Pre-Law Scholars Program

How the Program Works

The Pre-law Scholars program allows you to reduce from seven years to six years the total time needed to complete your bachelor's and law degrees. A typical bachelor's degree program in the Diederich College of Communication consists of three parts: university core curriculum requirements, Diederich College requirements and requirements within a particular major.

In your first three years of the Pre-law Scholars program, you will complete core curriculum requirements, the majority of the Diederich College requirements and all requirements in your major. Courses taken in the Law School during your fourth year will substitute for the college minor requirement toward your bachelor’s degree and toward the completion of your law degree. You are essentially applying the credits for the courses you take in your first year of law school twice. The majors you may choose to pursue are:

Admission Requirements

Your admission to this program guarantees you a place in Marquette Law School's first-year class after you complete your third year of undergraduate studies in the Diederich College of Communication provided you meet the following requirements:

  • Earn a minimum of 99 credits
  • Achieve a score on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) that is equal to or greater than the median score of the preceding year’s entering class at Marquette Law School. For example, the median LSAT for the Fall 2009 entering class was 157. If the Scholar takes the LSAT more than once, the Law School’s admissions committee will consider the highest score. Scholars should keep in mind that the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) permits a candidate to take no more than three tests in a two-year period.
  • Achieve a cumulative grade point average that is equal to or greater than the median grade point average of the preceding year’s entering class. In most recent years, the median cumulative undergraduate grade point average of the Law School’s entering class has been at or around 3.40.
  • Meet the Law School's standards for character and fitness.

You should know that, while the Law School is bound to hold your place when you meet all of these requirements, you are not bound to the Law School. If, at any point in the program, you decide that law school or the practice of law is not for you, you are not obligated to attend Marquette's Law School, or even to enter the profession. You can stay at Marquette and complete your undergraduate degree in the major(s) you have chosen. Note, for students in the Diederich College of Communication, this means that you will have to complete a minor (or second major) as do other Diederich College students not admitted into the Pre-law Scholars program.

Curriculum Advising

One of the things that will be the key to your success, and, ultimately, that of the entire program, is a sound advising system. We realize that we are asking you to make a big academic and life decision and thus intend to work with you every step of the way to ensure that you are confident in your decision to be in this program and to attend law school. Your adviser will help you to ask questions of yourself, to reflect upon your academic and social experiences, and to continue to evaluate how you are progressing in the program.

Financial Aid

Since you will be spending only three undergraduate years at Marquette, the financial aid and scholarships you receive will be applicable only to your first three years at Marquette. After you complete your first three years, you must apply for financial aid and scholarships through the Law School, rather than your undergraduate college.

Since the criteria for admission to the Pre-Law Scholars Program match the criteria for many of the merit-based scholarships awarded by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, it is highly probable that the students in the program will also receive merit-based scholarships to Marquette University.

It is important to note that these scholarships, while they are renewable for each of four years at the university, are only for undergraduate study. As a result, the students would only be able to apply these scholarships to their first three years at Marquette, since they will no longer be undergraduates once they begin their classes in the Law School. The fourth year of the scholarship will be forfeited.

Pre-Law Scholars would be eligible to apply in their third year for any Law School financial aid and scholarships that would be available to them for their first year in the Law School.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q: What happens if I want to take one more undergraduate year?
    A: You may discover during your third year that you'd like to spend one more year in your undergraduate program. If you should choose to do so, you will, of course, not be able to start in the Law School in your fourth year. However, as long as you continue to earn the minimum required grade point average and achieve the requisite score on the LSAT, you will be admitted to the Law School after the additional year just as you would have been admitted after your third undergraduate year. Also, if you complete a fourth year in the Diederich College, you will be expected to complete a minor, as is required of other students in the Diederich College.
  • Q: Can I study abroad?
    A: Yes, if you can fit it into your three-year program or by taking the fourth year option. Careful selection of coursework will ensure fulfillment of all requirements.
  • Q: How are academic honors for Pre-Law Scholars calculated?
    A: The Diederich College of Communication will base its calculations for academic honors on all credits that will count toward the bachelor's degree including all courses taken the first three years as well as those earned through the Law School in year four.
  • Q: Can I switch colleges?
    A: The College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Business participate in the Pre-Law Scholars program and as such transfer to one of those colleges is theoretically possible. Approval, however, is required to do so.

How Grades Earned in the Law School Affect Undergraduate Credits

The Diederich College of Communication will accept for credit all Law School classes in which the student earns at least a grade of "D", the minimum necessary to earn credit for a course in the Law School.

A student must earn 128 credits through his or her courses in the College of Communication and the Law School in order to earn a bachelor's degree. If a student were to earn a grade lower than “D” in the first year of Law School, that student, in order to earn the bachelor's degree must make up those credits. This may be done by retaking the Law School course (which would have to happen anyway), or by taking an undergraduate course that fulfills credit requirements for the College of Communication.

Graduation/Bachelor’s Degree

Scholars will walk through the May graduation ceremony. However, because Law School grades are not posted until June, Pre-Law Scholars will not receive their diploma for their bachelor’s degree until August of the fourth year. Since cumulative GPA is calculated only after completion of the fourth year, graduation honors are determined at that point.

Admission to the Pre-Law Scholar's Program (prior to Freshman year)

The Pre-Law Scholars Selection Committee, comprised of members of the Diederich College of Communication and the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, will give primary consideration to high school students who have followed a rigorous college preparatory curriculum and who have demonstrated a potential for success by fulfilling the criteria below:

  • Application: Students will provide two applications for the program; the Application for Undergraduate Admission and a separate application for the Pre-Law Scholars program.
  • High school class rank (if available): Upper 10 percent
  • Test Scores: SAT combined score of 1260 or ACT composite score of 28
  • Essay: “In 350 to 500 words, describe what personal and educational experiences you have had that have stimulated your interest in a law career.”

Deadlines and Notification

This application process coincides with the university's other scholarship competition deadlines, which generally fall on or shortly after February 1. Notification of winners would occur in early March, thereby allowing students ample time to weigh their options.

Download Application for the Program

To apply to the pre-law scholars program, download this pdf application for admission, fill it out and mail it to the address for undergraduate admissions, provided on the application form.


High school students applying to Marquette who are interested in learning more should contact Eric Foley in the Office of Admissions at or 414-288-4087.

Current students in the College of Communication should contact Erik Ugland ( or 414-288-3494).

Current students in the College of Business should contact Beth Krey ( or 414-288-7142).

Current students in the College of Arts and Sciences should contact Cara Hoppe ( or 414-288-7059).