Law is a professional degree program and is not offered as an undergraduate major. Students applying to Iowa may declare a pre-law designation on their application to receive specialized advising and preparatory course work as undergraduates. This designation means you eventually intend to apply to a law school.

Why Study at Iowa

The University of Iowa College of Law has a reputation for excellence. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks the college among the top 10 public law schools.

When students enter the College of Law, they become part of a proud history. The College, founded in 1865, is the oldest law school in continuous operation west of the Mississippi River. 

The college offers a broad and diverse curriculum with particular strengths in public law, international and comparative law, intellectual property, and corporate law. Iowa's emphasis on legal writing throughout all three years of study is recognized nationally. 

Students gain a solid foundation for a lifetime of professional growth, including a thorough familiarity with legal principles and the operation of legal institutions, fundamental lawyers’ skills (particularly writing), and an appreciation of the role of law and lawyers in society.

The college cultivates student participation in the learning process and creates regular opportunities for individuals and small groups to engage challenging teachers genuinely interested in each student’s professional development.

A wide array of opportunities provides experiential learning: moot court competitions, our Clinical Law Program where students take the lead in real cases or writing for one of the school's four student-run scholarly journals. Our externship program provides a wide range of placements while you're still in law school--our students have worked in U.S. District Courts, legal aid centers, federal public defenders' offices, and non-governmental organizations around the world. You also may add distinction to your resume by participating in study-abroad or exchange programs. 

Course Work

The College of Law considers applicants with any undergraduate major. There is no single undergraduate major that best prepares students for entry into law school. You are encouraged to choose an area of study that genuinely interests and challenges you and to pursue opportunities that will help you to strengthen your research and writing skills. Taking a broad range of difficult courses from demanding instructors is excellent preparation for law school. 

If you declare a pre-law designation as an Iowa undergraduate student, you will work with a pre-law adviser at the Academic Advising Center.

The first year of the Iowa Law program offers the personal connection and attention you need to develop a strong intellectual foundation for legal thinking and writing.

In your second and third years, you can focus on areas of law that most interest you, drawing from a rich menu of mainstream, specialized, and clinical courses. 

You'll also get intensive, individualized instruction from our legal writing faculty. Iowa is one of the few law schools in the nation with a full-time faculty dedicated solely to your growth as a legal writer.

We boast a low student-to-faculty ratio and our professors take pride in having an open-door policy and in modeling the kind of highly collaborative, rigorously professional behavior that prepares you to serve as counselor to your clients.

Review the College of Law in the UI General Catalog to learn more about the JD degree and for details on admission to the College of Law.

Admission Requirements

Before beginning law school, you must complete all of the requirements for your undergraduate degree. Review our Areas of Study to see the admission requirements associated with your undergraduate degree program.

Admission to the College of Law is competitive, and fulfilling the basic admission requirements does not guarantee acceptance. Multiple admission criteria are used to determine which applicants’ admission will best advance the College of Law’s mission. Your undergraduate academic record and Law School Admission Test (LSAT) performance are two important criteria.

In the College of Law's most recent entering class, the median Grade-Point Average (GPA) was 3.61 and the median LSAT score was 161.

The college recognizes that GPA and test scores may not provide a complete assessment of an applicant’s ability to succeed at studying law, so the admission committee also considers factors such as special academic or professional abilities, extracurricular activities, public service commitment, and leadership roles.

3+3 Program

The UI College of Law's 3+3 Program allows undergraduate students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to earn their bachelor's and law degrees in six years, saving a year of tuition and other costs.

Students apply to the UI law school at the start of their junior year and, if they are accepted, begin attending law school during what would have been their senior year. The credits earned during the first year of law school also will apply to their undergraduate degree.

Learn more about the 3+3 Program, or contact the College of Law Admissions Office (319/335-9095).

Admission Requirements Tabs

Student Opportunities

In addition to nearly 600 student organizations, Iowa students choose from multiple study abroad programs and undergraduate research opportunities

Faculty, Facilities, and Resources

The college is housed in the Boyd Law Building, high above the western bank of the Iowa River. Small seminar rooms, a newly renovated law commons, and special-purpose learning areas are situated throughout the building, allowing students and faculty members to work together in close professional interaction. The largest classroom seats only 100 people. 

The University of Iowa Law Library offers an exceptional legal research collection of print and electronic resources relating to U.S. domestic, international, foreign, and comparative law. One of the most comprehensive collections of legal materials in the country, it contains more than 1.4 million bound volumes and microform equivalents and over 1 million separately cataloged titles as of July 2018.

A particular strength of the Law Library is its collection of U.S. legal materials. The Law Library is a depository for U.S. government publications and collects Iowa state documents. The Law Library also holds an exceptionally strong collection of materials in foreign, comparative, and international law. 


College of Law graduates build meaningful and significant lives by integrating rigorous legal training with rich professional and civic engagement. The college works with each student who is seeking employment. Each year more than 92 percent of law graduates are employed 10 months after graduation, and bar exam passage rates exceed national averages. 

Employers view Iowa Law students and alumni as high-quality, hard-working, and engaged employees. Each year, more than 100 employers recruit students through on-campus and consortium-based interview programs.

In addition, students create successful paths in judicial clerkships, government, public service, and business by networking with alumni and pursuing meaningful work during their first and second summers in law school.

Our alumni can be found in the halls of Congress, on Indian reservations, and in classrooms, courtrooms, and boardrooms in every state in the nation and in countries around the world. They are state and federal judges, appointed officials, elected leaders, law professors, law deans, and university presidents. As corporate counsel, they advise business leaders, and, as chief executive officers, they run businesses.

Application Process

Application Process Tabs

The college to which you should apply for your undergraduate degree will vary depending on your major. Review the Areas of Study to determine the application process associated with that major. Indicate your "Pre-Law" interest on your application to receive specialized advising.


Preprofessional Program(s)
Preparatory Course Work for JD Program Applicants
Competitive Admission
to the JD program