The pre-law concentration in the Department of Government, Policy, and Law (GOVT) is intended for GOVT majors who are interested in (1) the formal study of law; (2) how law intersects with politics; (3) attending law school or a law-related graduate program; or (4) pursuing a career in law or a law-related field. (Non-GOVT majors with similar interests may pursue the pre-law minor, also offered by the department.)
There is no single path to prepare students for a legal education or career in law or a law-related field. Nevertheless, the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in GOVT with a concentration in pre-law firmly positions students to do so.
Why Study This Program?
Experienced Faculty: GOVT pre-law faculty have several decades of combined teaching experience in both American and international law. They are also nationally and internationally recognized scholars within their legal subfields and are active within their respective professional communities. GOVT pre-law faculty therefore bring to the classroom a deep understanding of the law along with the latest insights from the discipline.
Personalized Support and Opportunities for Professional Development: GOVT pre-law faculty provide one-on-one mentoring to students as they progress through their studies and prepare their applications to law and graduate schools. The program places a high priority on determining the optimal postgraduate plan based on students’ individual interests and needs. Millersville University’s ideal location within the law school-rich Northeast corridor also attracts law school representatives to visit campus each year to recruit and interview applicants, while students can also easily visit potential universities. Additional curricular opportunities include for-credit internships and a senior thesis. Throughout the academic year, GOVT organizes professional development talks with representatives of the public and private sectors, including successful program alumni.
A Track Record of Success: GOVT students have been accepted by some of the top law school programs in the country, as well as by many others with strong regional reputations. These include Catholic University, Cornell University, Drexel University, Georgetown University, Harvard University, Pennsylvania State University, Temple University, Texas A&M University, the University of Delaware, the University of Louisville, the University of Pennsylvania, and William & Mary. Many alumni are now employed in private practice at local through international law firms; in local, state and federal government; and with public-interest groups.
Strong Emphasis on Core Skills: The core skills, knowledge and experience acquirable in the pre-law concentration—critical reading, persuasive writing, effective verbal communication, successful research methods, problem-solving, background information, and exposure to the law—will provide a sound foundation for law school, law-related careers and a variety of other professions. The ability to demonstrate analytical and problem-solving skills; —to interpret and examine written texts critically; —to develop written and spoken arguments clearly, effectively and persuasively; —and to define and apply fundamental aspects of U.S. and international legal systems will serve any student well for decades to come.
What Will You Learn?
The B.A. in GOVT with a concentration in pre-law is a 120-credit degree program, 36 of which must be completed within GOVT. In addition to (1) the four “core” courses required for a degree in GOVT, (2) one elective GOVT course, and (3) three other advanced (300-level or higher) elective GOVT courses, students seeking a concentration in pre-law must complete the following 18 credits (six courses):
GOVT 211: Introduction to the U.S. Constitution: An introduction to the U.S. Constitution, with specific attention on its purpose, principles, parts, and theories of interpretation. (Typically offered in the fall semester.)
GOVT 252: Global Crime and Justice: Explores the increasingly transnational nature of crime (including global crimes such as human, arms and drug trafficking), the consequent impact upon human security and sustainable development, and international legal responses. Also addresses the legal distinctions and connections between global and international crimes, the latter including terrorism and crimes against humanity. (Typically offered in the spring semester.)
GOVT 314: The American Judiciary: Examination of state and federal courts. Primary emphasis on federal courts and especially the U.S. Supreme Court. (Typically offered in the spring semester.) GOVT 351: International Law: Classical sources and recent developments in international law. Evaluation of law in the context of world politics. (Typically offered in the fall semester.)
GOVT 411: Constitutional Law: Federalism and Separation of Powers: Focus on the allocation of power between branches and among levels of government as interpreted through significant cases of the U.S. Supreme Court. (Typically offered in the fall semester.)
GOVT 412: Constitutional Law: Civil Rights and Civil Liberties: Focus on individual rights and liberties protected by the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights as interpreted through significant cases of the U.S. Supreme Court. (Typically offered in the spring semester.)
It is recommended that students complete the four “core” courses in GOVT (GOVT 111, GOVT 221, GOVT 231 and GOVT 251) during the first academic year prior to beginning the coursework for the concentration in pre-law. Within the concentration, it is ideal for coursework completion to be as follows: Second Year: GOVT 211 and GOVT 252 Third Year: GOVT 314 and GOVT 351 Fourth Year: GOVT 411 and GOVT 412