Pre-Law at Western Oregon University

The minimum requirement for admission to a recognized law school is a bachelor’s degree. Most law schools value intellectual maturity and a broad educational background, such as is provided by majors in the social sciences, natural sciences or humanities, rather than narrow specialization. Well-developed research, analysis, oral and written communication skills are considered desirable.

For more information about law schools admissions or pre-law activities at Western Oregon University, contact the pre-law advisor, Dr. Mark Henkels, at
For more information about the Pre-Law minor, review the WOU Catalog.


The legal studies program is designed to provide students useful preparation for those going to law school or to work in the legal field.
For more information about the legal studies minor, review the WOU Catalog.


Students interested in going to law school should consider four things:

  1. Law schools do not have formal preferences for specific majors or minors. Law schools choose applicants who demonstrate strong abilities in reading, writing, and critical thinking. Majors such as political science, history, philosophy, and English are the most common background for law students, but Western students in many fields have gone to law school in recent years, including Earth sciences, psychology, communications, and business.
  2. Whatever your major or minor, your grades matter. Admission to law schools is highly competitive. Applicants are usually expected to achieve an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.00 and perform well on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), although strength in one of these areas may compensate for weakness in the other.The higher your GPA and the higher your LSAT scores, the more schools that will admit you and the larger the possibilities for scholarship aid. The LSAT should be taken late in your junior year or early in the senior year.
  3. While any major or minor is fine for law school, Western Oregon University offers a legal studies minor designed in response to information received from Western students who have gone on to law school and research into a broad range of pre-law materials. One key aspect of the minor is that it features at least two courses taught by lawyers working in the field. Coursework is also designed to promote a greater understanding and comfort with the expectations and content of law school curriculum. However, remember that law school has a depth of expectation beyond any undergraduate coursework.
  4. The Politics, Policy, and Administration (PPA) Department of Western Oregon organizes a series of pre-law activities throughout the school year. There are also pre-law and LSAT materials available for students.  Activities include trips to law schools, various forms of LSAT preparations, guest speakers and forums, and social activities.


Here are a list of some of the common law schools and programs that our students have enrolled in:

Willamette University

Master of Legal Studies

LL.M. in two concentration areas




Lewis and Clark University

Joint J.D./LL.M. in environmental and natural resource law

LL.M. in animal law

LL.M. in environmental law and natural resource law


University of Oregon

LL.M. Master of Law in four concentration tracks

Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences, Studies and Policy

Ph.D. in Political Science

J.D. in thirteen concentration tracks


Gonzaga University

J.D., J.D./MBA, J.D./MAcc, J.D./MSW


Seattle University

LL.M. in Innovation and Technology Law

LL.M. in Tribal Law

Master of Legal Studies

Seattle University offers joint degrees in several areas with a J.D. degree, including J.D./MBA, J.D./MPA, and MACJ/J.D.


University of Washington

Ph.D. in Law

Ph.D. in Public Policy and Management

LL.M. in seven concentration tracks

J.D. in eight concentration tracks

Accelerated J.D./MBA degree


Western State College of Law



If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions, contact Dr. Mark Henkels at