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College of Arts & Sciences
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Pre-Law Minor

Departments - A student may satisfy the Pre-Law minor by choosing courses from among the following departments:

Accounting, Anthropology, Applied Communication Studies, Construction (Engineering), Economics, English Language & Literature, Environmental Science

Historical Studies, Mass Communications, Mathematics & Statistics, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology & Criminal Justice Studies, Theater & Dance

With choices of courses in so many departments, a student may have difficulty deciding which courses to take.  In Spring 2018, twenty-six of our graduates answered a survey regarding the types of courses that best prepared them for law school in general, and then questions about each specific course.  There is something of a disconnect which will be discussed at the end.  In general, graduates felt that courses that developed critical thinking and writing skills were the most important for success in law school.  The graduates were asked to rank the different areas in importance and responded as follows:

                  1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5h 6th 7th score
critical thinking  13   3   7   2  1   0   0   155
writing            10   7   4   4  1   0   0   151
research skills     1   7   7   7  6   1   0   132
listening           1   4   3   7  5   5   1   100
speaking            0   1   4   5  9   5   2    85
case briefing       1   4   1   3  3   8   6    79
law content         0   0   0   1  1   7  17    38

This supports the information used to develop the minor and the structure we created.  You can see very strong opinions on the importance of courses that develop critical thinking and writing.

However, this is how they rated specific courses:

Course Very Useful Somewhat Useful Unuseful Responses
ACCT 200 - Introduction to Principles of   Accounting 12.50% 75.00% 12.50% 8
ACCT 340 - Business Law for Accountants 0.00% 0.00% 100.00% 1
ACS 200 - Advanced Public Speaking 33.33% 66.67% 0.00% 3
ACS 204 - Oral Argumentation 33.33% 33.33% 33.33% 3
ACS 300 - Communication in Interviewing 66.67% 33.33% 0.00% 3
ACS 304 - Conflict Management &   Communication 100.00% 0.00% 0.00% 1
ACS 305 - Listening 0.00% 100.00% 0.00% 1
ACS 430 - Persuasion & Social   Influence 0.00% 100.00% 0.00% 1
ANTH 350 - Applied Anthropology 100.00% 0.00% 0.00% 1
ANTH 366 - Biology of Human Behavior 100.00% 0.00% 0.00% 1
ANTH 369 - Introduction to Forensic   Anthropology 100.00% 0.00% 0.00% 1
CJ 206 - Principles of Criminal Law 25.00% 75.00% 0.00% 4
CJ 207 - Criminal Procedure 100.00% 0.00% 0.00% 1
CJ 348 - Law & Society 16.67% 50.00% 33.33% 6
CJ 410 - Judicial Process 100.00% 0.00% 0.00% 4
CJ 465 - Theories of a Just Society 100.00% 0.00% 0.00% 1
CJ 398 - Legal Internship 100.00% 0.00% 0.00% 2
ECON 111 - Principles of Macroeconomics 11.11% 55.56% 33.33% 9
ECON 112 - Principles of Microeconomics 11.11% 55.56% 33.33% 9
ECON 331 - Labor Economics 50.00% 50.00% 0.00% 2
ENG 201 - Intermediate Composition 0.00% 100.00% 0.00% 1
ENG 490 - Advanced Composition 0.00% 100.00% 0.00% 1
ENG 491 - Technical & Business   Writing 100.00% 0.00% 0.00% 1
HIST 201 - US History & Constitution 75.00% 0.00% 25.00% 4
MATH 223 - Logic & Mathematical   Reasoning 100.00% 0.00% 0.00% 1
MS 250 - Mathematics Methods for Business   Analysis 0.00% 50.00% 50.00% 2
MS 251 - Statistical Analysis for Business Decisions 33.33% 33.33% 33.33% 6
PHIL 213 - Introduction to Deductive   Logic 50.00% 50.00% 0.00% 2
PHIL 320 - Ethics 50.00% 33.33% 16.67% 6
PHIL 321 - Ethics in the Medical   Community 0.00% 0.00% 100.00% 1
PHIL 348 - Law & Society 50.00% 0.00% 50.00% 2
PHIL 441 - Modern Political Theory 50.00% 0.00% 50.00% 2
PHIL 498 - Legal Theory 0.00% 0.00% 100.00% 1
POLS 292 - Legal Research, Analysis,   & Writing 50.00% 50.00% 0.00% 2
POLS 300 - Introduction to Political   Analysis 10.00% 50.00% 40.00% 10
POLS 390 - The Judicial System 100.00% 0.00% 0.00% 9
POLS 391 - Philosophy of Law 100.00% 0.00% 0.00% 1
POLS 392 - Law & Society 0.00% 60.00% 40.00% 5
POLS 410 - Legal Internship 100.00% 0.00% 0.00% 6
POLS 424 - Administrative Law 0.00% 100.00% 0.00% 1
POLS 484 - Classical Political Theory 0.00% 100.00% 0.00% 1
POLS 495 - Con Law: Powers of Goverment 83.33% 16.67% 0.00% 6
POLS 496 - Con Law: Civil Rights &   Civil Liberties 80.00% 20.00% 0.00% 5
POLS 497 - Environmental Law 0.00% 100.00% 0.00% 1
PSYC 206 - Social Psychology 50.00% 0.00% 50.00% 2
PSCY 208 - Cognitive Psychology 100.00% 0.00% 0.00% 1
PSYC 320 - Intro to Industrial &   Organizational Psychology 50.00% 50.00% 0.00% 2
PSYC 365 - Group Dynamics &   Individual Behavior 100.00% 0.00% 0.00% 1
PSYC 431 - Psychopathology 100.00% 0.00% 0.00% 1
STAT 107 - Concepts of Statistics 66.67% 33.33% 0.00% 3
STAT 244 - Statistics 42.86% 14.29% 42.86% 7

Only 51 of the 70+ courses available in the minor are listed above because the students who responded did not take some of the courses.  Also, only three of the students who responded pursued a pre-law minor -- for many the minor did not exist when they enrolled at SIUE. 

Some of the oddities/inconsistencies: First, writing skills are ranked as very important to being successful in law school, yet there are only three responses related to English courses.  The most likely answer for this is that many students who went to law school either tested out of or got dual credit for their English courses and then did not take additional courses at SIUE.  Given the survey, students that are not highly confident in their writing skills should take those courses included in the minor.  Second, there is an inconsistency with how lowly rated "law content" was for preparing students for law school as compared to the usefulness of the two legal intnernships (CJ 398 and POLS 410), the two judicial process classes (CJ 410 and POLS 390), and the two constitutional law classes (POLS 495 and POLS 496).  The legal internships and judicial process classes are probably considered beneficial because they provide context for the law classes.  An understanding of terminology and the legal process ensure that the first classes in law school are not alien and scaffolding is in place that makes it easier to organize the vast amount of information presented in the first year in law school.  The two constitutional law school classes are not important for the content (those taking the survey pointed out that you will learn that in law school), but for the manner in which they are taught.  Any class conducted in the manner of law school, that requires you prepare for class in a similar manner, and then also has exams that are of a similar form as law school's would probably be rated as useful. Students interested in law school may review the course list and see which classes will prepare you, not for the legal content, but for the style you will experience in law school.  Third, when evaluating the usefulness of these classes, make sure to look at the number of students responding.  The opinion of a single student may not all that helpful.

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