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Undergraduate Pre-Law Degrees

John Carroll University offers multiple paths to law school: a four-year Pre-Law Advising Program that fortifies any academic major; a new Law & Society interdisciplinary minor; and an accelerated 3+3 partnership with Case Western Reserve University Law School that allows you to complete your undergraduate and law degree in six years.

All John Carroll students are welcome to join the Pre-Law Advising Program, regardless of your preferred path or major. The Pre-Law Advising Program at John Carroll University offers advising, mentoring, shadowing opportunities and other resources for students interested in pursuing admission to law school.

Whatever your motivation — whether you have always wanted to study law, or feel more recently compelled — dedicated faculty and staff support the Pre-Law Advising Program and are here to help build on your strengths and strengthen your weaknesses, and prepare you for a successful legal career.

Law School: What Does it Take?

Law schools favor applicants with a passion for the law, a motivation for advancing the legal profession, and a strong academic record.

A liberal arts degree — with its focus on critical thinking skills — prepares you to immerse yourself in judicial opinions and rulings via the case method, a law school hallmark. More than raw memorization of case facts, law school trains you to discern the underlying legal principles that shape a ruling and outcomes.

Law School Admission Council data shows that students in majors such as economics, philosophy and classics score nearly identical to test takers from hard science majors and math. Here are a few common majors pre-law students tend to gravitate toward, depending on what they want to do with their law degree:

At John Carroll, the study of Classics brings necessary context to the world today – through understanding history, culture, philosophy, religion and more to create truly empathetic global citizens. Classics majors historically do best on their LSAT because of their abilities to comprehend and analyze challenging concepts, communicate skillfully and effectively, and understand foundational principles with context.

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As an English major, you will focus on creating compelling arguments, proofreading and editing work, giving and responding to constructive criticism, reading and synthesizing large amounts of complex information for both big picture and detail-specific issues, and exercising imaginative and creative problem solving. All of these skills will prepare you for a successful transition into the depth and breadth of interpreting law school texts, the rigor of writing that law school demands, and the critical analysis skills to understand varying perspectives and arguments.

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History students at John Carroll develop contextually responsible and critical interpretations of the past that help us better understand the course of human experience and help to shape our future. The history major at John Carroll is structured to allow students to pursue research projects in areas of their interest. The History Department at John Carroll has also established a mentoring network alumni who have gone on to law school who remain in contact with students interested in legal careers so they can help mentor them through the law school application process.

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At John Carroll, your political science major begins with an overview of this discipline’s basic fields, all the while building strong analytical, reading and writing, persuasive argument and compromise skills, and understanding government at the local, state, national, and global level. Afterwards, you will branch out into your own elective courses in concentrations — choosing between applied politics, global studies, legal studies, or a make-your-own concentration — tailoring your studies to fit your interests and future career plans.

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If you’d like to use your legal career to work in social justice and make big change – whether internationally or in your neighborhood – the PJHR major is an excellent choice. With a focus on the historical roots and persistence of conflict, the contestedness of history, peacebuilding, conflict transformation, reconciliation, and social restoration, and so much more, this degree combines undergraduate research and study with experiential and service learning to help you gain a thorough understanding of peacebuilding and conflict resolution, social justice, and human rights advocacy.

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Philosophy encompasses the systematic study of some of the most fundamental questions regarding existence, nature, knowledge, reality, politics, and morality. Philosophy majors tend to score high on their LSATs because they have a solid foundation in understanding logic, reading comprehension, differing viewpoints and critical analysis. Focus your study with the Philosophy, Law, and Politics option, recommended for students who are interested in the philosophical study of law and its relation to morality, politics, and the state, providing an excellent preparation for careers in the legal profession, politics, and government.

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Studying sociology will expose you to theoretical insights about human behavior, and teach you critical analytical thinking and skills to work with, and help understand, people. Regardless of your goals to pursue criminal law or criminal justice work, sociology and criminology serves as a great springboard to law school because you will understand the complex social systems that impact everyone, taking courses in areas including inequality and discrimination, forensic science, and law, ethics and criminal justice policy.

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By studying law as an interdisciplinary field, students will appreciate how legal systems are linked to patterns of class, geography, and privilege. When paired with a related major, LASO provides preparation for careers in legal practice, corrections, enforcement, and public policy, whether in a domestic or international context.

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Pre-Law Program Highlights

From JCU to Law School Success

Our students have gone on to pursue law degrees at top Ohio and U.S. law schools, including Harvard, Cornell, Notre Dame, Wake Forest, Ohio State, Case Western Reserve, the University of Pittsburgh, and other prestigious law schools. Our pre-law adviser can advise you from day one to make sure your choices match what law school and graduate schools look for, and how you can best tailor your degree to meet your biggest goals.

Jobs & Internships

One of the best ways to see if a career in law is right for you? Take advantage of local and global internship partnerships and connections, working with those in the legal field from Freshman year. Fellowship partnerships with Cleveland Council of World Affairs, Global Cleveland, and Meet the Press and ongoing internships with the University Heights Mayor’s Office can give you vital experience in your field. In the past, students have interned with the US State Department, the White House, Drug Court, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office (Crime Strategies Unit and Major Trials Unit); the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland (Supervision, Credit Risk, and Cyber Security division); Office of the Presiding Judge, Third Municipal District, Circuit Court for Cook County, IL; State representative’s district office (Rep Rob Mercuri, 28th district, PA); US Representative’s district offices (Conor Lamb in PA and Chris Jacobs in NY).

Take advantage of a John Carroll’s partnership with Case Western Reserve University School of Law wherein a student obtains a bachelor’s degree from John Carroll University followed by the Juris Doctor degree from Case Western Reserve University in six years, saving you a total of one year in studies and expenses and setting you on your path to a law career that much sooner.

Student Organizations & Experiential Learning

Law schools like to see applicants with passions inside and outside of the legal world. John Carroll offers organizations and experiential learning opportunities in both. Get involved with Student Government, the Ohio Innocence Project, The Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion, Black Student Alliance, Latin American Student Association, and many more. We offer experiential learning courses—such as the European Union Simulation or Model Arab League—that aim at developing negotiation, leadership, and diplomacy skills. We also sponsor various events throughout the academic year, such as lunch roundtables with prominent academicians, judges, and politicians as well as the popular occasional series Rant on the Rails, which brings in both prominent and student panelists to discuss important issues at the local, national, and international level.

Featured Faculty

“John Carroll offers exceptional pre-law degrees for students who want to put their talents to work to assist and repair the world.  Whether you’re interested in protecting the environment, building the legal framework for new digital domains, or pursuing justice for the accused, JCU pre-law provides the tools that you can hone over a lifetime. The analytic rigor that you will develop in JCU pre-law will help you on the LSAT, in law school, and during your entire legal career.”

—Elizabeth Stiles, Professor

Notable Alum

Cole Hassay

Henry Cole Hassay, ’16

"JCU sharpened my critical thinking skills, taught me how to make compelling arguments, and helped me become an effective writer. My liberal arts degree from here prepared me for law school and legal practice."

JCU Northeast Map

Pre-Law Alumni Across the Region

John Carroll University alumni live, work, teach and support communities throughout the region from Northeast Ohio to Chicago, Indianapolis, Detroit, Columbus, Buffalo, Rochester, Pittsburgh, New York City, Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia.