Law school admissions committees agree that the most appropriate and beneficial preparation for law school is a traditional liberal arts education combined with relevant extra-curricular experiences. The Pre-Law advising and preparation at Dickinson incorporates these elements in a comprehensive approach to Pre-legal studies. Coordinated by the Pre-law advisor at the Career Center, the program is inherently flexible and allows students to explore the breadth of their intellectual interests.
Pre-law students can select any major field of concentration at the college. It is helpful to take certain courses that will provide a substantive background in the subjects that are directly related to the practice and development of law. Students planning to pursue the study of law should include courses to refine their writing, research, and argument formation skills. Below is a list of courses that are recommended to introduce students to the skills and issues related to the study of law.
Since law schools do not have a preferred undergraduate major, you are free to choose nearly any academic path that emphasizes writing, research, and analytical thinking. The courses listed below are a compilation of classes designed to introduce students to the skills and issues related to the study of law.
Contemporary Economics or Introduction to Microeconomics
(ECON 100 or 111)
American History (HIST 117, 118)
Ethics (PHIL 112)
Logic (PHIL 121)
Persuading and Arguing (PHIL 120)
Political Science/Policy Studies:
American Government (POSC 120)
Constitutional Law I, II (POSC 220, 221)
Philosophy of Law (LAWP 255)
The Judiciary (LAWP 248)
The Legislative Process (POSC 246)
Students should take several writing intensive courses to refine their writing, research, and argument-formation skills. Possibilities include:
Writing: Special Topics (ENGL 212)
Critical Approaches (ENGL 220)
Any of the literature courses offered by the department.
The Joint Baccalaureate and Law Degree Program is a six-year program consisting of three years at Dickinson College followed by three years at the Pennsylvania State University Dickinson School of Law program. To qualify for this program, Dickinson students need to complete all requirements for the bachelor's degree (except one year of elective courses) within three years, attain a 3.5 cumulative grade average (the top 10-15 percent of the class), and achieve a score on the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) within the top 30 percent of the national test-takers. Students accepted into the program enroll in the Penn State Dickinson School of Law in lieu of their final year at Dickinson College. After one year of successful study at the law school, students will earn the baccalaureate degree from Dickinson College. After two additional years of study at the law school, the students will complete the law program and earn their JD degree.
Students interested in the joint-degree program should consult the college's pre-law advisor and should be prepared to apply to the Dickinson School of Law no later than February 1 of the junior year.