Should I Major in Criminal Justice before Law School?

If you are thinking about majoring in criminal justice before law school all the power to you. However, you should know that law schools don’t necessarily look for a criminal justice major when looking over the applications.

In one of my previous posts I tackled the criminal justice versus law school question in a different manner. Its nature is a little different from this particular question, but it may provide answers to those that are interested in law school, criminal justice, and the legal field.

Personally, I wanted to go to top-notch law schools in the country. With a high practice LSAT score, great letters of recommendation, an honest personal statement, and 3.96 undergraduate GPA I pondered about going to some of the top law schools in the country. I had a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.

After months of deliberating and questioning my personal motives I chose the criminal justice route, instead of the law school one. I was more interested in the sociology, psychology, and “the way things work” aspects of the criminal justice system. To this day I remain happy with my decision.

Should you major in criminal justice?

Well, a criminal justice major would not hurt if you plan to practice “public” sector law. Criminal law and immigration law are just two examples, where a criminal justice bachelor major would be feasible ( but is not required ).

Some people say that a business degree or a political science degree will do the trick. The fact is that law schools want to accept individuals of diverse backgrounds, including myriad types of college degrees.

Zack touched on what possible majors may work best, and although not exhaustive, I must agree that some degrees can PREPARE you better for law school than others, hence making them more marketable when compared to a Criminal Justice degree:

  • Accounting
  • Business
  • Economics
  • English
  • Finance
  • History
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science

However, these are not the only baccalaureate programs that will get your foot in the door and you should consider the fact that many law school hopefuls don’t make it past the first year of law school, yet alone the application process itself. What it boils down to is: Do you want to fall back on a degree you had no interest in or would you take your stab at law school and fall back on a degree that you know can bring you enjoyment even if you never make it through law school. Think about it.

If you are not sure what to major in, and you like law enforcement and criminal justice, then I would recommend majoring in criminal justice or related degrees. Keep in mind that a criminal justice degree is not the only option for you.

If you are not sure and don’t know if you like criminal justice, yet you would like to go to law school after your bachelor degree, I highly recommend majoring in something you like. However, the stronger the subject matter of your undergraduate degree, the stronger are the chances that you will get into the law school of your choice (Zack’s assertion of a solid degree that will prepare you applies here). A degree in basket weaving won’t help. So, you must choose wisely.

NEW – check out one of my latest posts: Thinking of a Law Degree Online? Think Twice About Online Law Schools

If you have any more questions about law schools, the criminal justice system, or just want to leave a comment you can do so below… in the comments section, of course. Good luck!

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Article written by Radek Gadek

Radek holds a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice from Boston University. He is currently doing consulting work and runs this blog to provide relevant information on criminal justice degrees, colleges and related careers.

100 comments… add one
  • Vanessa browne

    I’m now out of high school, and would love to do law. I’m starting college in September (full time student). What should i major in to have better chances at getting into a good law school?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Some majors you should consider include: Business, Political Science, Pre-Law, and Criminal Justice. However, you may want to pursue what you really like. Ask yourself this question: how can I tie my program of interest with the legal profession?

      For example, if you like accounting, you can use the degree in law school to pursue law with emphasis on financial matters. Or, if you like medicine you can take a degree track that will help you with medical law in grad school. The combinations are limited at times, but I know you’ll find something that will work for you.

      Some students take a Bachelor degree path that isn’t really for them. They often end up not finishing school altogether, or despising the fact that they took the degree path they didn’t like. Don’t do that!

      Law schools are seeking diverse students with diverse degrees. So my advice is – again – that you pursue what you would like to pursue (humanities, sciences, or anything else), as long as you follow the guidelines of the post above.

      If you want, you can reply to this comment and tell me which degree paths you would like to pursue in your undergrad. Choose at least top 3, or more, even if you don’t know exactly which ones. Then, I can add my 2 cents.

      • lisa

        is a degree in communication studies a good idea to get into law school too.

        • Radek M. Gadek

          it can be

      • Tam

        Hi. So, I am spinning my wheels here. I am almost 30 and I’m just now really pursuing my dream in becoming a lawyer. I decided to work towards a BS in criminal justice. I want to practice criminal law and I have some interest in the juvenile division. I have no interest at all in police work, etc. My dream is to be a lawyer. Am I understanding your post correctly that if a person is interested in criminal law that the criminal justice degree would be good and would be acceptable for law school? Do you have any suggestions for me in the path that I am pursuing. I am grateful I found this blog thank you for your help.

        • Radek Gadek

          It’s good but I don’t know if it’s the best option. It’s very hard to quantify how a criminal justice degree can help with your chances of pursuing criminal law in law school. It’s easier to quantify in the case of the “possibly better” degrees listed in the post above.

          Most criminal justice just don’t pursue law, that leaves a sliver of CJ Bachelor degree holders who pursue a degree in law.

  • Dario

    Hi I have just earned my associates of arts degree in LA (nothing fancy, just basics). I’m entering into a four-year university now and can’t decide what major I should take (I wish that I could be like Huey Long or like Abraham Lincoln and just self-study and take the bar without the nuisances of having to go through a bachelors program and J.D. Program). I’m interested in practicing civil law. Which of these three majors would you recommend most for a career in civil law? Criminal Justice, Political Science, History?

    I like both history and political science, but have been warned about the limited job opportunities for people whom pursue these degrees. I had a good experience when I took Criminal Justice in high school (yes i know it may be different), and love learning about the subject itself, but am not a particularly keen on wearing any uniforms (wouldn’t mind teaching aspect, say law school wasn’t for me)…

    So in the end I’m really torn between what to choose to best supplement my goal to enter law school (and do civil law)… I have interest in all three, and may lean a bit more towards political science… But still love to learn about history and C.J. Out of these three which would be best supplement my interest in law and which of these three would provide something to fall back on, if I perhaps failed at law ( I love law, but would like a backup as i have heard of many horror stories of people flunking out and think it best to have a plan B, just in case).. What’s your thoughts?

    • Dario

      Out of these three which would ***best**** supplement my interest in law and which of these three would provide something to fall back on **the most**.

      corrections in sentence

      • Radek M. Gadek

        Out of the three I think political science can give you the better insight into law, but criminal justice can give you a perspective on criminal law which is way better than that of political science. Now, history can also give you a perspective on law, but what type of history would you major in? If general history, then political science or criminal justice would do just fine.

        Now if you plan on making it through law school I recommend trying political science (1), history (2), and criminal justice (3). If you want to study criminal law go with criminal justice degree path.

        Falling back on… This one is a hard one to answer. As you may know, more now than ever, Bachelor level education is ubiquitous and thus comes the dilemma: do you fall back on a 4 year degree or do you fall back on graduate education? Personally, I picked the latter, but if you were to fall back on a 4 year degree ONLY – not liking uniforms and all – I would still put both political science and criminal justice in the first place. Remember, if you wanted you can often make detective or tactical team in a matter of few years of top notch police work – no uniforms there – LOL.

        Now, If you would like to teach, only having a Bachelor degree, you can only do so for K-12 schools. Read my post on teaching with a criminal justice degree (put in history, political science, or whatever you want in place of CJ). History is a desirable field of study for you to pursue as a K-12 teacher.

        In my opinion, you should take on the degree path that will make you the most happy in life. In reality, it may not be any one of the three mentioned here. In any event if you take political science, history, criminal justice, or something else you should go to law school – if that’s what you want after your undergrad studies.

        Good luck on your journey.

  • Dario

    Thanks for the advice above; your information has helped a lot. I have some more rather annoying questions to ask (sorry for holding you up on a more than 6month old blog).

    What is your personal opinion about obtaining a master’s in C.J. (or even say political science) if you plan to attend law school? Do you think it’s a waste of time to go for a masters, rather than just apply to Law School? You see I would rather have the comfort of being able to teach in a college level (doesn’t matter if its a junior college or college, or something else) and have something solid to fall back on.
    Do you think it’s wasteful to enter a masters degree program, if one’s Ultimate goal is law (and is being used as a suitable plan B ot as a supplement towards law)….?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Quite frankly I have been thinking about this myself.

      I do not by all means feel bad that I got my Master’s. One reason is because I got it faster than most people would. I have considered law school prior to getting my Master’s and a part of me is saying that I should have just gone – right then and there. The other part of me is thankful for the education I got at one of the best universities in the world. I also feel great about this choice because I kept my grades up in college, trying never to fall below an “A”.

      If you can get your undergrad grades to look like a “fairytale” then you should go to law school. In some cases a Master’s degree can help your chances of getting into even the best law schools as they may consider you a more seasoned student; one that will keep up with the demands of a law curriculum. Again keeping your GPA above 3.5 would be favorable.

      It’s not a waste of time to obtain a graduate degree if you can go straight into a program, then applying to law school. It makes you more marketable in academia and in the “real world” careers. If you feel that your app will be strong right off the bat, then you might want to grasp the moment of glory and go to law school right after your Bachelor’s. I know I’m repeating myself here, but don’t want to leave anything left to mystery.

      Overall, if plan A doesn’t work, plan B can definitely help you. The good news is that you still have both, and many more, options. Consider your choices, scrutinize your motives, and make sure you pick something that will make you happy. As much as money is king in this world, the true indicator of happiness is your self-worth and the choices you make in life that will make your self-worth priceless.

      All the best… again. BTW let us know how everything goes.

  • Lindsey Humphries

    Hi,
    I am a college Senior who just figured out that I want to be a Juvenile Probation Officer. However my Bachelors Degree is in Communication/Political Science. Could I still get accepted into a M.S.C.J. graduate school? Also, if I did, would that be good enough to land me a job as a Juvenile Probation Officer?
    Thanks!!

    • Radek M. Gadek

      A Communication / Political Science degree is a great start towards a Juvenile Probation Officer career, a legal career as well. Infact, you may be well qualified for a probation officer career before you step into the graduate arena of academics just by having a Bachelor level diploma from an accredited college or university. But to answer your questions:
      1. Yes, you have great potential of being accepted into a Master of Science in Criminal Justice program granted your grades and application are in order.
      2. Yes, but it’s always good to look at this and other careers more in-depth.

  • layo

    this is a really helpful information, since young i have always wanted something to do with law but my dad who had a degree in political science in some other countries couldn’t got in law schools here in the states about 20 something years ago so he became an RN. then he made it mandatory for us his kids to major in science. at first i went along for three years thinking i could end up with doing medical malpractice law, but i just couldn’t do it anymore so i am switching. now the issue is do i major in criminal justice or political science for my pre- law. so i am really happy for this info. you provided , it opened my eyes and gave me a better understanding of these majors. thanks

    • Radek M. Gadek

      I’m glad I can help : )

  • Justin M. Perry

    Hi, I’m currently a freshman at a 2 year junior college. I was wondering if that would be a bad representation of myself on an application to law school. I’ve talked with people about this and they say that the good law schools for prestige in their students former education careers before attending their schools. I get free tuition at this college so that is why i feel it is worth my time put in here. I also realize that an A from this school won’t look like much either. So you think i should just focus my efforts for this and next year to get into a better 4 year school to finish out my CRJ degree or should i try to go to a 4 year school next year? Any help is much appreciated.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Hi Justin,

      In my opinion, A 2 year junior college + 2 years at a 4 year college is all the representation that you need. Your question about if this representation is bad or good can only depend on the admission panel at the law school. If you read the info pages on the law school’s site you’ll usually get the gist of what they are looking for. I don’t think your present arrangement can hurt you, but your grades must be spot on. Of course, I may be wrong.

      Prestige of the educational institution may matter- to a point, but it’s the letter of intent, grades, GPA, LSAT and recommendation letters that truly make or break your application. I’ve found some of the most prestigious law schools to be the most understanding about different backgrounds and ways of obtaining your bachelor degree. One thing that does matter is that all the credits come from a college or a university with regional accreditation – it goes without saying.

      I think if you like your current arrangement you should take that route; without quitting now and going to a 4-year school — 2+2=4 — so make the grades and relationships with ALL of your professors count (letters of recommendation). However, before you take my advice, you should consult some of your present professors, law school sites and their professors who often provide email addresses to ask a question or two, and other reputable Internet sources.

  • Justin M. Perry

    One other thing, i have not taken either the SAT or ACT should i look into taking those or should i just focus on the LSAT’s? Thanks

    ~Justin

    • Radek M. Gadek

      The SAT and the ACT has no real relevance, but I have heard of applicants including it on their resume / application. The LSAT prep is what you should focus on and I mean with a veracious appetite.

      Justin, I wish you all the best in your studies. Don’t stop seeking advice. Take a nice sample of opinions and facts, deduct what you don’t like and what makes no sense, add a little common sense and Presto! — you know the rest. Hope this helps.

  • ouadi

    hi am a new immigrant in the usa i had a bachelor degree in law from my home country which is morroco i like to further my studies in the usa i don t know which is the best major for me one more :i can reach what ever master degree directly thank you for helping me or i need to study more after getting that

    • Radek M. Gadek

      If you plan on studying in the USA with a degree from Morocco you need to find out first if the American university will accept it. It is good to know what you would like to study and then use the Internet to do your search for schools with programs that interest you.

      There’s a chance that you might have to complete a bachelor’s degree in the U.S. to get into a master’s program, but contacting the graduate school directly would help you the most in finding that out.

  • poe

    I am going to be a senior in high school and i am not sure about my path, a lot of elderly people have told me it is not a good idea to major in criminal justice.

    One thing i am sure is that, i wanna be something having to do with law, like a sheriff or something. I have about 3.0 GPA, and 4’11 may told me i am too short to be a sheriff or police officer. I am getting confused, because i am the 1st in my family to go to college. Please help.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Poe,

      First, don’t be swayed by some random perceptions. Criminal Justice is both a professional and an academic degree. I think you should take the time and research the criminal justice field, degree options, and potential careers in the field. If you know – for sure – that this is the area of interest you’re most likely to work in, then you should follow your heart and consider that nearly all law enforcement agencies don’t require you to have a criminal justice degree – some don’t even require one at all (search for it on the site: “Criminal Justice Not Always a Requirement – read thoroughly). You can pursue an academic field that’s truly of interest to you, but be aware that degrees like business, law, accounting, forensic science, criminology, political science, as well as criminal justice are highly desired. If you speak a highly desirable language, that may help you out more.

      Good GPA, less than usual height for law enforcement personnel. Most police departments will consider your application, despite your height. Your weight should be proportional to your height, and you must perform as someone a foot taller than you when it comes to your physical agility tests. Your height may be an issue in consideration of your application or final duty station. You must understand that you’ll be working with other police officers and that you must be as capable as an average height male / female to enforce the laws and defend your partner and yourself from harm. Food for thought.. that’s all.

  • Allissia Davis

    Hi,

    I am going to be graduating from high school real soon and want to become an Criminal Justice Lawyer do i major in Criminal Justice first then law school or it really does not matter?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Please read the article. It should answer all your questions : )

  • cindy

    i am in criminal justice now i have my associate of arts in criminal degree i wanted to be a CSI but i hurt my back and now i can not do some of the training. what do you think i could do with my degree? Anyone?

  • GeorgiaGirl

    I am 30, and a freshman in college. I am in my second semester and currently, my major is Criminal Justice. I am unsure of what field to go into because 4 years ago I had a kidney transplant. I like forensics but do not want to deal with crime scenes and dead people… I do not have the stomach for it. I was talking to my intro to computers teacher and he told me that i should consider a CIS diploma and I could still work in the field of Criminal Justice pulling up databases or even in the forensics department pulling deleted information off of crime computers. I kind of want to take the Criminal Justice classes because they interest me however, a 30 minute drive is making me think twice.I have to decide what I want to do. Can you please give me some options? I like Criminal Justice, but the computer field is a growing field as well. How else can I combine the two?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Computer Information Systems is a great way to combine with Criminal Justice. Unfortunately I can’t tell you what to do, but the computer science idea is a pretty good one considering your preferences. As time progresses there will be a bigger need for CIS qualified individuals in law enforcement / criminal justice system. I know that there are CIS programs with a minor in Criminal justice and Criminal Justice programs with a minor in CIS, and there are those that are very infused together.

  • alyssa

    I am going for my AA in Criminal Justice, that’s what my community college teaches, then i want continue my education for a Bachelors, can i transfer for a BS to a tranfser university, or would it have to be a BA?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      You can transfer to a university that offers both the BA or BS options. Just make sure that the college you do your AA in is properly accredited, and as a precaution, find out if the university that you want to do your Bachelor’s at accepts credits from the community college.

      • alyssa

        The college is accredited because the AA in Criminal Justice is transferable. I just wasnt sure, because I need my bachelors before law school and at the college i’m attending has Criminal Justice as Associates of Arts and not Assoc of Science, because when i look at other colleges to transfer, there all Bachelors of Science in Criminal Justice, so is it ok to get a Associate of Arts in CJ and transfer for my Bachelors of Science in CJ?

        • Radek M. Gadek

          Yes, I think you should have no problems.

  • alyssa

    After getting a Bachelor’s and go to law school, whats the difference in a JD and LLM? Does JD come first then LLM or you have the option of which one you want to take if you dont choose the other, ok here’s my story i want to be a DA, so i know i need my assoc then bachelors then go to law school , be a lawyer then DA, but whats best , i was looking at JD but ran into LLM also, for the law school im looking at. Whats your opinion??

    • Radek M. Gadek

      A JD, Juris Doctor, is a law degree that allows you to take the bar exam and practice law as an attorney. You actually end up with a professional doctorate degree after the JD option. A LLM grad is a Master of Laws – see link for more info on LLM degrees: http://www.llm-guide.com/what-is-an-llm

      If you live and plan on living in the US, I highly recommend the JD option.

      • alyssa

        Ok, so here was my plan. I’ve always wanted to go to law school and later become a District Attorney. I want to learn the law and know it better, and give justice to those that need it. So get bachelors in CJ, attend law school, is that a good direction?
        By the way thanks for answering my questions, not really sure who to go to about these kinds of questions.

        • Radek M. Gadek

          I think that’s a good direction, but try to reach out to someone that actually holds a law degree and practices law – an Attorney. I went that route before and found it to be most educational. I consulted about five different people who passed the BAR and are practicing law about their experiences, advice, and so on – not that you shouldn’t ask here – but you get my drift. Get the bits and peaces you need straight from the “horses mouth.”

          Some ideas to get in touch for a short conversation with a few attorneys are to do a short internship at a law firm or at the County Clerk’s Office. See if you, your friends, parents, and their dogs have any attorney friends/acquaintances. Or call and offer a cup of Joe from Starbucks – this one worked for me, believe it or not : )

          Good luck Alyssa!

  • Bethany

    Hi,

    I want to pursue a career in the Law Field, but I’m not sure what to major in. I really want to work with cases that have to do with murder, crime, etc….all along the forensics field. What should I major in, and what classes should I consider taking? Also, what colleges should I consider applying to in California?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      You might want to look into the Forensic Science Field — the study of Law is entirely different from Forensics. Usually a Bachelor’s degree will due the trick, but some have as little as few courses or an Associate’s degree. If I were you, I would dig around some more. Ask the local law enforcement agency about what the requirements may be for Forensic staff.

      On the Law side of things you can become a defense attorney or a prosecuting attorney. This requires 4 years of college (Bachelor’s Degree) and 3 years of Law School.

      I’m not too sure about Forensics, but for Law: UC Berkeley and Stanford University are some of the best.

  • Shani

    Hello i am really interested in law, how ever i am also interested in forensics accounting. i am not sure what to do now. i want to do my bachelors in forensic accounting but there are not many schools that offer this as a bachelor degree. so my question is do you think law school would accept a forensic major. Or forensic accounting major.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      What I think doesn’t really matter — even though I think some might definitely consider your Forensic Accounting degree on top of all the great letters of recommendation, great GPA, and a slew of well written sentences. As I mentioned to one of my readers before, it’s always wise to visit the school’s website to see their set of criteria. Some schools throw in hints at what they would like their model student to be, while others don’t.

  • Joshua

    I am on my way with graduating with a Paralegal AS. I want to work my way towards becoming a prosecutor attorney or a criminal defense attorney. I want to make sure I know what would be best for me to take. From looking at what you have accomplished I would appreciate your opinion. I have been told Criminal Justice is the way to go. But from reading what you have posted I have been second guessing which way I should go. I want to graduate from the best Law School I can get into. So if you can help me figure out something here and then I can look towards what school will offer me the best education for my bachelor degree…

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Joshua,

      First things first, please read the post and the comments to get a better understanding for what I’m really saying. Criminal justice is not the only degree that potential law students are taking. In fact, it has been my experience that most law students are not from a criminal justice background. What I do recommend, is for you to take a degree which you would like, which you can enjoy in your career despite going to law school or not.

      What’s very important, in spite of what degree you take, is how strong your academic background this; your grades, GPA, extracurricular activities, and other indicators. Remember this, a law degree is a terminal degree, which in layman’s terms means you would have completed a doctorate in your field. If you get some time, check out the difference between a Jurist Doctorate, commonly known as JD degree, and a LLM degree. However, from what you’re saying, it is the JD degree that you would be most interested in.

      As for to school which can help you obtain the best bachelor degree education, please pick an academic institution that has academic prominence. Don’t get it confused with commercial prominence, like: TV and radio ads, newspaper advertisements, and the first thing you see on the Internet. Dig deep and find a school that is right for you, but that is also an academic icon. Keep in mind that in state schools – taking the state of Michigan for example – like: University of Michigan and Michigan State University school systems (substitute the name of the state you live in /would like to complete your degree). The state University systems are a great start and some of the state universities in US are truly pioneers in academia. Law school admissions looks for the strength of the applicant as well as the strength of the school the applicant graduated from. I hope this helps you and I wish you all the best. Good luck!

  • Olivia

    Can I have Criminal Justice as a Major and Pre Law as a Minor…????

    • Radek M. Gadek

      It depends if your college offers both as an option.

  • A_Marie

    Hey Radek,

    I am about to finish my associates degree in Liberal Arts this upcoming June. I’m planning on perusing a carreer in International Human rights law. What is my next step? After looking at the possible majors the college I am looking into offers (for price of tuition, & location), I was thinking of a bachelors in possibly politicial science. Or even English? There is also a criminal justice degree, I am really nervous about my dwindling amount of time before I have to make this huge decision.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Next step is to apply into a very good to an excellent regionally accredited university in order to complete your Bachelor’s degree. As for the course work and program of choice, that’s up to you.

      Keep your grades and GPA high, develop relationships with professors so they can provide you with excellent letters of recommendation, start studying for the LSAT and looking into law schools. 2 years will fly by quick!

  • Liz

    I am looking into some potential law schools here in Texas but I am worried about my degree combination (criminal justice & communication), I found both fields fun and interesting to learn about so I double majored, would this hinder my chances any? Just wondering cause it is a weird combo, most people double major in political science and communication but I didn’t like political science so I opted for criminal justice instead.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Law schools tend to seek diverse students, so you should be fine. Your main foci (plural of focus) are your undergrad GPA & grades, letter of intent (law school application essay), killer letters of recommendation, and a high LSAT score. Good luck!

  • joy

    Can you speak more of the transferable skills one can draw from the criminal justice major when applying to law school?
    Thanks

  • Jorge Rojas

    Does your bachelor degree have to directly correlate with what you want to study in law school? I am currently studying political science but would like to get into business/real estate law. I started college with an interest in finance but changed it due to the impression that law schools looked at majors that had heavy reading and writing courses. I don’t really like political science, I was actually considering changing to criminal justice because it seemed more interesting, but figured I’d deal with it to reach my goal. My fear is that, if for some reason, law school does not work out that it would become difficult finding a job I would enjoy with a political science degree. So I guess the easy answer would be to major in business, like in management, but to me political science would give me an easier route. I have to figure this out soon because I am in my Junior year and don’t want to waste anymore time trying to figure out what path I want to take so maybe you could enlighten me. My train of thought tells me that I can get a better GPA in political science than in business, which would help me get into law school easier.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      I know your dilemma. Trust me.

      You’ll often find me saying: “do what makes you happy” – but probably either political science OR business would be your best options. Most law schools state that they love diverse candidates from myriad academic backgrounds, but statistics also show that many successful law school entrants had a political science or a business academic background.

      If you’re going to be gambling on your future with an undergrad degree that you won’t be happy with, then make sure that when you’re in law school that you have enough “chips” to “beat the house” – otherwise, you might be stuck looking for careers that won’t make an iota of sense to you.

      Law school is very writing intensive, especially in your first year where that is mainly all that you’ll do. Your grades and GPA will make the difference between being considered or not, unless you have a killer entrance essay and recommendations.

      Weigh your choices with care, and you’ll arrive at your answer. Let us know what you decided. Good luck!

  • saewon

    will it be helpful to dual major in criminal justice and a science major such as biology? if not are there any other majors that would be helpful in the law enforcement field?

    do law enforcement medical standards allow lasic eye surgery? my eyes uncorrected are lower than the minimum requirement but my physical fitness will score almost perfect.

    and one more question. are their any medical disqualifies such as missing fingers and toes? can there be a waiver for these?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      If you want to major in Law – in order to become an attorney – the dual major you listed is pretty decent. BUT, if you want to get into the law enforcement field, than law school is most likely not necessary, unless of course, you want to become a lawyer.

      A Criminal Justice degree is a great major for law enforcement hopefuls. Most agencies will hire those with a Bachelor’s degree (no real preference in major, unless otherwise stated by the agency).

      Yes, Lasik is allowed at most if not all agencies. There are waiting requirements imposed (I think to make sure your eye is properly healed and there are no complications). The waiting period before you an apply OR be hired on is about 6-12 months on average.

      There are medical disqualifies, but I think some can be waived based on the performance of your hands, fingers, feet, and toes. Balance issues, ability to move heavy objects, steadily hold a weapon while holding the subject should be considered and other issues should be considered.

  • Andriana Nunez

    This web site gave me some clarity. I choose to obtain a criminal justice associate because I want to go to law school but then I was thinking what kind of law do I want to do. I think I like immigration law but I am not even sure. I will finish my associate degree this semester and I am trying to register for my Baccalaureate but the true is that I do not know if I want to continue with the criminal justice degree because I do not see what kind of jobs you can get with this degree and the true is that I am getting a degree to get a better job not fill up with bills. Does anyone can give me any ideas as to what types of job can one get with a associates degree in criminal justice and with a Baccalaureate.

  • Arash Vafa

    Hi. I’m thinking to major in CJ and get my bachelor and then apply for law school ( criminal law). But what really am I after i get my bachelor in CJ ? can i work as a paralegal for criminal law offices ??? If not, do you know by any chance what the procedure is for being a paralegal in criminal law ?
    Thank you

  • Tyler

    I am seeking a degree in criminal justice as well. I let me GPA drop after attempting nursing school, which was not for me! I was wondering if law schools look at that as well as looking at a GPA that has reached a 3.6? Yes, it was low and then I have managed to get it back to where I started when entering college.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Yes, law schools will look at your entire academic past (especially in college). A 3.6 GPA is pretty good, but do remember law schools tend to attract a lot of applicants, so there’s so much more competition. As for your prior grades, I highly recommend utilizing the addendum that you’re allowed to submit to most law schools.

  • Jeff

    I’ll be transferring into a 4 year program this fall. Right now I’ve been taking a lot of criminal justice classes at a community college, where I’ll be graduating with a Liberal Arts AA degree. One of my professors made the comment that having a criminal justice degree could limit you should you not go into that field, and that you could get into the criminal justice field with pretty much any BA degree. I want to go to law school, but also want a useful 4 year degree with something to “fall back on” should that not work. Thus I’ve been thinking of majoring in Political Science and minoring in Criminal Justice. Your thoughts?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Your professor is right. So, Pol Sci with a CJ minor isn’t such a bad idea, especially when considering law school. DO make sure that’s really what you want to pursue. Good luck.

  • Marianna

    Will a Theater degree do me any good?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Not sure, but I do know that the personal statement you present and hopefully great undergrad marks will show your passion for law. Then, it’s up to the admissions committee to do their thing.

  • Yaritza Chavez

    I am currently a senior in high school. I know I want to study law. I completed the CJC 111 online course through my local community college. My GPA is a 3.8 and I am fluent in Spanish as well as English. I will be taking an internship period with with an attorney this coming semester. I love dealing with people and do not mind paper work. I was considering starting out as a paralegal and then attending law school, but i am honestly not sure. What do you suggest I Major in ?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Hey Yaritza,

      A paralegal degree can be of benefit to you, but as I mentioned in other replies, law schools look at diversity; which includes academic diversity. So, where I would pick a Business Degree another person may pick Political Science, and another may pursue a degree in History… There’s no perfect answer here, but some people consider making Prelaw a part of the undergraduate studies. Your fluency in Spanish is a big plus!

  • J. G.

    Is getting a human service degree detrimental to getting into law school?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      I don’t think it would be detrimental. What would be deleterious is poor grades / GPA, low LSAT score, and lack of a killer personal statement and letters of recommendation.

      • J. G.

        What about pursuing entertainment law?

        • Radek M. Gadek

          I still don’t think it should stop you from applying to law school.

  • Corettea

    I have a question, I’m really torn between whether i want to be a criminal or corporate law. Could I study both and get degrees and both and then pick later?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      In law school you’ll have to pick one “track” — either one OR the other. Hopefully, by then, you’ll have it figured out.

  • Diane M.

    Hi Mr. Radek, I feel so lucky i found this website. ur advise is awesome just want to thank you real quick. its nice to talk with someone who knows what they’re talking about.
    criminal justice is very sexy to me its what i like and law. i need a two year before going into law. i was taking paralegal classes but i failed two of them, maybe because my english is poor. my business law classes were easy and i passed those with an a. i need to do school online because i have two jobs.
    my plan is to study english and math in the two years but im trying to have a better plan than that. anything u reply is good. thank u for ur time

  • jbman653

    hey, how about a degree in psych? Have you known anyone who has gone that path and still went to law school?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Sure, a few acquaintances of mine are pursuing law after obtaining a Bachelor’s in Psychology.

  • Tyrone

    Hello, I am very interested in going to law school. I am 28 yrs old and have worked in Human Resources Management for about 9 years now. I have dealt with all types of employment and labor laws. However, after doing research here where I live there is not that many jobs available for those who have a JD with a focus on employment and labor laws. I am now going back to school to for a BS in Political science & Public Administration – Law and Legal Studies. I would like to go to law school when I am done. I am looking at Civil and Criminal law. My questions is do you think this is a good route to go for law school? Also, I was thinking about doing the LLM/JD route or just going with the JD because the LLM is more specialized? I don’t want that to look bad if I apply for jobs outside of the Criminal or Civil area of law and may wont to do Corp law down the line or Employment Law. However, I would like to be a judge one day so I think having a combination of Civil and Criminal law would be best. What are your thoughts? Thanks in advance.

  • jada

    so i would love to work with the FBI but was thinking of going to law school and then later working for the FBI. I’m not quite sure what to get my bachelors degree in… something flexible that i can use towards a government job or a career as a lawyer. any advice? thanks!

  • Christopher

    Lets see here. Let me start off by saying I am not sure exactly what I have in mind as far as a career or job goes. I know I want to be multifaceted. I can envision myself doing any of the following: Writer/editor, Campaigning, Business owner, CEO, Attorney, Governor, Mayor, President (mostly), Inventor, Broadcaster, Agent for athletes/actors or something of the sort.

    So now I would like to share with you my interests. Which also aren’t set in stone and open to suggestion. Syracuse University will be my top choice upon earning my degree in Professional Communications from Onondaga Community College. I choose Syracuse particularly for it’s location and because of Newhouse for communications and Whitman School of Management. In a perfect world I will be able to study all of the following and put my education into practical use. Masters degree in Public Diplomacy from Newhouse. Also I would like to attend the Entrepreneurship & Emerging Enterprises program in Whitman School of Management most likely the undergraduate program. Furthermore I do have interests in International Relations, Political Science, and Law. I believe in NY state you can be eligible to take the BAR exam after one year of Law school plus studying the law at a firm and work a clerkship? I do have a minimal understanding of this but I believe this is to save a lot of money. Would I necessarily want to take the BAR exam given my career goals anyway? Keep in mind I’m not trying to take a huge gamble given the economy now a days and the extremely high tuition rates in my opinion. Any Suggestions or insight you can give me or anybody could give me would be very much appreciated.

  • Niesha

    Okay, so I am wanting to go to law school and I am not sure what degree to get before I apply to law school. I am interested in Civil Law. I was going to take the easy way out and just be a Paralegal, but I have really always wanted to be a Lawyer. So, any suggestions?

  • Angela R

    I want to go to school for domestic law but i have no clue as to where to start or even what classes to take. I also have to take all my classes online because i have 2 kids and no way of getting a babysitter so i can go. I am also trying to find a college that does online classes, that is accredited by other schools in case i would like to switch schools later on down the road, one that i can have actual books at my house so i can study not only on the computer. What would you suggest to be the best online school for me? What do you think i should major in? Any advice at this point would be great because i have been trying to figure this out for years now and still have no clue as to where to start.

  • Justine

    hey there :)
    I’m about to start my last year of high school, and I’m starting to think about what I would like to major in when i start college. I’m interested in pursuing international criminal law (assuming I get into law school lol), and I was wondering what you would suggest for my undergraduate studies.
    Thanks in advance

  • cathy

    I do have a question. I am going back to school to get my bachelors…. and was wondering about your opinion on majors for law school. International Relations or Legal Studies. I am going to be going to American Military University. Of the two which would “look better”??? Any help would be greatly appreciated.. =0)

  • mo

    if you take online courses during college will it affect me for getting into law school

  • Tosin

    hello, im tosin, am about to get an Associate degree in General science next spring 2012, and i really want to go to law school actually and be a lawyer. my father forced me to actually go under science field but now im thinking otherwise and just wanna go to a 4year college and try to apply for a major which go with law. my question now is..should i continue in the science major (nursing) and later apply into law school with the nursing degree or just switch to some other major like business administration, political science or criminal justice? Or just do two more years of nursing program (2years of AS+ another 2years in 4year) or what? please help me here. Im totally confused. please. Thanks in advance.

  • latoya thomas

    I am a sophomore in college, and I’m undecided on the matter of continuing studying under a criminal justice major or to change it. I read the comments below and understand that the type of degree isn’t really applied to law school applicant decisions, and that they look for diversity. At the same time, I desire to be a lawyer but I have a gut feeling that I am not going to be happy with taking criminal justice as a major. I know ppl say pursue what you like, but the only think I like besides law is drama/theathre classes, and my parents claim that’s its a waste of schooling (being an actress). I just need an honest opinion please

    P.s I’m interested in the following career paths if acting doesn’t work out

    Police officer or correctional officer to lawyer
    Correctional officer to investigator to lawyer
    Social worker to cop to lawyer

    Tricky thing is criminal justice degree wouldn’t really help wit social work and I don’t wanna directly persue a social worker degree since its just a job I want to try out.
    Help please I’m very confused and indecisive and probably a little unaware of what I want. I’m still young

  • layla

    I know i want to become a lawyer ,but I dont know if starting off in pre law enforcement or paralegal. Which road should I take?

  • tiffany

    Can i work in the criminal justice field even though i have a criminal background?

  • Kristen

    Im a sophomore in college and will be receiving my Associates of Arts degree with a Focus on Criminal Justice next summer. I will then transfer to another school where I will receive my Bachelor of Arts with a major in Criminal Justice. I would love to study criminal law. Would the degrees I will receive be a good choice if I plan on pursuing a career in criminal law.

  • Kyle

    Hi, I am currently a junior pursuing my bachelors in sociology. I have always wanted to go to law school but do not think soc is a good major for it. I am also unbelievably sick of taking soc classes. I wouldn’t mind switching my major to something else but political science does not interest me. Any advice would help really. Thank you

  • Rosie S

    Hello,
    I am a freshman in college majoring in criminal justice planning to take my LSAT junior year and apply for Law school at the end of senior year. I really like criminal justice, I am just scared I won’t get into law school with it. My friend is going for political science but my college does not offer that and I enjoy criminal justice I just hope I will get in with that major. Also I strive for good grades and and am very friendly with my professors. Do you think I am taking the right path for law school?

  • Zack

    Philosophy is by far the best degree for law school. You want to include a minor in political science and definitely have a pre-law concentration however criminal justice won’t do much. It is about skills that you develop, not direct knowledge of how the criminal justice system works. Philosophy gives you the writing skills as well as the reading and critical thinking skills that are necessary to do well in law school. Philosophy majors typically score far higher on the LSAT’s and they have far better understanding and comprehension of the law which is really all that matters. Criminal Justice really isn’t that great of a degree. Major in history, poli-sci, accounting, finance, english, economics or philosophy. They are by far the best. Specialization is key, develop skills that you will need for law school criminal justice won’t do a whole lot for you. Maybe set you up to be a paralegal or a secretary or work in law enforcement, but not much else.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Zack, great input! It’s been a while since I read my own ramblings, so as you would have it, I used your comment as a catalyst for some clarification and some additions. Check out the post now.

      I like when people can come here and share their opinions, but I really love when they can share constructively. Thanks for visiting.

  • Tina Shang

    Hi I am a 40 year old student just finishing up my first semester of my second year of college. I have decided to postpone graduating for a year so that I can graduate with honors, because I am the first person in my family to attend college this is important to me. I decided to double major since I will be here long enough to accumulate enough hours to do so.

    I hope to eventually go on to law school. I would like to study International Law and Human Rights. I am currently working on a degree in Mass Communications. My question is this: What would the best choice for my second major, if I choose to double major? I am looking at one of the following, but am open to other suggestions.

    History
    Sociology
    Political Science
    Criminal Justice

    Thank you
    Tina

    • Radek M. Gadek

      It’s between Political Science and Sociology for me. History — with the worldview — would also be viable.

  • Raymond

    Well I am going to a University to get a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice. My ultimate goal is to be accepted into another university that offers a law program, do you have any suggestion on how to attain my J.D. degree?

  • Talia

    I’m transferring to a 4 year university next year from a community college and I really want to go to law school once I get my BA.
    I’m interested in immigration law, but I’m not sure what to major in

    I’m thinking Poli Sci-Pre law
    or sociology with an emphasis in social change

    I know Political science is more of a norm for a hopeful law student but I’m more interested in Sociology…So either way I’m not sure if to take the one that will possibly give me a leg up or take the one that interests me the most.

    Is there a better major for a possible career in immigration law?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      I pursued what sparked my interests most. At the time, it was Business Administration. My usual suggestion, and only a suggestion, is that you follow what you like most. Saying that, I also want to debunk the Political Science or Pre-Law undergraduate degrees as most suitable. They may prepare one better for law school, but are not the only law school bound options. I think Sociology is a great fit in terms of immigration law. Still, I would speak with some of your professors or email the law school itself to get their side.

  • Rebekah Haqeye

    I’m starting college in a few months for Paralegal AS, I have thought that this may be a good way to get an understanding of the fundamentals of law yet still give me something to fall back on if I chose not to become a lawyer. But reading through this post I’m wondering if this is the best way to go about it?

  • Heidi

    I have a question I want to be a lawyer but I want to go the cheapest route. I was originally going to get my degree in Criminal Justice which they call here in Virginia ADJ Administrative Justice. I go to a community college and was going to transfer to a different school but during this process I learned if I moved and I may have to that it would only be considered a technical diploma so I changed my degree to Social Science. My question for you is did I make the right decision. I want to be a lawyer but I am not just out of high school in fact I have two children in high school so I’m not even sure I will want to stay in school that long. My dream has always been to be a lawyer but who knows something may come up and I just want to have a back up plan. Do you think I picked the right thing?

  • Rachel

    Hi, so I know for a fact I want to do a criminal justice major, possibly doubled with something. I have a guaranteed seat in a law school as a freshman undergrad, but I’m a little worried. If I get through college and decide law school isn’t what I want (which is why I chose the pricey college I did), then my Bachelor’s degree is going to cost me a lot of money that I’m not sure I can justify with any other job within criminal justice, especially if it’s already a competitive field. I’m reading up on other positions within the major that really do interest me, but I’m nervous that choosing one of these will “waste” an expensive education. Based on your knowledge, what would you say are some higher paying jobs that aren’t impossible to achieve in this economy. If it helps, I am extremely interested in detective work and positions that handle evidence, but not necessarily the scientific nature of it. Thank you!

  • Savoy Rody

    Hi, I am starting at a local community college and working on my associates in criminal justice, and than transferring to a four year college. Is criminal justice enough for law school? I am also thinking of immigration law or business law. Am I on the right track?

  • Mark Hurst

    I’m a 17 year old incoming high school senior, who was just accepted into the University of Alabama for a major criminal justice. I’m really intrigued by going to law school after completion of my Bachelor’s. Alabama requires a minor to be taken with a Criminal Justice major, do you suggest that I minor in Political Science during my Bachelor studies, or can I take the Sociology minor without affecting my chances of acceptance into Law School?

    • Radek Gadek

      Good questions. It’s tough to pick between one or the other. I recommend attaining a degree you will want to live with; enjoy preferably. There is a school of though that a Pol Sci degree is one of the best options, but nearly all law schools will never admit that one degree is better than another. Academic institutions claim that a diverse pool of law school candidates is what they look for. I tend to agree.

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