Pre-Law in History

WIU's Pre-Law History degree, the only one of its kind offered by a public university or college in Illinois, provides ideal preparation for law school and a successful career as an attorney. The skills you hone as a Pre-law major in History will serve you well when you take the LSAT , while you are in law school , and during your career in the field of law. As a Pre-law History major, you develop the ability to conduct thorough and meticulous research, to argue persuasively using verified and corroborated evidence to support your arguments, and to write cogently and convincingly. These are precisely the skills demanded of attorneys. In addition, you will gain a solid and valuable understanding of the origins and evolution of Anglo-American legal traditions.

WIU's Pre-Law History major consists of:

  • 5-course History Core:
    • Hist 105 and 106 (U.S. History)
    • Hist 115 and 116 (World History)
    • Hist 201 (Writing Seminar on Historical Methods)
  • CAS General Education curriculum,including:
    • Poli Sci 122, American Government & Politics
    • Philos 205, Philosophy, Law, and Society
  • 4 of the following upper-division History courses dealing with various aspects of legal and constitutional history:
    • Hist 303, American Legal History
    • Hist 310, Crime, Policing and Punishment
    • Hist 333, Britain to 1688
    • Hist 351, American Revolution and the New Nation
    • Hist 426, The Enlightenment
  • 3 additional History courses:
    • Hist 491, Senior Research Seminar
    • at least one additional upper-division History course
    • at least one course in Asian, Middle Eastern, or Latin American history
  • 2 Directed Electives in other disciplines,chosen from:
    • Poli Sci 226, Law and Society
    • Poli Sci 319, Judiciary
    • Poli Sci 410 or 411, Constitutional Law
    • Poli Sci 448, The Supreme Court
    • Philos 420, Philosophy of Law
    • Sociology 355, Criminology
    • English 281, Writing and Social Action
  • Any approved minor, chosen in consultation with History's Undergraduate Advisor. Possibilities include:
    • Honors Pre-Law minor
    • Interdisciplinary minor in Law and Society
    • Public Administration minor
    • Legal Studies minor
  • A major GPA of at least 3.0 is required for graduation with this degree. Those whose major GPA falls below 3.0 at the time of graduation will not have the "Pre-Law" option designated on their transcript and will graduate with the general History B.A.

Our Department's Undergraduate Advisor, Ellen Poulter , is eager to answer any questions you may have about crafting a Pre-Law History major that will prepare you to succeed on the LSAT and in law school.

Why do Pre-Law in History?

  • According to Law School Admissions Council data on law school admissions, 85 percent of History majors applying to law schools were admitted each academic year between 2013-2014 and 2015-2016.
  • History majors are also clearly poised for success on the LSAT. The Law School Admissions Council data found that History majors achieved a mean score of 156 on the LSAT each year between the 2005-2006 and 2015-2016 academic years.

The website of the Law School Admission Council , which administers the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), has helpful information on "Preparing for Law School" for prospective law school students.

Western's Malpass Library contains more than one million cataloged volumes, more than 3,000 current journal subscriptions, and access to thousands of online databases, including Nexis Uni and the Congressional Serial Set.  Nexis Uni contains all of the federal and state Court Reporters, Shepard's Citations, and more than 600 law review journals. The U.S. Congressional Serial Set includes all congressional reports and other publications from 1817 to 1980.

The Library also provides a wealth of legal references in print, including the Illinois Compiled Statutes Annotated, U.S. Code Annotated, Illinois Digest, Northeast Reporter, Illinois Legal Forms, all of the Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Information treatises, and many other treatises on a variety of legal topics.  For more information, see the Library's Guide to Legal Resources at WIU

In addition, the Library provides computer access to legal and historical resources worldwide, including 800 other Illinois libraries with more than 22 million volumes. Moreover, the Library’s Interlibrary Loan Program brings materials from across the state and nation to WIU students within a day or two.