SCHOOL OF STEAM

Pre-Law Studies Specialization and Paralegal Minor

Introduction

Get Ahead with Pre-Law and Paralegal Studies and Saint Francis University

The Pre-Law Specialization and Paralegal Minor at Saint Francis University are excellent preparation if you’re interested in pursuing a law degree after college or joining the legal profession in other capacities, like the paralegal field. Our partnerships with Duquesne University School of Law and Drexel University's Thomas R. Kline School of Law allow you to earn both an undergraduate degree and a law degree in only six years. If you’re not sure about law school just yet, each pre-law student can earn a paralegal minor without taking any additional classes. Plus, the pre-law and paralegal studies programs are easy to combine with a number of majors and adjacent programs.

accelerated 3+3 early law school admissions program
automatic paralegal minor for pre-law students
exciting internship opportunities
The SFU LEARNING EXPERIENCE

Pre-Law and Paralegal Studies the Saint Francis Way

Our multidisciplinary and hands-on approach ensures that you will be fully prepared to enter the legal field, thanks to courses in a variety of disciplines, the opportunities for involvement in the Pre-Law Club, and the Center for the Study of Government and Law, and exciting internships.

 

Our law-focused programs emphasize Franciscan values and ethical decision-making while providing you with a solid foundation of knowledge that will further your education and career goals.

 

  • Pre-Law:   Adding a pre-law specialization to any major can prepare you for law school and your particular field of interest

  • Early Admissions Programs: Our 3+3 program allows you to spend three years at Saint Francis before entering Duquesne or Drexel Universities’ law schools to complete your law degree in six years rather than seven

  • Paralegal Studies: If law school is not your goal, a Paralegal Minor is equally easy to combine with another major and can help you prepare for a job as a legal assistant or help you assess your interest in attending law school

CURRICULUM & COURSES

What You’ll Learn in the Pre-Law and Paralegal Studies Programs

Our pre-law specialization and paralegal minor provide a unique preparation for law school or a career as a legal assistant. Courses in law, political science, history, philosophy, and more will provide you with a solid foundation of multidisciplinary knowledge.  Our flexible curriculum allows you to take courses that align with your particular interests and take these courses alongside a second major such as political science, history, and more.

 

Flexible, Multidisciplinary Program: Both the Pre-Law Specialization and Paralegal Minor are easy to pair with another major, and each program includes courses in a variety of disciplines to give you a well-rounded background in law, history, and ethics.

 

Franciscan Focus: We are dedicated to bringing our Franciscan values into the classroom with an emphasis on ethical decision-making and courses dedicated to ethics and the law.

 

Internship Opportunities: Our students have taken on internships with local organizations and as far away as Harrisburg, PA, and Washington, DC, with our Ann Eppard Memorial Scholarship and Congressional Internship program, which offers one scholarship per year for summer congressional internships.

 

Hands-On Experiences: Gain practical experience not just through amazing internship opportunities, but also in the classroom itself with hands-on exercises like moot courts and through activities with the Pre-Law Club and the SFU Center for the Study of Government and Law.

  • Degree Paths
  • Learning Objectives
  • Common Degree Paths:

    Students majoring in any field at Saint Francis University can enroll in the Pre-Law Studies specialization or the Paralegal minor. This chart shows the most common paths.

     

    Degree Path Description Course Catalog  Plan of Study

    Pre-Law Studies, Specialization

    can be taken as part of a prescribed degree program

    Course Catalog

    n/a

    Political Science, B.A., Pre-Law specialization

    focus within Political Science, B.A.

    Course Catalog

    Plan of Study

    History, B.A., Pre-Law Specialization

    focus within History, B.A.

    Course Catalog

    Plan of Study

    Paralegal Minor 

    focus within Political Science, B.A.

    Course Catalog

    n/a

  • Learning Outcomes:

    Pre-Law: Students interested in attending law school may elect a pre-law specialization. While this specialization is not mandatory for students preparing for a legal career, it does provide a unique preparation for law school. Enrolling in the Pre-Law Specialization ensures that interested students will receive appropriate advising as they prepare for a career in the legal profession.

     

    Paralegal Minor: The paralegal program prepares students for employment as legal assistants. The program also provides preparation for further legal studies and helps students assess their interest in attending law school.

Experienced faculty who love to teach

Our professors have a wide variety of real-world professional experience in their chosen fields and make it a priority to help students understand how various theoretical concepts apply to actual practice. You will have many opportunities to work one-on-one or in small groups with the faculty. Guest speakers augment the instruction to enrich the value of the program.

 

Pre-Law Advisor: Dr. Joseph A. Melusky, jmelusky@francis.edu, 814.472.3060

Career Outlook in Law

Lawyers earn on average over $100,000 a year—and with our 3+3 Early Admissions program, you can make it into the field in just six years of study at Duquesne University or Drexel University. Our students have also found placements in law schools such as Boston College School of Law, Penn State Law, University of Pittsburgh Law School, Villanova University School of Law, William & Mary Law School, and more. Additionally, paralegals and legal assistants typically earn around $50,000 per year, while arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators earn an average of $65,000 a year. With our program’s multidisciplinary and hands-on approach, you will be well-prepared to enter your chosen career path.

FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions About Pre-Law and Paralegal Studies and Saint Francis University

  • What is the Early Admissions Program?

    In collaboration with Duquesne University School of Law and Drexel University’s Thomas R. Kline School of Law, our program offers early admission programs for Pre-Law students. These partnerships provide special academic opportunities for qualified students to earn both an undergraduate degree and a law degree in six years rather than seven. The SFU Center for the Study of Government and Law provides small grants to help defray student expenses associated with LSAT preparations. Junior and senior students can also apply for an award from the Richard-Dorsey Muller Endowment. Successful applicants receive a stipend to assist with law school preparation and application expenses.

  • What are the Requirements for the Early Admissions Program?

    Duquesne University School of Law agrees to accept all candidates from Saint Francis University provided that they meet the following eligibility requirements:

    • A cumulative grade point average of approximately 3.5 for three years at Saint Francis University (at least 96 credit hours);

    • Completion of all undergraduate major field and general education requirements at Saint Francis University;

    • A minimum LSAT score in the 60th percentile on the present LSAT. The student will take the LSAT in the winter of the third year at Saint Francis University. However, by request, a student may defer taking the LSAT until the spring of the third year.

    • Recommendation by a selection committee appointed by the chief academic officer of Saint Francis University and the Dean of Admissions of Duquesne University School of Law.

    • All candidates for this program must, upon application, schedule an interview with the Dean of Admissions of Duquesne University School of Law. This interview should be scheduled after the student has taken the LSAT, but the results of the LSAT need not be available to the Law School at the time of the interview.

    Each student in this early admission program will be awarded a Bachelor’s degree by Saint Francis University after successful completion of the first year of the Day Division program or the first three semesters of the Evening Division program at Duquesne University School of Law. If the student does not successfully complete the first-year program at Duquesne University School of Law, the student will have to complete additional undergraduate credit hours (totaling 128 credit hours minimum) to obtain a Bachelor’s degree from Saint Francis University.

     

    Drexel University’s Thomas R. Kline School of Law agrees to accept any candidate from SFU each year who meets the following eligibility requirements:

    • Submits a completed application to the Kline School of Law no later than March 1 of the calendar year in which the student plans to attend.

    • >Is in good academic standing at SFU (i.e., not on academic probation).

    • >Has a cumulative grade point average of 3.40 for three years at SFU (96 semester credit hours).

    • >Achieves a minimum LSAT score that is the Kline School of Law’s median from the previous year. For 2019 incoming class, the median LSAT score was 157. It is assumed that the LSAT will be taken in the fall of the student’s third year at SFU; however, by request, a student may defer taking the LSAT until the spring of his or her third year. Students may take the LSAT more than once.

    • >Is in good social standing (satisfactory student conduct record with no unresolved disciplinary issues) at SFU.

    • Is free of any disciplinary issues at all post-secondary schools attended;

    • Answers the criminal history disclosure question on the Kline School of Law application (as required of all admitted or re-admitted students to Kline School of Law) and may be subject to further review if there is a disclosure; note that a prior criminal history issue does not necessarily disqualify a student from admission to the Law School.

    • Is recommended by the SFU Pre-Law Advisor.

    • Complies with seat deposit and other deadlines established by the Kline School of Law.

  • Are there internship opportunities?

    Yes! Student's in our Pre-Law Studies Specialization and Paralegal Minor have interned in fields such as:

     

    • Legislative Offices & Government Agencies
    • Elections & Campaigns
    • Government Relations, Political Advocacy, & Lobbying
    • Nonprofit Management
    • Law & Criminal Justice
    • Environmental Sustainability
    •  Media, Communications & Public Relations
    • Foreign Policy, National Security, Trade Policy & Intelligence

    Here are a few internship placements our students have engaged in:

    • U.S. Department of Commerce 
    • TechAmerica, a Trade Association
    • PA Office of the Attorney General
    • National Federation of Federal Employees
    • Congressional Offices, U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster,  U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey,  U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus 
  • What is unique about the internship opportunities at SFU?

    Some of the unique features include:

    •  Earn up to 15 credit hours of internship  
    • Faculty Internship Coordinator &  Adviser 
    •  SFU Office of Employer Relations &  Internships 
    • University affiliations with The  Washington Center and The  Washington Internship Institute in  Washington, DC
  • What major can be paired with the pre-law specialization?

    While History and Political Science are the most common majors that complete the Pre-Law specialization, ANY major can be paired with the Pre-Law specialization at Saint Francis University.