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College of Arts & Sciences

History Prelaw Major (B.A.)

  • Opportunities for undergraduate research with renowned faculty
  • Courses in American, European, African, Asian, Latin American, Southeast Asian, and Middle Eastern history
  • Preparation for law school and legal careers

Faculty Contacts: Dr. Joshua Hill, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Dr. Kevin Uhalde, History Pre-Law Adviser

Prelaw Advising

Admissions Information

Degree Requirements & Sample 4-Year Program

Program Overview

History's emphasis on reading and interpreting evidence, appreciating context, and writing makes it an ideal major for students preparing for law school.

The specific intra- and extra-departmental requirements of the Ohio University history program have been tailored to provide the knowledge base, intellectual rigor, and academic skills necessary to prepare students for law school and a legal career. History prelaw majors benefit from requirements that ensure chronological and geographical breadth and depth of knowledge while allowing for the opportunity to focus on courses especially useful for law school preparation.

Majors must take three introductory courses covering three geographical areas. They will take one course in World History (select from HIST 1320, 1330, 2270, 2460, 2905); one course in European History (select from HIST 1210, 1220, 2300, 2530); and one course in US History (select from HIST 2000 or 2010). Majors are also strongly encouraged to take HIST 2950: Freshman/Sophomore Seminar in the spring semester of the first or second year of study.

At the advanced level, students take a research and writing course (HIST 3111J) and 21 additional semester hours in upper division courses (at or above HIST 3000). They will need to take one course in two of the three geographical areas (U.S., Europe and World) and one course in two of the three chronological areas (pre-modern, early modern, and modern). They also will need to complete two history courses identified within the prelaw track and two extradepartmental requirements, the vast majority of which also meet college of arts and science distribution requirements.

Graduation with a B.A. in history prelaw requires the successful completion of College of Arts & Science requirements, 30 semester hours in history (+ the HIST 3111J course which also meets the University J requirement), and a 2.0 overall minimum G.P.A in the major.

Careers and Graduate School

History Prelaw students have been admitted to the top law programs nationwide and within Ohio.

History Prelaw majors also pursued work as paralegals or in business, education, government, and for non-profit organizations.

Prelaw Advising

Preparing for law school requires careful thought and long-range planning. One of the most important decisions that you must make involves what to major in during your undergraduate years.

You can major in any academic subject and gain admission to law school as long as your coursework indicates that you have acquired the skills and knowledge needed to undergo the rigors of legal study.

However, it is not a coincidence that most law school entering classes contain significant numbers of history majors. Law school admissions committees know that the study of history, if pursued properly, enables students to master the three crucial skills needed to succeed in law school: the ability to write clearly, the ability to interpret complex subjects, and the ability to read efficiently and effectively. In addition, a well-grounded familiarity with history is considered by many law professors to be vital in mastering the complexities of the American legal system and international law. Your chances of gaining admission to law school and your ability to make the transition between undergraduate work and legal study will be greatly assisted by concentrating upon the discipline of history.

The History Prelaw program at Ohio University centers on expert, timely advising from the freshman year through senior year. In your freshman and sophomore years, the departmental adviser helps you select the best set of courses to assist you in preparing for law school. In the junior year, the History Prelaw Adviser helps you plan out a course of action to insure that you are prepared for the LSAT and the law school admission process. In the senior year, the History Prelaw Adviser helps you with the application process and the difficult decisions involving where to apply and ultimately where to attend. The quality of Prelaw Advising in the History Department is well-known at the University, and has prompted prelaw students from a variety of other colleges and programs to become informal advisees. Nevertheless, it is the History Prelaw students who receive advising priority and benefit from four years of assistance.

History Prelaw students in the recent past have been admitted to the following Law Schools:

  • Cornell University
  • Stanford University
  • Yale University
  • University of Michigan
  • Ohio State University
  • Case Western Reserve
  • Duquesne University
  • William and Mary
  • Boston University
  • Tulane University
  • New York University
  • George Washington University
  • University of Cincinnati
  • Capital University
  • University of Akron

Admissions Information

Freshman/First-Year Admission: No requirements beyond University admission requirements.

Change of Program Policy: No selective or limited admission requirements.

Degree Requirements

University-wide Graduation Requirements

To complete this program, students must meet all University-wide graduation requirements.

College-Level Requirements for the College of Arts & Sciences

View the College-Level Require ments for the College of Arts & Sciences.

History Prelaw Hours Requirement

Complete a total of 33 semester credit hours of HIST coursework, including all of the requirements below.

Introductory History Courses

Complete one of the following courses in European History:

  • HIST 1210 - Western Civilization: Antiquity to 1500 | Credit Hours: 3
  • HIST 1220 - Western Civilization: Modernity from 1500 | Credit Hours: 3
  • HIST 2300 - Capitalism and Its Critics | Credit Hours: 3
  • HIST 2530 - Life, Love, and Death in the Medieval Word | Credit Hours: 3

Complete one of the following courses in World History:

  • HIST 1320 - Introduction to World History Before 1750 | Credit Hours: 3
  • HIST 1330 - Introduction to World History Since 1750 | Credit Hours: 3
  • HIST 2270 - Middle East in the World | Credit Hours: 3
  • HIST 2460 - Rise of Modern Asia | Credit Hours: 3
  • HIST 2905 - Technology in World History | Credit Hours 3

Complete one of the following courses in United States History:

  • HIST 2000 - Survey of United States History, 1600-1877 | Credit Hours: 3
  • HIST 2010 - Survey of United States History, 1865-present | Credit Hours: 3

Historical Research and Writing

Complete the following course at the beginning of the junior year:

  • HIST 3111J - Historical Research and Writing | Credit Hours: 3

Chronological History Course Requirement

Courses taken at or above the 3000-level to meet the Chronological History Course requirements will also count toward the elective requirement. Complete one course from each of the three components.

Component 1: Pre-Modern History

Complete one of the Pre-Modern History courses.

Component 2: Early Modern History

Complete one of the Early Modern History courses.

Component 3: Modern History

Complete one of the Modern History courses.

Geographical History Course Requirement

Courses taken above the 3000-level to meet the Geographical History Course requirements also will count toward the elective requirements. Complete one course from two of the three following components.

Component 1: European History

Complete one of the European History courses.

Component 2: United States History

Complete one of the United States History courses.

Component 3: World History

Complete one of the World History courses.

History Electives

Complete a total of 21 hours of history courses at or above 3000. This requirement will be partially satisfied by those courses taken to fulfill the Chronological and Geographical requirements.

Prelaw History Major Intra-departmental Course Requirements

Complete two of the following courses. They may also satisfy the Chronological and Geographical requirements for the major.

  • HIST 3004 - Revolutionary Era | Credit Hours: 3
  • HIST 3008 - Early U.S. Republic | Credit Hours: 3
  • HIST 3060 - American Environmental History | Credit Hours: 3
  • HIST 3070 - Famous Trials in American History | Credit Hours: 3
  • HIST 3081 - The Civil War and its Aftermath | Credit Hours: 3
  • HIST 3090 - American Constitutional History, Part 1: Origins to Reconstruction | Credit Hours: 3
  • HIST 3095 - American Constitutional History, 1880s-Present | Credit Hours: 3
  • HIST 3098 - Famous Trials in British History | Credit Hours: 3
  • HIST 3100 - Emergence of the Modern United States: Progressive Era and Roaring Twenties | Credit Hours: 3
  • HIST 3102 - Age of FDR: The United States during the Great Depression and World War II | Credit Hours: 3
  • HIST 3104 - United States, 1945-Present | Credit Hours: 3
  • HIST 3106 - History of American Conservatism | Credit Hours: 3
  • HIST 3143 - American Social and Cultural History, 1820-1890 | Credit Hours: 3
  • HIST 3144 - US Social History in the 20th century | Credit Hours: 3
  • HIST 3146 - American Ideas, 20th- Century | Credit Hours: 3
  • HIST 3150 - Survey of African American History | Credit Hours: 3
  • HIST 3160 - History of U.S. Involvement in World Affairs, 1776-1898 | Credit Hours: 3
  • HIST 3162 - History of U.S. Involvement in World Affairs, 1898-1945 | Credit Hours: 3
  • HIST 3164 - History of U.S. Involvement in World Affairs, 1945-Present | Credit Hours: 3
  • HIST 3200 - Women in American History Before 1877 | Credit Hours: 3
  • HIST 3201 - Women in American History Since 1877 | Credit Hours: 3
  • HIST 3202 - Women's Health and Medicine in U.S. History | Credit Hours: 3
  • HIST 3220 - 1960s in U.S.: Decade of Controversy | Credit Hours: 3
  • HIST 3270 - Slavery in the Americas | Credit Hours: 3
  • HIST 3291 - Ancient Greece | Credit Hours: 3
  • HIST 3292 - Ancient Rome | Credit Hours: 3
  • HIST 3330 - Oil, the Persian Gulf, and World Power | Credit Hours: 3
  • HIST 3520 - Roman Law & Society | Credit Hours: 3
  • HIST 3533 - Europe in the Middle Ages, 1000-1350 | Credit Hours: 3
  • HIST 3610 - The French Revolution | Credit Hours: 3
  • HIST 3650 - The Problem of Church and State in European History | Credit Hours: 3
  • HIST 3715 - Sex, Crime and Deviance in Europe, 1200-1800 | Credit Hours: 3
  • HIST 3860 - Shakespeare's England, 1450-1603 | Credit Hours: 3
  • HIST 3861 - Revolutionary Britain, 1603-1702 | Credit Hours: 3
  • HIST 3865 - Churchill's Britain | Credit Hours: 3
  • HIST 3869 - The Modern English Constitution | Credit Hours: 3

Prelaw History Major Extra-departmental Requirements

Complete two of the following courses. Most of them will also fulfill your Arts and Sciences breadth requirements.

  • AAS 2250 - History of the African American Worker | Credit Hours: 3
  • AAS 2540 - History of Injustice in the United States | Credit Hours: 3
  • ACCT 1010 - Foundations of Accounting | Credit Hours: 3
  • ACCT 1020 - Decision Making with Accounting | Credit Hours: 3
  • BUSL 2000 - Law and Society | Credit Hours: 3
  • COMS 3602 - Political Rhetoric | Credit Hours: 3
  • ECON 1030 - Principles of Microeconomics | Credit Hours: 3
  • ECON 1040 - Principles of Macroeconomics | Credit Hours: 3
  • ECON 3340 - Economics of Antitrust | Credit Hours: 3
  • ENG 3010 - Shakespeare | Credit Hours: 3
  • ENG 3120 - English Literature: 1500-1660 | Credit Hours: 3
  • ENG 3130 - English Literature: 1660-1800 | Credit Hours: 3
  • ENG 3210 - American Literature to 1865 | Credit Hours: 3
  • ENG 3220 - American Literature: 1865-1918 | Credit Hours: 3
  • GEOG 1200 - Human Geography | Credit Hours: 3
  • GEOG 3460 - Environmental Law | Credit Hours: 3
  • GEOG 3500 - Land Use Planning | Credit Hours: 3
  • GEOG 3530 - Environmental Planning and Assessment | Credit Hours: 3
  • PHIL 1200 - Principles of Reasoning | Credit Hours: 3
  • PHIL 1300 - Introduction to Ethics | Credit Hours: 3
  • PHIL 2400 - Social and Political Philosophy | Credit Hours: 3
  • PHIL 4400 - Contemporary Social Philosophy | Credit Hours: 3
  • POLS 1010 - Politics in the United States | Credit Hours: 3
  • POLS 2200 - The Politics of Law | Credit Hours: 3
  • POLS 4210 - The Politics of Law and Sexuality | Credit Hours: 3
  • POLS 4550 - International Law | Credit Hours: 3
  • PSY 1010 - General Psychology | Credit Hours: 3
  • PSY 1110 - Elementary Statistical Reasoning | Credit Hours: 3
  • SOC 1000 - Introduction to Sociology | Credit Hours: 3
  • SOC 2600 - Criminal Justice | Credit Hours: 3
  • SOC 3600 - Criminology | Credit Hours: 3
  • SOC 4640 - Law in Societies | Credit Hours: 3
  • SW 3243 - Social Welfare Law | Credit Hours: 3

Preparation for Law School

If you plan to enter law school after earning an undergraduate degree, it is prudent to choose a major that reflects your true academic interest. Law schools draw students from a variety of majors.

History has proven to be one of the most successful in launching students toward successful careers in law. This is because OHIO's history courses provide an understanding of the context within which the western legal tradition emerged. They explain the impact that laws and courts have had on shaping society and, conversely, how societal change has reshaped legal practice. As critically, the habits of a historian teach students to read and contextualize evidence, to consider multiple perspectives, and to frame and express arguments, skills that numerous lawyers and administrators of law schools suggest are the closest approximation of legal practice that can be simulated in an undergraduate curriculum.

In addition to our diverse array of history courses, you are advised to use your general electives to take other courses helpful in enhancing your analytical abilities. Those may include courses from English composition and literature, American literature, political science, economics, sociology, philosophy (include ethics and logic), accounting, psychology, and a foreign language. Courses in speech, and training in expression, as well as activities that develop the capacity for independent thought and action, are recommended.

The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that to enter law school you must be able to show possession of an undergraduate degree from an approved college if you wish to take the Ohio Bar Examination. Law schools in the State of Ohio require the degree of all entering students, regardless of the state in which they plan to take the bar examination. More general information regarding prelaw can be found in the History Undergraduate Catalog.

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