Political Science Major

Law at USM

USM does not have a pre-law major.  The reason for this is that law schools generally discourage prospective applicants from taking a formal pre-law curriculum.   Rather, law schools would like students to pursue a regular major that will build their writing and analytical skills.  Law schools want students that are broadly educated instead of narrowly focused.  

Just because law schools discourage a pre-law undergraduate major does not mean, however, that you should not cultivate your interest in law at USM.  There are three valuable opportunities for coursework in the law at USM:

1) Take select law-related courses at USM.  They will help you to better assess your interest and skill in tackling legal questions.  They can also serve as a foundation for more advanced work in law school.  USM History & Political Science offers a course in each of the three major areas of constitutional law: 1) HTY 345 / POS 354 African Americans and American Justice for civil rights; 2) POS 463 Supreme Court and Constitutional Law for institutional powers; and 3) POS 464 Civil Liberties. 

2) Choose the Law Cluster as part of your general education curriculum  - Please visit the law cluster website for a description of courses and pre-law advice.

3) Consider USM’s innovative Accelerated Graduate Pathway to a J.D. in partnership with the University of Maine School of Law. Students apply to the law school during their junior year at USM. Admission to the Law School is not guaranteed and students should build a strong record at USM to improve their chances for admission. If admitted toLaw School, students will begin their first year of Law School during what would have been their senior year at USM. First-year law classes are double-counted as undergraduate electives. Students save time and money by simultaneously completing the final year of their B.A. and the first year of their J.D.     

In addition to completing your political science major (39 credits) and the core curriculum (approximately 30 additional credits), you will need approximately 50 hours of electives to reach the total 120 hours to complete your undergraduate degree.  The Accelerated Graduate Pathway is one of many excellent ways to make these electives count. Students who are not admitted or turn down their admission to the University of Maine School of Law will complete their senior year at USM as normal.

Learn more about the University's Accelerated Graduate Pathways