Program Details

At Carroll College, our mission is to provide excellent pre-law advising. This program is centered in the Department of Political Science. There, faculty with experience directing students to law school and a consistent record of placing students in law schools will advise students interested in law. Carroll specifically partners with University of Montana School of Law and Gonzaga University School of Law

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About the Program

In August 2019, Carroll College announced a partnership with the University of Montana School of Law, creating a pathway from Carroll College to UM Law. This cuts the time it takes to earn a Juris Doctor. Students can meet most requirements for common pre-law majors in three years, move on to UM, and then take credit for their first year in law school to finish their Carroll BA. Learn more about the Carroll/UM partnership

In July 2022, Carroll College announced a partnership with Gonzaga University School of Law, creating an accelerated pathway from Carroll College to Gonzaga Law School. Students participating in the program attend Carroll College for three years and at the conclusion of their junior year and upon successful application, matriculate to Gonzaga’s School of Law to begin their J.D. The 30 credits earned during their first year of law school will transfer to complete their undergraduate degree requirements, enabling them to obtain their baccalaureate degree upon passing their first year of law school. Learn more about the Carroll/Gonzaga partnership

Victoria Nickol

My time at Carroll prepared me for my career in the law in all the expected ways: the Honors Scholars Program immersed me in challenging material and demanded excellent work product; the Political Science Department pushed me to think critically and analytically, particularly about the role of institutions and individuals within society; and the English Department sharpened my writing and molded me into a discerning reader. I am incredibly grateful for the friendships, lessons, and opportunities I’ve enjoyed as a result of my time at Carroll.

Victoria Nickol Class of 2016, 2023-2024 United States Supreme Court Fellow

At Carroll College, our mission is to provide excellent pre-law advising. This program is centered in the Department of Political Science.  There, faculty with experience directing students to law school and a consistent record of placing students in law schools will advise students interested in law.

No! A common misconception is that pre-law candidates must study political science, but this is not true. Instead, law schools are looking for strong students who have demonstrated an ability to read, write, and think critically: for example, national statistics show that biology, history, and English majors gain acceptance into at least one law school at rates comparable to—or exceeding—that of political science students. The pre-law advisor at Carroll will advise students of any major how to apply to and prepare for law school.

These are new options to complete your BA and JD more quickly. You would complete most requirements for a major in a field such as Political Science, Business, or English over three years. You then either apply to UM or Gonzaga in your junior year. If accepted, you would use the classes from your first year in law school to complete the Carroll BA. To do this, you need to be sure you want a career in law by the end of your first year at Carroll at the latest. If interested, you should take the pre-law advising class (PO 201) in the spring of your sophomore year and work with Carroll's pre-law advisor.

No. Carroll College does not offer a "pre-law" major, partly because law schools will not admit students who major in pre-law. Indeed, you ought to be very skeptical of any four-year institution that offers such a major. The pre-law major exists at two-year institutions, but it typically prepares students for law enforcement careers rather than law school.  

Not necessarily. While law schools seek candidates with broad interests and training, a second major or a minor is not required.

Not necessarily. Although certain courses might be very helpful to law school students, law schools generally have no prerequisites. Instead, they look for students who have done well in difficult courses and have demonstrated that they possess the thinking and communication skills that a career in law requires.  Nonetheless, we recommend several courses for students who wish to gain a firmer grounding in law before attending law school. For a full list of required and recommended courses, visit our Academic Catalog.

During your junior year (or sophomore for the 3+3 program). At the start of your college education you should just pursue your academic interests and do well in your courses. You will have plenty of time to weigh the merits of attending law school.

Yes, probably. Your LSAT score can determine decisively where you attend law school. While it is possible to achieve a high LSAT score with independent study, we recommend students take one of these courses.

There are at least four reasons:

  1. First-Rate Advising: Carroll College’s pre-law center offers personalized advising to students interested in legal careers.  We have an excellent record of helping students gain admission to regional law schools and have placed exceptional students in nationally recognized, highly selective programs.
  2. Excellent Courses: in addition to the demanding and rewarding courses of your chosen major, the Department of Political Science offers courses that provide a foundation in law (PO 104, PO 201, PO 210, PO 216), simulate the educational experience of law school (PO 210), and prepare students for the LSAT (PO 201, PHIL 113, ENWR 305).
  3. Practical Experience: Pre-law at Carroll affords students the opportunity to gain experience in the legal profession before they ever go to law school.  Carroll's legal internship program (PO 417) allows students to assist lawyers in private practice, in businesses or in government in the capital region while receiving academic credit.
  4. Accelerated Degree Programs: Carroll's 3+3 partnerships with the University of Montana School of Law and Gonzaga University School of Law provide pathways for students to obtain both their BA and JD in less time and at lower costs than the traditional seven-year cycle.

Any student with a strong academic record and demonstrated ability to read, write, and think critically can go to law school, regardless of major.

Courtroom Pre-Law


Of all the skills required in law school, good writing skills are the most important. The Law School Admissions Council suggests that “Fundamental writing skills…must be acquired and refined before you enter law school” (2009).  Faculty at Carroll College see the cultivation of strong writing skills among our primary educational goals.