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Pre-Law Concentration

Students who wish to major in history and prepare for law school or prestigious J.D.-Ph.D. programs can opt for a pre-law concentration.

Much of the work done by American legal professionals is a form of legal history. Whether interpreting statutes, reading law from court opinions, or divining meaning from the U.S. Constitution, lawyers and judges must continually read (and write) the law’s history in order to make sense of it. Our most contentious constitutional disputes—from school desegregation to the separation of church and state to the abortion controversy—turn on competing historical interpretations of key constitutional provisions. Our difficult social and political problems today have more than just a legal component—they are coiled with law in a braid that extends hundreds of years into our past.

Globally, law is becoming an increasingly important factor in how cultures, societies, and states interact with each other. The global dialogue on human rights—a dialogue conducted within the context of international trade, capital flows, and tense diplomacy—raises pivotal questions not just on what those rights are but how such rights can be implemented and enforced. Understanding how different legal traditions have defined and understood rights, and how they continue to do so, is pivotal to understanding our world history.

The History Department’s pre-law concentration equips students with the analytical tools necessary to be successful in law school and beyond. Students will emerge with the skills necessary to read legal documents in their proper contexts and with an understanding of the origins of the world’s major legal systems. Most importantly, we will not neglect the human subject of legal studies. We mean to study not only black letter law but also how people have made, and lived under, the rule of law.

Please follow the links at right for further information, please explore the links at right for information on designing your pre-law concentration and applying to law school.

To speak with someone about the pre-law concentration, you may contact Dr. Robert Baker.

Program Requirements

Undergraduates who wish to complete the pre-law concentration in history must meet all the requirements for the history major, which includes History 3000, History 4990, and 30 hours of upper division classes. The courses that undergraduates select to fulfill major, core, and elective requirements must include the following:

Area F: Courses Appropriate to the Major

For the Pre-Law Concentration, this area has the same requirements as for the history major. The following courses are recommended for the pre-law concentration:

     Anth 2020 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
     Econ 2105 Principles of Macroeconomics
     Econ 2106 Principles of Microeconomics
     Engl 2130 American Literature
     Phil 2010 Great Questions of Philosophy

Area G: Major Courses (30)

Unless otherwise specified, Hist 1111, 1112, and 2110 are prerequisites for all advanced course work in history. History majors may complete no more than eight hours of 3000/4000-level history courses before completing History 3000. A minimum total of 30 hours must be taken from courses at the 3000-4000 level, and must include courses as noted from each of the following:

1.Required Courses to fulfill CTW requirement (8)

  • Hist 3000 Introduction to Historical Studies-CTW (4) (should be taken first among upper-division courses)
  • Hist 4990 Historical Research-CTW (4) (Prerequisite: Hist 3000 and at least four other upper-division courses, including at least two 4000-level classes.)

2.U.S. History (one course)

3.European History (one course)

4.African, Asian, Latin American, or Middle Eastern History (one course)

5.Pre-Law Concentration (two courses from list below):

     Hist 4460 Bills of Rights
     Hist 4470 US Legal and Constitutional History
     Hist 4532 Crime & Law, Early Mod. Europe
     Hist 4540 Britain, Ireland, and the British Atlantic 1485-1689
     Hist 4550 Britain, Ireland, and the British Atlantic since 1689
     Hist 4630 Modern European Intellectual History I
     Hist 4635 Modern European Intellectual History II

When deciding on your upper-level history courses, pre-law students should consider taking at least 8 hours of writing intensive courses beyond those required to fulfill CTW requirements in section 1 above. The list below is of current WAC/CTW-approved courses, but the list is subject to change as new courses are added every year.

     Hist 3450 History of African Americans in Georgia
     Hist 3620 Atlantic World History
     Hist 4225 United States in the 1960s
     Hist 4460 Bills of Rights (unless used to fulfill Area G1)
     Hist 4490 Civil War and Reconstruction
     Hist 4540 Atlantic World History
     Hist 4580 Modern Germany
     Hist 4620 Europe: Culture and Ideas
     Hist 4800 History of South Asia to 1757
     Hist 4860 Empires

Area H: Minor and Additional Courses

History majors must select a minor consisting of at least 15 hours in one department other than history, including at least nine hours at the 3000 level or above. A list of courses recommended for the pre-law concentration student is provided at right in the related links section.

N02-26_03, Tracy O'Neal Photographic Collection, 1923-1975, Photographic Collection. Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library