Klarissa Jeiel: Where Law Meets Design

What is the Most Common Major for Law Students?

If you want to go to law school, you might be wondering, "What is the Most Common Major for Law Students?" Read this article from a law graduate to find out!


If you’re in high school and you’re interested in going to law school to become a lawyer, you might be wondering: What’s the most common major for law students? This article will go over the most common majors that law students take for their undergraduate or bachelor studies. But before we get into that, you should know that there’s no specific major that you’re required to take to get accepted into law school as long as you graduate with a bachelor’s degree. In fact, law schools welcome students from a diverse range of academic backgrounds. What matters more is your GPA so if you’re passionate about music or biology or whatever, go for it. That said, if you need ideas for what to study, here are some of the majors that many law students tend to graduate with, and how they can benefit you in a career in law.

Political Science

Most of my friends, and actually, most people I know in law school graduated with a degree in political science. I, myself, majored in political science. And it’s not surprising. The study of politics and government are deeply intertwined with the law so most students who graduate with a political science degree naturally gravitate towards law school. And those who know from the get-go that they want to become a lawyer specifically choose to major in political science because it serves as a good transition into law school. As a political science major, you will learn about public policy, democracy, the different levels of government, the court system, etc. These are all valuable topics to know as you pursue a career in law. On top of that, you will be asked to think critically, articulate arguments, write research papers, and participate in speech and debate to develop your public speaking skills. In law school, when you’re deep into reading a case, writing a factum, or preparing for a competitive moot, all of these skills that you learn in undergrad as a political science major will come in handy. This is why political science is a common choice of major for law students.


Philosophy is another common major for law students and a great option too. I personally know quite a few people who majored in philosophy and did really well in law school and especially the LSAT. If you don’t know, the LSAT or Law School Admission Test is the exam that students have to take to get accepted into law school. It’s designed to test your logical and analytical reasoning and reading comprehension skills. Because philosophy majors learn these skills and more in their undergraduate program, they tend to do really well in the LSAT and beyond that, in law school where they are required to think logically, analyze complex legal issues, question assumptions, construct legal arguments, and consider ethical dilemmas. The last requirement, in particular, gives philosophy students an advantage since they have been trained to grapple with questions of right and wrong, good and evil and complex ethical issues through courses in ethics, morality, justice, society, the nature of law, etc.


Many law students have a bachelor’s degree in English and not unlike Political Science, it’s not surprising why. After all, the law heavily relies on words and can even be considered a language in itself. In law school, students have to read hundreds of pages of textbooks a day and be able to understand dense and complex legal texts (this is why reading comprehension is one of the skills that the LSAT tests for). So English majors who learn how to read long novels, find underlying themes and meanings behind poems, and analyze and interpret words and phrases generally are often very successful when it comes to the reading and writing portions of law school. From reading legalese in case decisions to interpreting provisions in a statute and writing compelling arguments in a factum, English majors are very good at taking the skills they’ve learned in undergrad and applying it to law school.


Like Political Science and English, History is a solid choice for law school and a lot of undergraduate students major in it. As a History major, you will learn about important events and civilizations in the past. This will give you a good understanding of different societies and cultures which can be an asset if you’re thinking of joining the legal profession. After all, the legal profession is all about dealing with people of different backgrounds from all walks of life that require the ability to empathize and understand diverse perspectives. To add to that, a degree in History teaches you to analyze past events, interpret primary sources, draw connections among ideas, and write long papers…a skillset that’s very helpful for legal research and writing.


Business is a common major for law students because it provides an advantage, especially for those wanting to practice corporate law. Learning about the ins and outs of the business world and gaining skills like how to do sales and marketing, manage finances, communicate effectively, do a cost-benefit analysis, examine trends, and more in your undergraduate studies makes you an attractive investment for many law firms. Plus, what most people don’t know and what law school doesn’t teach you is that law is as much a business as it is the practice of law. Once you start practicing law, you will hear the phrase “the business of law” all the time and then you’ll realize that you don’t just need to know the law, you also need to know the business side of it i.e. bringing in clients, retainers, client management and retention, billable targets and receipts, etc. No matter what area of law you practice, you can’t escape the business of law so having a degree in business is a valuable asset.


Economics is another classic choice for law school so many students major in it for their bachelor’s degree. Economics is the study of the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services in a society. As an economic major, you will learn about resource allocation, supply and demand, competition, price controls, public policy, and human behaviour, among other things. Some of these concepts and skills are applicable in law school. For example, understanding how entities like individuals and businesses make choices to allocate scarce resources can be helpful in finding creative solutions during a negotiation. More specifically, having a solid understanding of concepts such as competition and price controls will give you a competitive edge in certain areas of law e.g. anti-trust law. Additionally, economics involves a great deal of math and statistics, giving economics majors transferable skills like critical thinking, problem-solving and data analysis that can be used in law school and afterward.


Earlier, I mentioned that law is as much a business as it is the practice of law. This is also true for people. Law is about people. With a psychology degree, you will better understand the underlying motivations that drive people to do the things they do. This understanding will not only help you empathize, connect, and build meaningful relationships with clients and other members of the legal profession but it will also help you to be a better advocate. These are particularly important skills to have as a lawyer, especially if you plan to practice in areas like family law and immigration law where the focus is on people, often during a time of high stress and high emotions in their lives. A lot of law students choose to major in psychology for their undergraduate degree for this reason and also because psychology majors tend to do research, data analysis, evidence evaluation, persuasive writing, logical reasoning, etc. as part of their coursework which all translate well to law school.

Criminal Justice

Some majors can help you succeed in specific areas of law (like business for corporate law). Criminal Justice is another great example of this. Criminal Justice is the study of the criminal justice system i.e. the system that we have in place to deal with criminal offenders. It involves law enforcement, lawyers, the Crown, the courts, etc. As a criminal justice major, you will learn about the inner workings of the criminal justice system, including its strengths and flaws. You will gain an understanding of public policy, the division of power among the different levels of government, due process, and concepts such as beyond a reasonable doubt, restorative justice, and public safety. For this reason, criminal justice is a common major for law students who want to pursue a career in criminal law. Criminal law is a complex area of law and it’s often high stakes because it involves people’s lives and freedom. This is why many law firms that practice criminal law specialize in criminal law. They don’t do any other area of law. So having a foundational understanding of the justice system as a criminal justice major can be a huge advantage coming into law school if you plan on practicing as a criminal lawyer in the future.


As you can see, there are so many undergraduate majors to choose from if you’re an aspiring lawyer wanting to get into law school. From political science, philosophy, english, history, business, economics, psychology, criminal justice and many more. Each of these disciplines brings its own unique perspective and skillset to the table, and ultimately, it’s up to you to choose the path that speaks to you. But just as a final reminder, there is no specific major requirement for law school so choose something that interests and inspires you. It doesn’t have to be one of the most common majors for law students. Take the road less traveled, do music or film or even culinary arts (just make sure you come out with a bachelor’s degree)! You’re more likely to do well if you choose a major that you’re passionate about 🙂