Houghton College's Christian liberal arts education is ideal for meeting American Bar Association (ABA) recommendations on undergraduate preparation for law school and subsequent careers in law, government, civil service, and the justice system.
The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) offers advice on its website about preparing for law school, following recommendations of the Pre-Law Committee of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar. Similar advice is available at the website of the Northeast Association of Pre-Law Advisors (NAPLA). Students may find especially helpful the "NAPLA Pre-Law Guide" for students, downloadable at.
Building on the core curriculum (known as "Integrative Studies"), many Houghton College courses fulfill the ABA's advice to pursue an academically challenging course of study that provides both a broad range of knowledge as well as skills in critical thinking, communication, and research. Houghton College offers many majors traditionally associated with preparation for law school, such as History, Political Science, Philosophy, English, and Business Administration, but students are admitted to law school from almost every academic discipline.
Students entering pre-law studies at Houghton, whatever their major, are particularly encouraged to work with their pre-law advisor to design a course of study including courses designed to hone critical thinking skills, develop a historical understanding of legal systems and concepts, and explore the relationship of law to other fields, such as business, international development, or environmental policy. Selected courses include relevant field research experiences, helping students understand how the concepts they are learning affect the worlds of politics or business. Pre-law students can also take advantage of opportunities to study abroad in order to develop their understanding of diverse cultures beyond the United States and a more global perspective on significant social, political, and cultural issues.
Houghton courses of particular interest to pre-law students include:
Building Core Skills:
- Writing in the Liberal Arts (or another appropriate writing course)
- Logic and Critical Thinking
- Organizational Communication
- Presentational Speaking or Advanced Presentational Speaking
Understanding Law and Governance:
- Introduction to Democracy and Governance
- The American Political System
- Introduction to Political Thought
- American Constitutional Law
- Philosophy of Law
- Business Law I and II
- Governance and Politics in Developing Countries
- Governing Urban Communities
- International Law and Organization
Developing a Context: Historical, Political, Ethical, Economic and Social Dimensions:
- American History sequence (includes Colonial America, 1600-1788; Early National Period, 1788-1850; Civil War and Industrial America, 1850-1920; and Recent American History, 1920 to Present)
- Microeconomics/ Macroeconomics
- Executive Power and the Presidency
- Medical Ethics (especially for those interested in public health)
- Ethical Theory
- Social Problems (Sociology)
- The Criminal Justice System
- Ancient Philosophy
- Early Modern Philosophy
The Pre-Law Program sponsors a range of co-curricular activities for students:
- One or more of the many supportive Houghton alumni in the legal profession visit our campus each year to meet with pre-law students and discuss their own work, the law school experience, and opportunities for those with legal training to make a difference in the world.
- We sponsor field excursions to courtrooms and law offices in Buffalo and Western New York.
- We make road trips to regional law school fairs, where students can meet representatives from dozens of law schools across North America.
- We sponsor the annual Constitution Day celebration each fall on September 17.
- We encourage campus visits from law school representatives.
- The Constitutional Law and Politics Reading Group meets to discuss works of broad legal and political interest.