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Monmouth College
Communication Studies

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  Communication Across the Curriculum  


Pre-law and Communication Studies at Monmouth College

Advice and Suggested Courses

Thoughts on Considering Law School and a Legal Career

As you may already know, there is no generally recognized "Pre-law" major or specific program of study at most colleges and universities, including Monmouth. In fact, law school professors often discourage aspiring attorneys from studying law at the undergraduate level, believing that undergraduate work should provide prospective law students with a strong general education and the skills to be an effective student of law and practicing attorney. Law school itself is the time to learn the law. That matches our approach to pre-law study in the Department of Communication Studies.  Some useful background on the study of law can be found at Law Degree Central.

We believe that undergraduates should accomplish the following goals in preparing to apply for law school.

-- Determine if you have a genuine interest in the kinds of things law students and practicing attorneys do. This can involve taking courses that address legal issues and, especially, by seeking opportunities for "job shadowing" or "externship" experiences with practicing attorneys.

-- Develop the kind of academic skills needed in law school. These include the ability to do critical thinking and reading, the ability to reason and write logically and effectively, the skills to conduct sophisticated data-base/library research, the ability to plan and think strategically, and the ability to communicate well in a variety of contexts.

In addition, law schools expect prospective attorneys to be educated broadly as we do through general education at Monmouth College. A variety of courses and majors can help you accomplish the goal of attending law school including, History, English literature, Economics, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology. Business, Accounting, foreign language and the natural sciences also can provide good preparation for law school, depending on the student's particular interests.

Communication Studies makes for an excellent major, second major or minor for students considering law school. A steady number of COMM students have successfully attended law school over the years at such universities as Michigan, Illinois (Champaign-Urbana and Chicago), Valparaiso, Northern Illinois, Loyola, and Southern Illinois.

Suggested COMM Courses that will support a pre-law program of study

COMM 101 - Fundamentals of Communication (a freshman general education requirement)

COMM 335 - Argumentation (focuses on advanced critical thinking skills similar to those tested on the LSATs, logic, fallacies, research case development, argumentation oral communication skills)

COMM 339 - Persuasion (deals with both theory and practice of changing minds, emphasizes strategic planning and extended project management)

These courses can constitute a portion of the Communication minor or the center of a Communication Studies major.

Also of value:

THEA 175 - Beginning Acting (more relevant than you might think for lawyers, strong public communication skill development, non-verbal communication, stress management)
COMM 235 - Small Group Communication (teamwork skills, decision-making, planning)
COMM 491 - Seminar in Freedom of Communication and Communication Ethics (deals with development of the constitutional right to free express, explores Supreme Court decisions and reasoning, ethics)
COMM 494 - Internship in Communication (Pre-law students who major or minor in Communication often complete an internship in an attorney's office, a prosecutor or public defender's office or other similar law-related setting throgh the COMM department's well established internship program.)

If you have questions about pre-law study or a major or minor in COmmunication Studies, please contact Professor Lee McGaan, Chair, Communication Studies.



Monmouth College Department of Communication Studies
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