Contact Info

          Professor Joseph Conti
          University Pre-Law Advisor
          Office: Hendricks Hall, Room 134
          Phone: (814) 732-1285

          Pre-law at Edinboro

          If you are interested in an exciting career in law, Edinboro University is for you! Regardless of your area of academic interest—politics, English, business, history, criminal justice, or any other field—Edinboro offers an unbeatable combination of fascinating and challenging courses, close academic and career advising, exciting and fun extracurricular activities, and career-building internship experiences that will prepare you for a rewarding and successful career as an attorney or in any law-related field (like FBI Agent, journalist, or political operative).

          Preparing for Law School

          Edinboro University provides students of any major with excellent resources for preparing for graduate-level education in law and, ultimately, the practice of law. Pre-law students at Edinboro can pursue their interest in law in three different ways:

          Edinboro University provides students of any major with excellent resources for preparing for graduate-level education in law and, ultimately, the practice of law. Pre-law students at Edinboro can pursue their interest in law through by taking courses that are consistent with the student’s career goals and those recommended by the American Bar Association (ABA) for preparation for law school. While a student may major in any discipline to prepare for law school, it is not uncommon for students to prepare for law school through majors in Political Science, Criminal Justice, Business, English, or History. Students are encouraged to discuss options with their advisor or with the pre-law advisor.

          Edinboro’s pre-law advising program, following the recommendations of the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) and the American Bar Association (ABA), is guided by the following principles:

          First, an undergraduate education should serve as a preparation for law school, not a substitute for it. Students are best prepared for law school when they take some, but not too many, pre-law courses, instead focusing the bulk of their coursework on a wide range of non-law courses. A student’s non-law courses (in politics, history, philosophy, business, economics, psychology, literature, creative writing, and other subjects) should give a student a broad base of knowledge and superior analytical and communications skills.

          Second, students interested in law should be prepared both for law and for an alternative career, in case they decide that the practice of law is not for them and/or they decide to work for a while before attending law school.

          For this reason, Edinboro University does not have a “pre-law” major or degree. Instead, it offers a series of pre-law courses and law-related activities for students of all majors. In this way, students can pursue their interest in law without an overly narrow focus that would exclude other worthy pursuits.

          Third, a high-quality undergraduate educational experience consists of a balance of rigorous and interesting classes; on-campus extracurricular activities; and off-campus career-building experiences and internships. This blend of experiences is valuable for pre-law students, too.

          In addition to taking a good sampling of law-related topics (for example, Civil Liberties, Freedom of Speech, Business Law I, or Criminal Procedure and Evidence), students can also get involved in the Edinboro Mock Trial Team, Edinboro’s Model NATO Team or Edinboro’s Model United Nations Team; attend an evening panel on a law-related topic; conduct an internship at a law firm over the summer or during the school year; go on one of Edinboro’s annual visits to a regional law school; or attend the annual Erie County Law Day Luncheon with fellow pre-law students.

          Law-Focused Courses

          The following are a sample of law-focused courses offered regularly at Edinboro University: 

          POLI 311, Political Freedom and Individual Rights
          POLI 343, Law and Legal Systems
          POLI 463, Civil Liberties
          POLI 465, Constitutional Law
          POLI 469, Criminal Procedure and Evidence
          POLI 550, International Law

          CRIM 265, Introduction to Courts, Criminal Law, and Criminal Procedure
          CRIM 462, Pennsylvania Criminal Code
          CRIM 469, Criminal Procedure and Evidence 

          BUAD 260, Business Law I
          BUAD 365, Business Law II

          PSYC 355, Psychology and Law

          COMM 360, Freedom of Speech

          Additional recommended courses for pre-law students

          In addition to taking some law-related courses, students will find the following subjects particularly effective in developing skills and knowledge that are important for law students and lawyers. Students are encouraged to take as many of these courses as possible, regardless of major:

          POLI 100, Introduction to Politics
          POLI 101, Introduction to American Politics
          POLI 102, Introduction to Comparative Politics
          POLI 103, Introduction to Global Politics
          POLI 370, Political Thought I
          POLI 372, Political Thought II 

          HIST 101, World Civilizations I
          HIST 102, World Civilizations II
          HIST 261, History of U.S. I
          HIST 262, History of U.S. II 

          ECON 220, Microeconomics
          ECON 225, Macroeconomics 

          STAT 260, Elements of Statistics

          PSYC 101, Introduction to Psychology

          ANTH 180, Introduction to Anthropology

          PHIL 200, Introduction to Philosophy and Values
          PHIL 240, Introduction to Contemporary Moral Issues 

          SOC 100, Introduction to Sociology 

          A course in research methods (any discipline)


          Joseph Conti (Criminal Justice, Anthropology, and Forensic Studies)
          University Pre-Law Advisor
          Assistant Professor 

          Ronald Craig (Psychology)

          Michael Engdahl (Business and Economics)
          Associate Professor

          James Fisher (History, Politics, Languages and Cultures)

          Gerry Gendlin (History, Politics, Languages and Cultures)
          Associate Professor

          Bridget Jeffery (History, Politics, Languages and Cultures)
          Assistant Professor

          Elvage Murphy (Criminal Justice, Anthropology, and Forensic Studies)

          Andrew Smith (Communication Studies)


          Exploring the law and law-related careers does not just happen in the classroom. Beyond clubs and organizations and internships for academic credit, students can participate in a number of events and activities:

          Constitution Day activities, September 17: Every year, Edinboro hosts a series of events to celebrate Constitution Day. This includes a lecture or panel discussing a controversy relating to the Constitution (for example, constitutional law and the fight against terrorism). 

          Visits to local law schools, fall or spring semester: Every year, Edinboro University arranges a visit to a regional law school (for example, University of Pittsburgh, Duquesne University, or SUNY- Buffalo). Students are able to sit in on a class, tour the law school, and meet some of the professors and students.

          Erie County Bar Association Law Day Luncheon, May: Each May, the Erie County Bar Association hosts its Law Day Luncheon at the Erie County Convention Center, with a nationally known keynote speaker. Edinboro University invites select pre-law students to attend this event for free.

          On- and off-campus lectures, panels, and debates, fall and spring semesters: During the academic year, lectures, panels, and debates—many focused on legal and political controversies—take place at Edinboro University, at neighboring universities, and in the City of Erie. These events are almost always free and open to the public. 


          Internships are an important way for students to gain valuable work experience, network with future colleagues in their field, and build their resumé (and, if a pre-law student, enhance their application for law school).

          At Edinboro, students can earn academic credit for conducting a law-related internship experience. Our students have interned at law firms, public law offices (like the Erie County Public Defender’s Office), and with judges. Legal studies faculty members are happy to work with students to find a rewarding and challenging internship experience.

          For more information about law-focused internships, contact Professors Joseph Conti or Elvage Murphy in the Department of Criminal Justice, Anthropology, and Forensic Sciences, or Professor James Fisher in the Department of History, Politics, Languages and Cultures.

          A prestigious internship experience open only to students at Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) universities is The Harrisburg Internship Semester (THIS). Each fall and spring semester, one student from each of the 14 PASSHE schools is selected to conduct a 15-week internship in a Commonwealth of Pennsylvania government office. Students earn 15 academic credits and a provided a stipend and housing allowance. Pre-law students who are selected for THIS can request to be placed in a law-focused government agency.

          For more information on THIS, go to The Harrisburg Internship Semester website or contact Edinboro’s THIS coordinator, Professor Gerry Gendlin in the Department of History, Politics, Languages and Cultures.


          Edinboro University graduates attend respected law schools all over the country. Local law schools to which our students have been admitted include the following:

          • Capital University Law School
          • Case Western Reserve University School of Law
          • Cleveland Marshall College of Law
          • Dickinson Law (Pennsylvania State University)
          • Duquesne University Law School
          • Ohio Northern University Pettit College of Law
          • Penn State Law (Pennsylvania State University)
          • Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law
          • University of Akron School of Law
          • University at Buffalo Law School
          • University of Dayton School of Law
          • University of Pittsburgh School of Law
          • West Virginia University College of Law

          The following is a sample of the nationally located law schools to which Edinboro graduates have been admitted:

          • American University
          • Cardozo School of Law
          • Catholic University of America
          • College of William and Mary
          • Cornell University
          • Drake University
          • Duke University
          • George Washington University
          • Hofstra University
          • Indiana University-Bloomington
          • Mercer University
          • Michigan State University
          • New England School of Law
          • Pace University
          • Roger Williams University School of Law
          • Suffolk University
          • Thomas M. Cooley Law School
          • Tulane University
          • University of California-Los Angeles (U.C.L.A.)
          • University of Georgia
          • University of Miami
          • University of Minnesota
          • University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
          • University of Notre Dame
          • University of Virginia
          • Western New England University School of Law