Major code BA5234
College of Arts and Sciences
Athens, OH 45701
Beth Koonce, contact person
Although any major in English literature or rhetoric is an excellent preparation for law school, the English – Prelaw major brings together the most relevant skills and contexts for a legal career. A rigorous survey of Anglo-American literary history will give you familiarity with the historical culture and linguistic environment in which our laws were formed; the study of rhetoric offers you ways to understand how language changes our perceptions and makes things happen; and the analytic demands and extensive writing practice of the English Department’s small-enrollment courses will sharpen essential intellectual tools. The major is also flexible enough to match your other interests: you can fulfill up to 9 of the required hours in the major with creative writing workshops, courses in rhetoric or visual texts, or apprenticeship or internship experiences. Like all majors in the English Department, the English – Prelaw major includes the English Core to provide a solid foundation in literary genres and research.
Enrollment in an English major entails no requirements beyond University admission requirements.
Change of Program Policy
For students currently enrolled at Ohio University, transferring into an English major requires a 2.0 GPA. Students choosing to transfer into the English – Prelaw major should contact the director of undergraduate studies in the English department for assistance. Students who wish to add an English major in addition to another major program should seek assistance from the director of undergraduate studies; students with a second major outside the College of Arts and Sciences will be responsible for meeting the degree requirements of both the English – Prelaw major and the College of Arts and Sciences.
External Transfer Admission
For students currently enrolled at institutions other than Ohio University, transferring into the English – Prelaw major entails no requirements beyond University admission requirements. Students should contact the director of undergraduate studies in the English Department for assistance.
Opportunities Upon Graduation
Graduates of English – Prelaw usually go to law school, both in-state and around the nation. Your opportunities are not, however, limited to that. With strong skills in critical analysis as well as writing and solid training in literary history, English – Prelaw graduates also have the same variety of potential employment or graduate school tracks that other English program graduates enjoy (see English - Literature & Writing Major (B.A 5230).
Preparation for Law: If you plan to enter law school, you should choose an undergraduate major that reflects your true academic interests as well as providing intellectual foundations for legal training. The practice of law draws on a number of different disciplinary strengths, which means that you should view the whole of your liberal arts coursework as part of your preparation. English is, however, one of the most common undergraduate majors for law students, both because many people who are drawn to law are drawn to the analogous kinds of thinking and writing required in English and because it develops skills that every lawyer needs. Students interested in pursuing law as a career would be well advised to supplement their English coursework with classes that reinforce the cognitive skills for the LSAT and for legal work, such as logic and ethics. Classes in American history, political science, economics, and sociology provide background for understanding the American legal system, while classes and practice in speech and oral communication will help prepare you for the practice of law.
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