology and Law. A psychological perspective to the law and to the legal system. Topics include jury decision making, forensic psychology, trial processes, eyewitness testimony, and sentencing.
General Education Requirements
The University of Minnesota and its faculty are committed to providing an education that invites you to investigate the world from new perspectives, learn new ways of thinking, and grow as an active citizen and lifelong learner. The University’s general education requirements are designed to be integrated throughout your four-year undergraduate experience. These courses provide you an opportunity to explore fields outside your major and complement your major curriculum with a multidisciplinary perspective.
Careers & Graduate School
UMN Morris graduates in the pre-law program have gone on to hold various legal occupations:
- Lawyer/General counsel
- Legal secretary
- Legal writer
- Law professor
- Private investigator
- Special agent
- Policy analyst
- Diplomatic agent
- Contract manager
- Real estate agent
UMN Morris has one of the best law school placement records in the entire Upper Midwest. UMN Morris’s pre-law adviser, a professor of political science, will assist you in maximizing your chances of getting into the top law schools, offering detailed information on admissions requirements and criteria at various institutions.
UMN Morris graduates have gone on to attend some of the strongest law schools in the country, including:
- Berkeley (Boalt)
- The University of Chicago
- The University of Minnesota
- The University of Virginia
Some students prefer to attend a regional law school where they can focus on legal issues and legislation pertinent to their communities. UMN Morris boasts excellent admissions rates into schools like the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Mitchell Hamline School of Law, St. Thomas, the University of North Dakota, and the University of South Dakota.
The University of Minnesota Morris is a national public liberal arts college committed to making a high-quality education available to students from across the country. Expenses for housing, meals, books and supplies, transportation, loan fees, and personal expenditures can vary.
Research & Engagement
Because of the strong relationship between the UMN Morris campus and surrounding communities, you will have unparalleled access, through the Stevens County attorney’s office, to criminal prosecutions. This includes interviewing of defendants and/or witnesses, drafting of criminal complaints, and observing a wide range of criminal proceedings.
In addition to the support of the campus pre-law adviser, you will also have access to an LSAT Prep FAQ that includes scoring information and a suggested study schedule.
Many pre-law students enjoy competing in the UMN Morris Mock Trial program. The group has a strong history of success both at the regional and national levels of the American Mock Trial Association.