Undergraduate Catalog 2007-2008
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Pre-Law Program | Office | Website


The Pre-Law program is an academic advising program run by the Pre-Law Committee and the associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Education. Students who are planning on attending law school will be assigned an academic advisor who can assist them in choosing both a major program and electives that will help prepare them for the academic requirements of law school. While the Pre-Law program is not a degree-granting program, the committee devised a certificate program for students interested in legal studies.

Degree Requirements

Requirements for the Certificate in Legal Studies (27 cr.)

LST 200* Introduction to Legal Studies (includes a legal research skills component)
POL 210 American Politics
Cross-Listed as POL 201

At least one course from each of the following four component areas of the certificate program:

Skills for the Legal Profession
PHL 140 Critical Thinking in Law
PHL 150 Introduction to Logic
ENL 202 Writing Across the Curriculum
CST 317 Argumentation
CST 402 Audience Analysis

History and Content of the Law
HIS 250 U.S. To 1877
HIS 251 U.S. Since 1877
HIS 330 History of England to 1485
HIS 407 English Common Law
HIS 466 American Constitution
POL 342 American Constitution and Public Law

Theoretical Foundations of Law
PHL 240 Philosophical Issues in Law
PHL 301 Social and Political Philosophy
PHL 315 Philosophy of Law and Politics
POL 380 Political Thought

Law in Society
BUS 231 Business Law
BUS 319 Business and Society
CST 301 Communication Law
ECN 355 History of Economic Thought
ECN 358 Money and Capital Markets
ECN 435 Economic History of the U.S.
CJS 451 Criminology and Penology
ETH 359 Ethics and Public Policy
HIS 345 U.S. Since 1945
HUS 410 Law and the Citizen
PHL Philosophy of Retributive Justice (new course)
POL 346 Civil Liberties and Rights
POL 310 Women and Politics
RS 240 Social Ethics
TD 343 Ethics and Economic Theories
RS 348 Justice: Contemporary Issues and Theories
SOC 212 Black Americans and Social Institutions
SOC 335 Urban Issues and Problems
SOC 340 Ethnic and Race Relations

Each Semester, one or more LST courses will be designated as fulfilling a capstone seminar requirement. Students must take at least one course with this designation.

Students may take no more than 12 credit hours in any one department (e.g. CST, HIS, PHL, POL).

At least 12 credit hours must be taken at the 300- or 400-level.

Students must complete 10 hours of community service. (These hours may be fulfilled in courses such as POL 210.)

The Pre-Law Committee emphasizes that there is no required undergraduate major for law school; rather, students should choose an academically rigorous major that is both of interest to them, and develops their skills in critical reading, writing, and thinking. Students who plan to attend law school are advised by the Association of American Law Schools to develop basic skills and insights rather than follow any pre-set pre-law program. Law schools urge an undergraduate education that emphasizes:

  • 1. Reading comprehension skills. Reading both case law and statutes requires the ability to distinguish and understand the component parts of complex claims and definitions.
  • 2. Critical writing skills. The wide variety of forms of writing used in the law all require clear and concise writing skills, and presuppose proficiency with standard English grammar, punctuation, and syntax.
  • 3. Critical thinking skills. In both its oral and written formats, the practice of law requires skill at argumentation. Distinguishing a claim from the reasons given in support of it, as well as identifying and analyzing the arguments given in judicial decisions, are essential skills in the practice of law.
  • 4. Understanding and analysis of the human institutions and values that are central to the law. Classes that offer insight into the historical development of the law, its impact on other aspects of human life, and the values it reflects are suggested.

Regardless of the choice of undergraduate major, students planning on law school should choose academically rigorous courses (particularly in the liberal arts) that develop all of the skills listed above. Juniors and seniors should choose 300- or 400- level courses for their electives, in addition to the upper division courses required by the student's major.

The Pre-Law Committee encourages all pre-law students to visit UDM's School of Law during their course of study. Two very useful contacts at the Law School are:

  • Kathleen H. Caprio Assistant Dean – Admissions and Student Affairs (313) 596-0287
  • Bonnie D. Fitch Associate Director – Admissions and Student Affairs (313) 596-0253

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For more information about UDM, or to apply online, go to www.udmercy.edu/apply.

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