1. What should you do after graduating? If you are like many Claremont students, you may be thinking of law school. Read the reflections of Amber Taylor (CMC `02, Harvard Law `05). Also ponder the thoughts of another law grad. Also see informative article in The Hill on choosing between law school and policy school. The Wall Street Journal has sobering news on job prospects. Here is some very sound advice from Wheaton College:
Pre-law students often assume that a certain major will give them an advantage both getting into law school and as a law student. This assumption is a mistaken one. While law schools do focus heavily on LSAT scores and GPAs, they are far less concerned about an applicantís major. Unlike an LSAT score, which correlates with a studentís performance during the first year of law school, there is no such correlation between an undergraduate major and success in law school. Students who are successful in law school and who become accomplished lawyers have majored in subjects that are traditionally considered paths to law school, such as political science, history, English, philosophy, or economics, while others have majored in areas as diverse as art, music, Biblical studies, physics, and biology. Mastering any discipline in-depth is useful experience for law school.
You should major in a discipline that interests you for several reasons. First, law schools donít care about your major. Second, you may ultimately decide not to go to law school, and it would be a shame to major in a discipline just because you thought you should for law school. Third, law schools do care about your GPA, and presumably you will achieve your full potential academically in a discipline that engages you.
You should not take undergraduate law courses ... unless such a course of study interests you and is not preventing you from taking courses that interest you more. While these courses are rigorous and have academic value, they will not give you an edge in getting into law school or give you a sustaining advantage in law school. However, if these courses do not interest you, you should understand why or reexamine your motives for going to law school.
2. See below for information on MPP, MPA and Ph.D. programs. Please remember that graduate and professional schools may not always keep their WWW information up to date. Before making any final decisions, get in touch with the institutions in question.
Ph.D. Programs in Political Science
Updated October 26, 2011.