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  • While there is no single path to becoming a lawyer, majors that prioritize research, writing, debating, and critical thinking will help prepare you for a legal career.
  • Try taking classes that are aligned with areas of the law you’d like to practice one day.
  • Regardless of your major, a strong GPA is crucial if you want to attend a selective law school.

The path to becoming a lawyer is as varied as the specialties within the profession itself. If you have your heart set on landing a legal gig, it's important to know that it doesn't necessarily matter what you study as an undergraduate. This is truly a profession suited to those coming from vast educational backgrounds.

That said, there are some academic disciplines that have long been good jumping-off points for students who want to later attend law school.

For starters, choosing courses that will develop the skills needed to do well on the LSAT®—the Law School Admissions Test—is a smart move. Since the exam focuses mainly on reading comprehension and analytical reasoning skills, majors that require a lot of research, writing, and debating can give you an edge.

Take a look at these popular majors for future law students.


What to expect

From a practical standpoint, history majors are tasked with lots of research and writing and must learn to draw conclusions based on historical documents.

How it’s relevant

Examining how the past has helped to shape and define our present—here in the United States and around the world—will help you put into context our current justice system and laws. Plus, all that writing and research is a great precursor to the work you'll do in law school.


What to expect

As an English major, you’ll read and analyze great works of literature and historical texts from various cultures and time periods. You should anticipate being assigned lots of essays inviting you to think critically about literary themes, as well as lots of lively classroom discussion and debate.

How it’s relevant

Having a strong command of written and verbal skills will take you far as an attorney whether you're writing, researching, or speaking in court. As an English major, the time dedicated to reading and working on assignments is also great practice for the hours you'll spend in the law library.


What to expect

Philosophy majors delve deep into the study of logic, ethics, and morality. You'll debate with classmates, present arguments, and do a lot of research to support your point of view.

How it’s relevant

As a philosophy major, you’ll be immersed in areas of thought that also happen to be the cornerstones of law. Not to mention that preparing for a debate is not all that different from what lawyers do to prepare for court.

Political science

What to expect

In this major, you'll study political systems, public policy, international relations, and the relationship between government, the law, and individual rights, among other things. You'll be required to analyze various written documents and data sets (think ancient texts to social media posts) and will learn to think critically and write effectively.

How it’s relevant

Of all majors, political science may be the closest to a "law school" curriculum as you can get. Many of the skills you’ll develop are key for writing case studies and retaining information in law school, too.


What to expect

Economics majors learn about the foundations of what drives the market, from supply and demand to consumer behavior to international trade. In addition to studying economic policies and procedures, economics majors spend a lot of time analyzing data and numbers.

How it’s relevant

Not only are economics majors trained to think logically and analytically, but economic policies and procedures, as well as how resources are distributed and managed, are topics closely connected to the legal issues you'll encounter as a lawyer. Any major that has you summarizing qualitative and quantitative data to solve problems is good training for your brain to seek out evidence to support your claims.


What to expect

Business majors also study economic policy, as well as the ins and outs of how different types of companies function, on both a local and global scale. Anticipate taking some finance-heavy classes, such as accounting and micro- and macro-economics, as well classes on business ethics.

How it’s relevant

General business knowledge can be applied in almost any industry, and that holds true for aspiring attorneys as well. A business major is a good option for those who plan to go into corporate law. That said, be sure to supplement business fundamentals with humanities and liberal arts electives so you can train your analytical and critical thinking muscles, as well as practice research and writing, too.

Criminology/Criminal justice

What to expect

Criminology and criminal justice cover the study of crimes, criminals, and crime victims, and the systems in place to address them. Not only will you examine the different aspects of the criminal justice system (prisons, courts, and the police force), but public policy and sociology as well. Some programs also look at forensics—the science behind solving crimes.

How it’s relevant

Criminology is one of the best majors for anyone interested in a career in criminal law. In addition, many of the skills you develop—analysis, research, and problem-solving—will be good prep for the type of work that will be expected of you in law school.


What to expect

Psychology majors study the science of human behavior and what makes us think and act the way we do. Psychology majors will delve deep into the study of the brain, and how its function shapes behavior and social interactions. It is a research-heavy major, one that requires a lot of critical thinking.

How it’s relevant

There’s a reason psychology is among the top undergraduate majors for pre-law. Working in law often means working with people, and having a deeper understanding of motives and how people work will put you in good stead. Also, psychology majors develop the research, writing, and analytical skills that are required for success in law school.

General tips

  1. Consider majoring in a discipline that is related to the type of law you want to practice. Since you don't have to declare a specialty during law school, building a background as an undergraduate in subjects that interest you most is a great start. If you're passionate about environmental science, you could turn that into a successful career as an environmental lawyer. If finance and accounting is your focus, becoming a tax attorney could be your path.
  2. Choose a major or take electives that are heavy on research and writing. Those are the critical skills that will help you most in law school.
  3. Whichever academic route you take, maintaining a strong GPA is essential if you aim to attend a selective law school program.

If practicing law is your dream, know that your undergraduate options are pretty much limitless. As long as you pursue a well-rounded education that hones your communication, research, and critical-thinking skills, you'll get your day in court.


LSAT® is a registered trademark of the Law School Admission Council, Inc., and is not affiliated with Discover Student Loans.

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