Pre-Law Certificate

This is a new interdisciplinary certificate housed in the Department of Political Science, effective fall 2022. Courses taken prior to fall 2022 may be applied towards the certificate. Application will be available soon. 

For questions and advising, please email pre-law certificate advisor, Prof. Nick Conway at nickconway@sfsu.edu.

A certificate program is a coherent set of academic courses that does not lead to a degree, but is focused on a substantial area of study that may be practically oriented toward skills and/or occupations. The Pre-law Certificate, in combination with a baccalaureate degree in any major, provides valuable preparation for law school. Students completing the certificate acquire knowledge about major court cases and the laws surrounding them, and they enhance their skills related to oral and written communication, critical thinking, analytical analysis, and problem solving. The certificate concludes with a capstone experience in which students apply this knowledge and these skills to other legal challenges. The certificate is available for both undergraduate and graduate students. 

Student at front of classroom teaching
  • Matriculated undergraduate students, in any major or undeclared, with a GPA of 2.0 or higher 
  • Matriculated graduate students with a GPA of 3.0 
  • Non-matriculated students with a bachelor’s or graduate degree 
  • Non-matriculated students who have not completed a bachelor’s degree must have completed courses equivalent to GE A2 (written composition) and the GWAR to be fully admitted. Students without one or both of these courses may be conditionally admitted and complete needed courses while taking certificate courses upon advisement. 
  • Non-matriculated students may take courses through open university as long as there is space in the classes and the instructor approves. 

The Division of Graduate Studies processes the award of both graduate and undergraduate certificates. The Certificate Approved Program form and instructions will be available soon on the Division of Graduate Studies website. Students fill out the form once the coursework is completed and have the form signed by the advisor and department chair. 

For undergraduate certificates: All courses for the certificate must be completed with a minimum GPA of 2.0. 

For graduate certificates: All courses for the certificate must be completed with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and only courses completed with a grade of C or better ca be used to satisfy the requirements of a certificate. 

Total Units Required: 15-20 

Pre-law Foundation (required) 

(Choose one of the following) (Units: 3-4):

  • PHIL 335: Law and Society (Units: 3)
    Prerequisite: GE Areas A1*, A2*, A3*, and B4* all with grades of C- or better or consent of the instructor. 
  • PLSI 478: Judicial Process (Units: 4)
    Prerequisite: Upper-division standing; PLSI 200; or consent of the instructor. 

Court Cases (required)

(Choose one of the following) (Units: 3-4): 

  • BECA 324: Law and Regulation of Electronic Media (Units: 3)
    Prerequisite: Priority Enrollment for Broadcast & Electronic Communication Arts Majors; BECA 200; or consent of the instructor. If the pre-law certificate is approved, BECA has agreed to give priority enrollment to students enrolled in that certificate program. 
  • COMM 564: Issues in Free Speech (Units: 4)
    Prerequisite: Restricted to upper-division Communication Studies majors and minors, Criminal Justice Studies majors, and Conflict Resolution Certificate students; GE Areas A1 and E. If the pre-law certificate is approved, COMM has agreed to include pre-law certificate students in the list of those who can take this course. 
  • JOUR 307: News Media Law (Units:3)
    Prerequisite: Restricted to upper-division standing. 
  • PHIL 378: Philosophy of Criminal Law (Units: 3)
    Prerequisite: GE Areas A1*, A2*, A3*, and B4* all with grades of C- or better or consent of the instructor. 
  • PHIL 379: Philosophy of Constitutional Interpretation (Units: 3)
    Prerequisite: Sophomore or higher standing; one lower-division composition course; or consent of the instructor. 
  • PLSI 481: Race and Public Law (Units: 4)
    Prerequisite: Upper-division standing; PLSI 200; or consent of the instructor. 
  • PLSI 552: Individual Rights and the Constitution (Units: 4)
    Prerequisite: Upper-division standing or consent of the instructor. 
  • PLSI 554: Separation of Powers and Federalism (Units: 4)
    Prerequisite: PLSI 478 or consent of the instructor. 

Legal Writing (required)

(Choose one of the following) (Units: 3-4): 

  • C J 335: Legal Writing and Research (Units: 4)
    Prerequisite: Restricted to upper-division standing; C J 300 (may be taken concurrently); a GWAR course; or consent of the instructor. 
  • PHIL 380: Philosophy of Law (Units: 3) 
    Prerequisite: GE Areas A1*, A2*, A3*, and B4* all with grades of C- or better or consent of the instructor. 
  • PLSI 308: Research and Writing for Public Law (Units: 4) 
    Prerequisite: Upper-division standing or consent of the instructor. 

Pre-law Capstone (required)

(Choose one of the following) (Units: 3-4): 

  • PHIL 680: Field Project in Philosophy (Units: 1-3)
    Prerequisite: GE Areas A1*, A2*, A3*, and B4* all with grades of C- or better or consent of the instructor. 
  • PLSI 555: Moot Court (4 units)
    Prerequisite: Upper-division standing or consent of the instructor. 
  • PLSI 610: Judicial and Legal Internship (Units: 3) and PLSI 611 (Units: 1) Judicial and Legal Internship Seminar
    Prerequisite: Upper-division standing; interview required; concurrent enrollment in PLSI 611; consent of the instructor. 

Pre-law Elective

(Choose one from those listed above not already taken, from the list below, or one approved by an advisor) (Units: 3-4): 

  • AFRS 375: Law and the Black Community (Units: 3)
    Prerequisite: Upper-division standing or consent of the instructor. 
  • AIS 205: American Indians and U.S. Laws (Units: 3)
    Prerequisite: none 
  • AIS 330: American Indian Law (Units: 3) 
    Prerequisite: GE Areas A1*, A2*, A3*, and B4* all with grades of C- or better or consent of the instructor. 
  • C J 435/LTNS 430: Race, Crime, and Justice (Units: 3) 
    Prerequisite: Prerequisite: GE Areas A1*, A2*, A3*, and B4* all with grades of C- or better or consent of the instructor. 
  • ECON 515: Economics of Crime and Justice (Units: 3) 
    Prerequisite: Upper-division standing or consent of the instructor. 
  • GEOG 668/PLSI 513/USP 513: Politics, Law, and the Urban Environment (Units: 4)
    Prerequisite: Upper-division standing or consent of the instructor. 
  • GPS 375/PHIL 375: Peace Law and Human Rights in the U.S. (Units: 3)
    Prerequisite: GE Areas A1*, A2*, A3*, and B4* all with grades of C- or better or consent of the instructor. 
  • HIST 318/JS 318: The Holocaust and Law: Complicity, Dissent, and Correction (Units: 3)
    Prerequisite: Upper-division standing or consent of the instructor. 
  • HIST 470: The U.S. Constitution to 1896 (Units: 3) 
    Prerequisite: Restricted to upper-division standing; GE Areas A1, A2, A3, B4, and E all with grades of C- or better or consent of the instructor. 
  • HIST 471: The U.S. Constitution since 1896 (Units: 3) 
    Prerequisite: Restricted to upper-division standing; GE Areas A1, A2, A3, B4, and E all with grades of C- or better or consent of the instructor. 
  • HIST 472: The Courts, Politics and Social Change in U.S. History 1880-2000 (Units: 3) 
    Prerequisite: Upper-division standing; GE Area E; or consent of the instructor. 
  • I R 330: World Law (Units: 4) 
    Prerequisite: Upper-division standing. 
  • I R 422/PLSI 422: Law and Courts in Comparative
    Perspective (Units: 4) Prerequisite: Upper-division standing or consent of the instructor. 
  • I R 436/PHIL 435: Human Rights in Global Perspective (Units: 3) 
    Prerequisite: GE Areas A1*, A2*, A3*, and B4* all with grades of C- or better or consent of the instructor. 
  • LABR 251: Know Your Work Rights (Units: 3) 
    Prerequisite: none 
  • LABR 555/SOC 555: Labor Rights in the Global Economy (Units: 3) 
    Prerequisite: Restricted to upper-division standing or consent of the instructor. 
  • LABR 650: Labor Law: An Introduction and Overview (Units: 3)
    Prerequisite: Upper-division standing or consent of the instructor. 
  • LS 402: Intro. to Human Rights Education for Teachers and Local Communities (Units: 3)
    Prerequisite: GE Areas A1*, A2*, A3*, and B4* all with grades of C- or better or consent of the instructor. 
  • PHIL 455/SXS 569: Sex and the Law (Units: 3) 
    Prerequisite: GE Areas A1*, A2*, A3*, and B4* all with grades of C- or better or consent of the instructor. 
  • PLSI 422: Law and Courts in Comparative Perspective (4 Units)
    Prerequisite: Upper-division standing or consent of the instructor. 
  • PLSI 553: Legal Issues (Units: 4) 
    Prerequisite: Upper-division standing or consent of the instructor. 
  • SOC 452: Juvenile Justice (Units: 3) 
    Prerequisites: Restricted to upper-division standing; GE Areas A1, A2, A3, and B4. 
  • SOC 457: Sociology of Law (Units: 4) 
    Prerequisites: Restricted to upper-division standing; GE Areas A1, A2, A3, and B4. 
  • WGS 534: Gender and the Law (Units: 3) 
    Prerequisite: GE Areas A1*, A2*, A3*, and B4* all with grades of C- or better or consent of the instructor. 
  • WGS 536: Gender, Globalization, and Women's Human Rights (Units: 3) 
    Prerequisite: GE Areas A1*, A2*, A3*, and B4* all with grades of C- or better or consent of the instructor. 

Other courses may be substituted upon approval by pre-law studies advisor Dr Nick Conway. 

Undergraduate – minimum of 12 units. No maximum is stipulated. No fewer than half of the units must be completed in residence. All courses must be completed with a minimum GPA of 2.0. Courses in a certificate can also be used to satisfy Complementary Studies, a credential, or GE. A maximum of 3 units of internship or independent study may be used in a certificate unless a specific exception has been granted. 

Graduate – must include a core of 9 graduate units. More units are allowed and no maximum is stipulated. At least one half but no less than 6 units must be graduate level courses. Only upper-division undergraduate courses can be used in a graduate certificate. Two-thirds of the units must be taken in residence. All courses must be completed with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and only courses completed with a grade of C or better can be used to satisfy the requirements of a certificate. Courses in a certificate may be used to satisfy requirements of a master’s degree.