Overview

The Division of Social Sciences offers a challenging Minor in Pre-Law. It is designed to provide  students with the foundational knowledge, critical thinking skills, and ethical framework  essential to informed and socially responsible citizenship.

The Pre-Law Minor is intended to assure an advantage to Tougaloo students who plan to apply to law school. However, no specific course of study is required for law school admission. Instead, all law schools emphasize the value of excellent reading comprehension, analytical reasoning skills, and a solid command of written English.  While intellectual agility can be cultivated in many ways, an interdisciplinary liberal arts education grounded in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences--coupled with our Pre-Law Minor-- is strongly recommended.

Requirements

Students must fill out a minor request form to declare the minor. Eighteen (18) hours of credit are required to earn the distinction of a Pre-Law Minor, comprised of the following courses:

  • Constitutional Law I (3) POL 441—offered fall semester
  • Constitutional Law II (3) POL 444—offered spring semester
  • Legal Research (3) POL 438--offered spring semester
  • Legal Writing  (3) POL 313—offered spring semester
  • Legal Environment of Business (3) BUS 261—offered fall semester
  • Logic and Effective Thinking (3) PHI 103—offered each semester

Some of the required courses may have prerequisites that do not count towards the Pre-Law Minor.  Students must acquire the prerequisites and not ask to be waived into courses. All credits must be taken at Tougaloo, unless this requirement is specifically waived by the Coordinator of the Pre-Law Program and approved by the appropriate College personnel.

Students are also urged, but not required, to take Mock Trial I and II, American National Government, and Ethics, Medicine, and Technology. 

Students must earn at least a “C” (2.00) average in all courses counted for the Pre-Law Minor.

Eligibility for the Pre-Law Minor is open to all incoming freshpersons beginning the 2016-2017 academic calendar year, and to all incoming students thereafter.

Students must maintain a professional dress code and adhere to standards of ethics, morality, and conduct as delineated by the Coordinator of the Pre-Law Program and the highest principles of the Tougaloo tradition of excellence so as to replicate that which is widely and commonly expected of Togualoo students. The dress and conduct code will respect various cultural viewpoints. 

Course Descriptions

Constitutional Law I (POL 441)

This is a seminar course conducted through the use of the case method.  Students are required to make an extensive study of the United States Supreme Court decisions, particularly with respect to the powers of the three branches of government, federal-state relations, and civil liberties. Offered fall semester. CREDIT:  THREE SEMESTER HOURS.

Constitutional Law II (POL 444)

This second part of a two-semester sequence in constitutional law places a major emphasis on civil rights cases, with focus on the Bill of Rights, civil liberties, and the constitutional rights of the individual, including the rights of the accused.  Readings will include leading constitutional cases involving basic rights and liberties.  Offered spring semester. Prerequisite:  Constitutional Law I.  CREDIT: THREE SEMESTER HOURS.

Legal Research (POL 438)

This course is designed to provide an introduction to the sources of law in the American system, the legal research process, and specific instruction in finding and analyzing primary and second source materials. Offered spring semester.  Co-requisite:  Legal Writing I. CREDIT: THREE SEMESTER HOURS.

Legal Writing (POL 313)

This course provides development of skills in analysis and writing in the context of writing primarily interoffice or predictive memoranda with emphasis on plain English.  Students build from every exercise applying a rule to a short set of facts to synthesizing and applying complex rules to more extensive fact patterns. Offered spring semester. Co-requisite:  Legal Research I.  CREDIT: THREE SEMESTER HOURS.

Logic and Effective Thinking (PHI 103)

The development of sound and valid reasoning. This course includes inductive and deductive reasoning, propaganda analysis, argument analysis and evaluation, detection of fallacies and psychological factors that affect the thinking process.  Offered each semester.  CREDIT:  THREE SEMESTER HOURS.

The Legal Environment of Business (BUS 261)

Study of the functioning of the legal system as a framework for modern business.  The law of contracts, bailment and commercial paper will be considered. CREDIT:  THREE SEMESTER HOURS.

Suggested Course Sequence:

Freshperson
Spring Semester
PHI 103 Logic and Effective Thinking

Sophomore
Fall Semester
POL 441 Constitutional Law I

Spring Semester
POL 444   Constitutional Law II

Junior
Spring Semester
POL 438 Legal Research
POL 313 Legal Writing

Senior
Fall Semester
BUS 261 Legal Environment of Business         

Attitude

An exploratory and open-minded attitude will best serve the long-term aspirations of students choosing the Pre-Law Minor. Three cautions need to be made regarding the Pre-Law Minor. First, be flexible. Completion of the Pre-Law Minor does not assure acceptance to law school. But it most certainly will foster the discipline required for a meaningful contribution to society, achievement, and lifelong learning. Second, be realistic.  Content included in undergraduate law-related courses will be covered in greater depth and with a more analytic approach in law school. Third, be contemplative. Consider all coursework valuable whether it leads to law school, inspires interest in another advanced degree, compels work in the community, or opens a door to some altogether unexpected adventure.

Learning Outcomes

Students who complete the Pre-Law Minor will develop a deeper understanding of how law and legal systems intersect with the everyday lives of ordinary people, especially in terms of race, class, ethnicity, gender, age, and sexual orientation.  Students will also develop a deeper awareness of how law and legal systems intersect with systems of power and privilege.  In the process, students will demonstrate reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills that enable empathetic and critical communication and advocacy.  Such skills will include the ability to observe and make fine distinctions, ask relevant questions, explore significant information, and analyze divergent points of view with clarity and conscience.

Where To Go For More Information

A student considering law school or the Pre-Law Minor should seek advice from the Pre-Law Coordinator in the Division of Social Sciences. Tougaloo College’s Pre-Law Coordinator is Attorney Timothy Craig Howard and the Pre-Law Advisor is Dr. Charles Holmes.  Both Attorney Howard and Dr. Holmes welcome questions and can be reached at 601-977-6154.