Is Psychology a Good Major for Law School?

How a Psychology Degree Can Help You Get into Law School

So, you have a psychology degree, but would like to delve into the legal world – Can you get into law school with this degree or should you start over, and attain a pre-law degree or something like it?

A common misconception amongst college graduates, who have psychology degrees, is that they must stay within the psychology field, upon entering graduate school, and/or deciding a career path. The good news is a psychology degree (undergrad or graduate) does not have to automatically lead to a career, as a psychologist, therapist, psychotherapist, mental health provider, clinician, counselor, or a psychology professor. and attain a pre-law degree or something like it?

It also does not  mean you have to stay within the field of psychology, when pursuing an advanced degree. Although, there are plenty of opportunities available for college grads, who want to help those grappling with mental health conditions, emotional issues, adjustment concerns, and/or psychological distress, there are also plenty of non-clinical jobs that can and will utilize a psychology degree. and attain a pre-law degree or something like it?

So, if you majored in psychology in undergrad or even graduate school, but would like to pursue a job in the legal field, you are in luck! Most law schools will accept your psychology degree. But, why is that? Well, keep reading and you will find out just how valuable your degree really is in the workforce.

Psychology Degree for Law School

The good news is that admission to the law school of your dreams is right around the corner, even if you only hold a psychology degree. How is that? Well, graduate school, regardless of the major or focus, works independently from your undergrad field. In other words, even if you received a degree in psychology, you can change your path once you enter grad school. Cool, huh? So, let’s say you got a degree in psychology, but decided law is more you “thing.” Well, all you have to do is apply for a spot at a law school, get accepted, attend law school, take the Bar, and become a top-notch attorney. Easy, right? No…but so totally worth it. and attain a pre-law degree or something like it?

So, no specific fields of study or pre-requisite courses are required to enter and excel at law school. And, guess what? Psychology is one of the most popular “non-law” majors chosen by pre-law students. Why is that? Well, probably because the practice of law requires an ability to carefully assess and analyze problems, research the issues, gather important information, so you can understand, treat, and resolve these problems, and communicate your research, data, and any other relevant intel to your client, his/her family, and others involved in his/her life. Therefore, research, analyzation, and communication skills are paramount for a successful law career. All of these essential skills can be attained through the study of psychology. and attain a pre-law degree or something like it?

A variety of psychology courses can help you get into law school, and become a successful attorney, such as: Psychology & Law, Children & Law, Cognitive Psychology, Clinical Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Forensic Psychology, and Cognitive Science. These courses help you learn more about why people do the things they do, and how their perception and interpretation of a situation (among many other factors,) can influence what they remember, and how jurors interpret evidence. These skills can be an advantage in the court room, which is why law schools typically look for candidates, who have them.

Moreover, courses in Developmental Psychology and others like it, focus on children and how they are impacted by law. This is a plus, if you have a genuine interest in juvenile and/or family law. Furthermore, most law schools will definitely take notice, if you took Social Psychology & Close Relationships, Psychology of Attitudes, and/or Stereotyping & Prejudice in psychology program, and can apply techniques of persuasion and interpretation of the evidence to court cases.Lastly, courses in Psychopathology & Clinical Psychology can help you better understand the role mental illness plays in criminal behavior, so you can find a plausible and realistic defense for your client. This knowledge, along with your skills (acquired from you psychology program) will help you stand out, when you apply for law school. So, when applying for admission, highlight your psychology education and your corresponding skills. It will not steer you wrong.

In Summary…

While it is true that psychology and law are two different fields of study, the American Psychological Association (APA) asserts that the key denominator in both career paths involves behavior– other people’s actions and the motivation behind those actions. Keep in mind that the goal of an attorney is to focus on the “after-effects” or outcome of one’s actions. For instance, if a client robs a store, a psychology degree would be beneficial, because psychology students are taught to identify key factors that may have contributed to the motivation of the robber. They also are taught to quickly notice warning signs and connect-the-dots. Ultimately, those with psychology degrees strive to understand what influences behavior, which is very useful in the court room. So, think of your psychology as an advantage instead of determent. Trust me, you have all the skills needed to excel in law school. Good luck!

Written By

Dr. R. Y. Langham holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Fisk University, a Master of Marriage and Family Therapy (M.M.F.T.) in Marriage and Family Therapy from Trevecca Nazarene University and a Ph.D. in Family Psychology from Capella University. She is currently a medical, health & wellness contributor, copywriter, researcher and psychological consultant for Livestrong magazine and Dr. R. Y. Langham also has over a decade of experience writing, and editing medical, health & wellness, dating, marriage, love, and psychological articles for a variety of popular magazines, newspapers, companies, and websites. Moreover, she was the Medical Review copyeditor for CIGNA, a health insurance company, for 3 years. In 2011, published her first psychological thriller, “Fallen Apple.”

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