The 18-credit minor in Pre-Law Studies can be completed by students in almost any major. It is recommended for all students interested in going to law school after graduating from Russell Sage College. It would also be helpful for students who are interested in a law-related career after college, such as jobs in government or in the courts.
The American Bar Association’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has published a statement on preparation for legal education which has guided the formulation of this minor. According to the ABA, no specific major is or should be required for admission to law schools in the United States. However, undergraduate coursework is recommended that develops skills that can help students prepare for the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) and that builds a skills and knowledge base that can help students once they reach law school. The skills referred to by the ABA include: analysis and problem solving; critical reading; writing; oral communication; listening; and, legal research. The knowledge base includes: contemporary political systems; history, political theory; ethics and theories of justice; economics; and human behavior.
This minor requires two classes as its core, which meet the writing and legal research skills base recommended by the ABA. The remaining skills and knowledge may be acquired by the other four classes counting toward the minor, which should be different courses in various disciplines to balance the student’s major coursework. For example, a math major with a Pre-Law Studies minor will probably need a political systems course, while a political science major may need a human behavior course.
Requirements for Minor in Pre-Law Studies
POL 205 Research in Law and Government : 3 Credits
ENG 233 Writing As Persuasion : 3 Credits
Select one of the following writing intensive courses: 3 Credits
POL 344 Constitutional Interpretation
POL 346 Presidential Speeches
Select three additional Pre-Law courses with advisement from your Pre-Law minor advisor*: 9 Credits
Total credits in Pre-Law Studies Minor: 18
Minors may be declared any time before the completion of the drop/add period in the first term of the senior year or before completion of 87 credit hours, whichever comes later.
Successful completion of at least a one course in the minor is a prerequisite to such declaration.
Only two of the required minor courses may also count toward major or another minor’s requirements. A minimum of half the required credits for the minor must be completed at Sage.
GPA in Minor required (minimum): 2.200 or higher
* Courses chosen must include work so that at least nine credits of the minor are taken outside of your major discipline.
Accelerated B.A./J.D. Program with Albany Law School
Russell Sage College and Albany Law School have partnered to offer a 3+3 Accelerated Law School program for entering first-year students and rising sophomore students who meet certain requirements. Selected students start at Albany Law School after their junior year at Russell Sage College. They receive a bachelor’s degree from Russell Sage College at the end of their first year at Albany Law School, spend the normal three years there, then receive a juris doctorate (J.D.) law degree.
Who should apply to the six-year program? Student must be superior prospects to qualify for this program. The admission committees at both Russell Sage College and Albany Law School use grade point average, class rank, SAT scores, and an essay or writing sample as criteria for admission. Russell Sage College and Albany Law School consider students with 1250 or above on the SAT and rank in the upper 10% of high school graduating class.
Students may seek admission to the accelerated law program after completion of their first year at college. In this case, students must have maintained an excellent GPA during their first year of college level study in addition to the SAT and class rank requirements above. The standards for admission to the 3+3 Program are higher than for ordinary admission; failure to be accepted into this extremely competitive program does not mean that you should not plan to enter Russell Sage College with a plan to attend law school.
How do you apply? Entering first-year students should tell the admissions counselor with whom they speak that they wish to apply to the 3+3 accelerated law program with Albany Law School. The admissions counselors will screen the admissions material and, if appropriate, send them to Albany Law School for a final decision.
What do you need to do to stay in the program? Students in the Accelerated Law program must choose a major that, along with general education courses, can be completed in three years at Sage. The Pre-Law Advisor can help you select a major that works for the program. Students accepted into the 3+3 program must earn a cumulative GPA of at least 3.300 during the three years of undergraduate study at Russell Sage College. In addition, students must take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and achieve a score no lower than the median LSAT score for the prior year’s entering class at Albany Law School.