Suggested Pre-Law Courses
“Am I really cut out to read the law?”
“What kind of law should I practice?”
“Am I a litigator or a writer of great briefs?”
“Could a writ of habeas corpus get me out of my final?”
Forensics, logic, business, justice, the Constitution... the University of Minnesota, Morris offers several courses that allow undergraduates to explore the possibility of a career in law. One of the benefits of preparing for a legal career at a liberal arts campus is access to upper-level courses in disciplines such as:
that include concentrated reading and writing so valuable to the aspiring lawyer. Examine the list below for some examples and see what catches your interest. There are no requirements for the UMM pre-law program, which is for advising and guidance purposes. Students are encouraged to take courses that focus on logic, analytical problem-solving, and creative or analytical writing, but keep in mind that successful lawyers have majored in every discipline, including the Sciences, Humanities, Fine Arts, Education, and Social Sciences.
And for the record, a writ of habeas corpus, also known as an order from a judge to an incarcerating official, will not get you excused from examinations.
POL 1202. Law and Society: Introduction to Public Law
This introductory level course is intended as a survey of the concept of public law both for students interested in taking upper-level courses dealing with legal and constitutional questions and for students simply interested in a greater understanding of why and how law matters in 21st-century society.
POL 2221. The American Judicial Process
A half-semester course examining the common law system as broadly practiced in the United States, including types of legal recourse, the structures of state and federal judicial systems, how judges are selected, and the various influences on their decisions.
POL 2222. The U.S. Supreme Court
A half-semester course specifically looking at the role of the Supreme Court in U.S. politics with an emphasis on its historical development, how it interacts with the other federal branches, and the decision-making process of the justices on the Court.
POL 2354. Political Ethics
Examination of the strengths, weaknesses, and implications of moral arguments in political decision making. Ethical frameworks drawn from theoretical readings are applied to a range of contemporary U.S. case studies such as state use of violence, interrogation in times of war, governmental secrecy and deceit, official disobedience, health-care access, welfare reform, and environmental regulation and protection.
POL 2461. Diplomatic Negotiation
Discusses negotiation strategies and tactics and examines negotiation skills through a series of simulated negotiations and mock conferences. Diplomacy, negotiation styles, negotiation simulations, and mock conferences.
POL 3231. Constitutional Law: Civil Liberties and Civil Rights
Case-based examination of major Supreme Court opinions primarily dealing with the Bill of Rights and including topics such as freedom of religion, speech and the press, rights of the accused, and struggles over the right to privacy and how to guarantee civil rights protections.
POL 3232. Constitutional Law: Government Powers and Constraints
Case-based examination of major Supreme Court opinions dealing with separation of powers, checks and balances, and issues of federalism. Specific topics include the importance of due process, the Contract Clause, the power to tax and spend, the Commerce Clause, and the struggle to define national and state powers.
POL 3475. International Human Rights
Explores the historical and philosophical development of concepts of human rights and the contemporary international political and legal frameworks to address rights. Analyzes contemporary concerns about political, economic, and social rights, as well as specific human rights topics like human trafficking and war crimes. Compares American, European, Asian, and Developing World conceptions and critiques of human rights
PSY 3502. Psychology and Law
A psychological perspective to the law and to the legal system. Topics include jury decision making, forensic psychology, trial processes, eyewitness testimony, and sentencing.
SOC 3124. Sociology of Law
Explore the emergence and function of law through the lens of social theories. The course assumes law is embodied in the social structure of society; hence, it is the product of social interaction. Based on this assumption, it examines the role of law in maintaining and reproducing social order, class, race, and gender inequalities. The course is interdisciplinary and comparative in its scope and integrates jurisprudence and various social science theories.
ENGL 2121. Introduction to Creative Writing
Introduction to the basic elements of creative writing, including exploration of poetry, story, and journal writing. Practice with techniques such as dialogue, description, voice, and style.
ENGL 2171. Editing and Proofreading
Students learn and practice the techniques of developmental editing, copyediting, and proofreading, while exploring career applications for these skills.
POL 3411. International Law
Relations of international law to individuals, states, the international community, jurisdictional problems, survey of principles developed by diplomatic agents and consuls, treaties, arbitration, treatment of aliens, pacific settlement. War and hostile measures short of war, military occupation, war crimes, neutrality, collective security sanctions.
PHIL 3131. Philosophy of Law
Critical examination of theoretical and practical normative issues in the philosophy of law (e.g., nature of law, justification of punishment, plea bargaining, legal and moral responsibility, and civil disobedience).
CMR 1801. Legal Argument and Free Speech: Ready to Become a Supreme Court Justice?
Examination of the development of legal argument in Supreme Court decisions dealing with free speech. Read Supreme Court cases, write opinions, speak to a mock Supreme Court, listen to arguments, and analyze the issues that define the ability to communicate in this country.
CMR 2052. Legal Advocacy: Speaking in Appellate Forensic Situations
Detailed study of the theory and practice of speaking in legal settings. Students prepare and present appellate argument. The final presentation is before a mock Supreme Court.
CMR 3251. Free Speech on Trial: Communication Perspectives on Landmark Supreme Court Decisions
Analysis and evaluation of Supreme Court opinions establishing the contours of First Amendment protection for freedom of speech. Particular attention is devoted to the nature of “communication” revealed by the decisions studied.
PHIL 2101. Introduction to Symbolic Logic
(Strongly recommended for the LSAT!)
An introduction to formal or deductive logic, including basic concepts of logical argumentation; Aristotelian logic; and symbolic translations, truth tables, and theory of deduction. Samples from political speeches, philosophical essays as well as original LSAT questions are analyzed.
PHIL 2111. Introductory Ethics
An introduction to philosophical accounts of what makes right acts right and wrong acts wrong, issues involving the concept of goodness, and arguments or debates about moral responsibility.
PHIL 2112. Professional Ethics
A critical examination of moral issues that arise in a person’s professional life. Possible topics include affirmative action, autonomy in the workplace, ethical issues in advertising, corporate responsibility, coercive wage offers, distributive justice, and sexual harassment. Issues concerning race, gender, and women are included in selected modules.
MGMT 2101. Principles of Accounting I
Especially Recommended for Small Firm Lawyers
An introductory course in accounting principles and practices. The students develop an understanding of both the conceptual and procedural framework of the accounting processes. Emphasis is placed on the preparation and communication of accounting information and the financial statements for a proprietorship.