Pre-Law Advisor, Stephen N. Bretsen

Wheaton College offers a certificate program in Pre-Law Studies. This is an interdisciplinary program designed to provide students with a concentration of course work that supports the future study and practice of law.

The requirements of the certificate are 26 hours from three groupings:

  • Group 1—Core Requirements
  • Group 2—Law-Related Courses
  • Group 3—Supporting Elective Courses

The program change consists of adding two courses as Law-Related Elective Courses - PSCI 328 Immigration (a former experimental course that is being submitted for approval as a catalog course) and PSCI 394 Spirit of the Laws.  Based on reviews of the syllabi and various discussions among the professor teaching the courses, the Pre-Law Studies Certificate director, and the Dean of Social Sciences and Education, the courses have legal sufficient content to merit inclusion as Law-Related Elective Courses. In addition, the graduate studies of the professor teaching the courses, Dr. Alex Haskins, had a legal orientation.  Although a number of PSCI courses are already listed as Law-Related Courses, the number is not surprising given the relationship between government and law, and the new overlap policy and the certificate's own requirements should prevent students from just taking PSCI courses for their Law-Related Courses.  

The requirements of the certificate are 26 hours from three groupings:

  • Group 1—Core Requirements:  The required core courses are PSCI 274 Introduction to Law and a four-hour internship. The internship will be approved for academic credit and administered through the student's major department but must be related to the field of law and approved by the Pre-Law Advisor. If the student’s major department is unwilling to approve and administer the internship, the Pre-Law Advisor may do so for academic credit outside the student’s major department.
  • Group 2—Law-Related Courses:  A total of ten elective hours must be taken from an approved group of law-related courses. Course work must be elected from at least two departments.
  • Group 3—Supporting Elective Courses:  A total of eight elective hours must be taken from an approved list of supporting courses. Course work must be elected from at least two departments, one of which is not elected under Group 2, Law-Related Courses. The required and approved elective courses are as follows, with relevant "topics in…" courses considered on a case-by-case basis:
Core Courses Required
PSCI 274Introduction to Law4
LAW 496Pre-Law Internship (or Major Department 496 Internship)4
Law-Related Elective Courses
Select 10 credits from at least two departments:10
Business Law
AIS: Justice, Law and Society
International Law
Philosophy of Law
Constitutional Law
Criminal Law Procedure
Civil Rights and Police Action
American Political Thought
Law and Religion
Spirit of the Laws
Crime & Delinquency
Supporting Elective Courses
Select 8 credits from at least two departments, one of which is not elected under Law-Related Courses:8
Culture and Difference
Culture Theory
Argumentation and Debate
Advanced Persuasive Speaking
Group Dynamics
Financial Accounting
Managerial Accounting
Business Ethics
Persuasive Writing
Environmental Law, Justice, and Development
American History to 1865
American History from 1865
British History to 1688
History of Christianity in North America
Intro To Logic
Advanced Topics in Philosophy (448-3 Ethical Theory)
American Politics and Government
Classical and Medieval Political Thought
Modern Political Thought
Racial and Ethnic Relations
The Family
Sociological Theory
Total Credits26

Pre-Law Courses

LAW 496. Pre-Law Internship. (4 Credits)

General elective credit for an internship with a practicing legal professional. Prerequisites: (i) junior or senior standing; (ii) a minimum of 16 hours of courses in the student's department major and 8 hours of required or elective courses toward the Pre-law Studies Certificate; (iii) the internship is for the Pre-law Studies Certificate, and the student is unable to secure approval for a Major Department 496 Internship; and (iv) approval of the Pre-Law Advisor. Graded pass/fail.