The Department of Political Science, which runs UMBC’s pre-law program, offers strong preparation for students interested in law school or employment in law-related areas which do not require law school (e.g., regulatory agencies, judicial administrations, etc.). Courses on legal subjects may also be useful to political science students who have other goals and to students in history, economics, American studies, African-American studies and other majors. The curriculum offers a rich variety of courses designed to help students understand the case method approach of legal interpretation, the politics and procedures of the judicial system, and the relationship of the courts in the creation of public policy. These courses are a good test of whether law school and a legal career are the right choice for the student, and they provide the basis for success if that choice is taken. While there are essential skills and information that pre-law students can gain from the study of Economics, English, History and Sociology in particular, Political Science studies political institutions that make, interpret, and enforce the law.
The program offers students the opportunity to take an internship with courts, law enforcement agencies, private law firms, and other legal institutions. These internships, which are taken for credit full-time in the Winter session and half-time in the spring, provide a realistic view of legal professions and often lead to summer jobs and law school recommendations.
The department offers a minor in Law and Justice to undergraduates of all majors. The minor permits students to focus on the political and cultural contexts, procedures and outcomes of the American judicial system. It consists of three core courses and four electives for a total of 21 credits. For those not interested in the minor, there are several courses that are particularly appropriate for pre-law students. Some of them are:
POLI 220 The U.S. Constitution
POLI 230 Introduction to Constitutional Law
POLI 233 Law and Legal System
POLI 334 Judicial Process
POLI 338 Women and Law
POLI 352 Administrative Law
POLI 435 Legal Reasoning
POLI 438 Legal Internship
There are many other courses that are recommended for pre-law students. Please check the catalog and the semester class schedules for complete details.
The department has pre-law advisors, each with a different training and perspective and all dedicated to helping students find the right career focus and to succeed under rigorous competition. The Department maintains a Pre-Law Advising Office in PUP 357, the resources of which are available to all UMBC students and through which appointments with pre-law faculty advisors may be scheduled. The following are the faculty advisors:
Dr. Jeffrey Davis