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California State University, Long Beach
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Pre-Law Emphasis

The Department of Philosophy, CSU Long Beach, offers a Pre-Law Emphasis to provide undergraduates who are interested in a career in law with a course of study which emphasizes the development of skills in logical reasoning and argumentation, in linguistic and ethical analysis, and in clear and precise communication.

All philosophy courses emphasize oral discussion and well-reasoned writing, both of which are essential for careers in law. The Department also offers several courses of special interest to pre-law students.

Law schools do not recommend any particular major for admission. The American Bar Association (in Law as a Career) states:

  • An undergraduate should be aware that there is no particular course of study that is required or preferred by law schools. Accordingly, students from a wide variety of majors (e.g., philosophy, physics, political science, engineering, and business) are admitted to law schools each year. There is no true prelaw curriculum. Generally, a broad-based education that is rigorous and that stresses analytical and verbal communication skills will be useful.

However, on the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT), philosophy majors nationwide consistently achieve among the highest scores of all majors.

Because admission to law school is highly competitive, there is no easy path to success. But good students who develop their critical skills in comprehension and analysis of complex material through the study of philosophy and a strong General Education program can position themselves to compete with the best. The department also offers special courses in philosophy of law and a pre-law internship to introduce students to the legal world.

Our recent graduates have attended law school at Boalt (University of California, Berkeley), Boston University, Cardozo Law School, Chapman University, College of William and Mary Law School, Harvard University, Hastings College of Law, Loyola-Marymount University, Pepperdine University, Southwestern University, University of California-Davis, University of San Diego, University of Southern California, the University of Connecticut, the University of Seattle, and Whittier College.

Philosophy Pre-Law Courses

PHIL 351I. Political Philosophy (3): Analysis of fundamental political concepts such as the legitimacy of government, the relation of justice to coercive power, the morality of war, political obligation, and sovereignty; and/or a study of political ideologies such as socialism, classical liberalism, and conservatism.

PHIL 352I. Philosophy of Law (3): Study of the historical development of the philosophy of law and examination of the problems in the field ranging from general theories to analysis of fundamental legal concepts and normative issues. (Majors receive General Education credit for an Interdisciplinary IC/capstone course, as well as credit toward the major. Non-majors receive General Education credit for an Interdisciplinary course and for an upper-division C.2.b. "Philosophy" course.)

PHIL 451I. Liberty and Justice: Race, Ethnicity, and Gender in American Law(3): Philosophical and legal analysis of how liberty and justice for different races, ethnic groups, and genders have been treated in American law. . (Majors receive General Education credit for a Human Diversity course and an Interdisciplinary IC/Capstone course, as well as credit toward the major. Non-majors receive General Education credit for a Human Diversity course and an Interdisciplinary course and an upper-division C.2.b. "Philosophy" course.) Prerequisites: upper-division standing (junior standing required; senior standing recommended); six units of philosophy or consent of instructor.

PHIL 489. Philosophy Internship/Pre-Law (3-6): Internship with private organizations and governmental agencies with law-related focus. Recent internships have been completed at the California Coastal Commission, the Orange County Public Defenders’ Office, the Orange County Bar Foundation, and various private firms. Work is done under the joint supervision of the program sponsor and CSULB Philosophy Pre-Law Advisor. A mid-term and final report and internship conferences are required. Grading: Credit/No-Credit. Prerequisites: completion of a minimum of 15 upper-division units required for the Philosophy major.

For more information on the Pre-Law emphasis, please click here.