Is Criminology a Good or Bad Major for Law School Applicants?

Some students interested in criminology and criminal justice may be interested in attending law school after earning their bachelor’s degree. And the experience of learning about criminals and the causes of crime could be beneficial in many areas of law. But will it help you get admitted to a top law school? Or, as some suggest, could a criminology major actually work against you and be a negative?

In general, the admissions committees will not make your undergraduate major a top priority, so you are generally free to major in whatever interests you the most.

The biggest two factors in their decision will be your undergraduate GPA and your score on the LSAT, so you’ll be much better off putting in extra time to study rather than becoming preoccupied about which are the “best” law school majors.

This also means, though, that majoring in criminology will not impress the admissions committee or give you an advantage in the admission decision.

Some people take it even further and say that a criminology or criminal justice major will actually serve as a detriment to their law school application process, because law school admissions committees want applicants to have a different experiences in their undergraduate years than a field directly related to law or the criminal justice system.

This is more of a rumor rather than an absolute fact, although it is true that admissions committees in general like to see a variety of experiences. A major that improves your communication skills is usually regarded positively when applying to law school.

And even if law school admissions committees are not highly keen on pre-law or criminal justice majors, would they count criminology the same way? It’s impossible to predict exactly what an admissions committee would think, but since much criminology coursework is theoretical or sociological in scope, it is not be as directly related to the law as these other fields. Therefore, it should be regarded more positively in law school applications. But this is assuming that pre-law majors are frowned upon, which is a much more anecdotal theory, and not an absolute fact.

All in all, you should not worry too much about what major you choose if you intend to apply to law school, as your GPA and LSAT scores are the most important part of your application. Criminology should be a fine major, so if it interests you, go for it! The additional perspective on crime that you will gain should serve you well in many areas of law.

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