Options for Pre-Law

Classics and Letters

Since legal professionals confront all aspects of the human condition in their work—from birth to death and everything in between—it makes sense for them to have a strong background in the humanities, so that they can draw on the collective wisdom of those who have pondered and struggled with what it means to be human.

Built on the core disciplines of the humanities—history, literature, philosophy, and language—majors in Classics and Letters are ideal for developing the abilities that future legal professionals will need: problem solving, critical reading, persuasive writing, oral communication and listening, general research, and task organization and management.

Both programs offer an ideal curriculum for pre-law education, with courses on history, language, literature, and philosophy that help students develop their analytical and problem-solving skills, hone their critical reading abilities, and perfect their writing skills. These courses also present students with many opportunities for expanding their general research expertise.

Moreover, the language requirements for both programs refine students’ oral communication and listening abilities and help them develop an understanding and appreciation for cultural diversity.

Students who study Latin will also reap the rewards of a deep knowledge of legal terms such as stare decisis, habeas corpus, prima facie, res ipsa loquitur, sub poena, and many others.

Although the American Bar Association does not endorse any one major as the best preparation for law school, the Pre-Law Committee of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar notes that the traditional preparatory curriculum lies in history, literature, and philosophy.

The ABA’s Pre-Law Committee also urges students to consider a major that will give them a “broad understanding of history,” “a fundamental understanding of political thought,” “basic mathematical and financial skills,” “basic understanding of human behavior and social interaction,” and “an understanding of diverse cultures within and beyond the United States.” (Source: “Preparing for Law School) More than any other major at OU, the Classics and Letters majors give students the flexibility to develop this kind of general knowledge.

Constitutional Studies

The Institute for the American Constitutional Heritage, or IACH, is an inter-disciplinary center for the study of American constitutionalism. The notion of a constitutional heritage reflects the Institute’s broad approach to the Constitution in all its aspects: its philosophical underpinnings, its historical context, its legal substance, and its contemporary relevance. The IACH is committed to ensuring that the University of Oklahoma is a place where students can study the ancient roots of law, liberty, and self-governance, the development of liberal and republican thought in the modern world, the historical and ideological background of the American founding, the development of civil rights in American history, and the relevance of the Constitution to contemporary debates over justice and freedom. Constitutional Studies is an ideal option for students considering pre-law.