The pre-law area of study is an advising category used to identify students advancing toward a law-related career goal. Students cannot declare a major or earn a degree in the pre-law area. Most students use their undergraduate academic program to develop the desired skill set for entry into law school and the legal profession. Students may select any UNL academic major while pursuing a pre-law area of study, and can temporarily select a major of “Pre-Law” through the Exploratory and Pre-Professional Advising Center (Explore Center) while they are exploring and determining which academic major they would like to declare.

Students who have a major and are also pursuing a pre-law area of study can receive pre-law guidance and advice from the Explore Center by declaring the pre-law category with their college advising office.


Law is the system we use to ensure order and justice for individuals and communities within our society. The broad nature of the legal field allows people to work with the law in a number of ways. Litigation (trial practice), representative practice, legal planning, education, and adjudication (becoming a judge) are traditional ways in which people work directly with the law. However, a legal education is useful and may be applied to a variety of other fields such as business, insurance, government, writing, resource management, or publishing.

High School Preparation

Students planning to pursue advanced work in the pre-law program should begin with a strong college preparatory course program in high school. In addition to meeting the University entrance requirements, it is recommended that pre-law students finish four years of the same foreign language in high school.


Program Admission

Students who have met the overall University admission requirements established by the Board of Regents are eligible for admission to the Explore Center. The University admission requirements are outlined in detail on the Admissions website.

Some UNL colleges have admission requirements in addition to the overall University admission requirements, and pre-law students will be advised accordingly as they choose the majors they would like to pursue.

Admission Deficiencies/Removal of Deficiencies

Because admission requirements establish the level of knowledge and skills which are needed for a student to succeed at UNL, students who are admitted with core course deficiencies in foreign language and geometry are expected to quickly remove them. Deficiencies must be removed before a student is eligible for graduation.


Professional academic advisors in the Explore Center engage pre-law students in major exploration, degree planning, and academic course work selection processes. By working closely with all of the UNL colleges, Explore Center advisors can help students design a general academic plan for one or more semesters that will allow them to progress toward a degree, while also exploring the variety of opportunities offered by the University. Students are encouraged to enroll in exploratory courses to help identify majors of interest. Additionally, all UNL students are required to complete the Achievement-Centered Education (ACE) requirements.

Pre-law students are encouraged to meet with a professional academic advisor in the Explore Center early in their first semester at UNL to discuss interest areas and to develop a plan for major exploration. Pre-law students should continue to meet with an Explore Center advisor at least once per semester and participate in Explore Center workshops until they have declared their major. Additional information concerning major exploration can be found on the Explore Center website.

Students are assigned to a professional academic advisor in the Explore Center but may see any advisor in the Center. Professional advisors in the Explore Center are available on an appointment and/or walk-in basis Monday through Friday in 127 Love (Library) South and can be reached at 402-472-3605 or

Academic Policies

Academic Load

Pre-law students may enroll in a maximum of 18 credits in the fall and spring semesters. Students should refer to the Office of the University Registrar's website to determine the number of credits they may enroll in for each of the summer sessions.

Grade Rules

Pass/No Pass

The Pass/No Pass grading option was designed to enable students to take courses in areas of interest where they may feel they have had minimal preparation without adversely affecting their grade point average. Grades of P (pass) are interpreted as a grade of C or better. Neither grade P or NP (no pass) contributes to the grade point average.

Pre-law students should always seek assistance from an Explore Center advisor in determining whether they should take a course through the Pass/No Pass option. Students may or may not be able to take courses Pass/No Pass depending on their intended majors.

Student Recognition

Pre-law students who complete at least 12 graded semester hours with a 3.60 GPA are eligible for the Explore Center List of Distinguished Students.

Transfer Credit Rules

The Explore Center does not offer a degree and advisors do not make transfer evaluation decisions. The determination of which transfer courses will meet graduation requirements in a specific college cannot be made until the student declares a specific major within one of the UNL undergraduate degree-granting colleges.

College Requirements

ACE Requirements

Consistent with the mission and values of the University, Achievement-Centered Education (ACE) is based on a shared set of four institutional objectives and 10 student learning outcomes. The ACE program was approved by faculty in all eight undergraduate colleges and endorsed by the Faculty Senate, the student government, and the Academic Planning Committee in January 2008 for implementation in the fall 2009. ACE aligns with current national initiatives in general education.

Key characteristics of ACE that demonstrate the benefits of the program to students:

  • Students receive a broad education with exposure to multiple disciplines, critical life skills and important reasoning, inquiry, and civic capacities.
  • ACE is simple and transparent for students, faculty and advisors. Students complete the equivalent of 3 credit hours for each of the ten student learning outcomes.
  • Students connect and integrate their ACE experiences with their selected major.
  • Students can transfer all ACE certified courses across colleges within the institution to meet the ACE requirement and any course from outside the institution that is directly equivalent to a UNL ACE-certified course. Courses from outside institutions without direct equivalents may be considered with appropriate documentation for ACE credit (see academic advisor).

ACE allows faculty to assess and improve their effectiveness and facilitate students’ learning.

ACE Institutional Objectives and Student Learning Outcomes

To meet the ACE program requirement, a student will complete the equivalent of 3 credit hours for each of the ten ACE Student Learning Outcomes (a total of 30 ACE credit hours). See the ACE website for the most current information and the most recently certified courses. Students should meet with an Explore Center advisor to discuss the planning and completion of ACE courses and requirements.