Our Path for Aspiring Lawyers
The Honors College offers two USC paths for aspiring lawyers. Our partnership program with the Joseph F. Rice School of Law grants Honors College students a simple and abbreviated admission process.
Honors students can also take advantage of our fast-track 3+3 Bachelor's/JD program, which combines undergraduate and law school credits so that students can earn a law degree in just six years.
Most pre-law Honors College students also take advantage of our robust pre-law course offerings during their time as undergraduates. These courses change from semester to semester and often fulfill other academic requirements.
Joseph F. Rice School of Law Admission Partnership Program
Our partnership program means that qualified Honors College graduates are automatically admitted to the Joseph F. Rice School of Law, provided that they meet the following requirements.
- graduate with a 3.5 GPA with honors from the Honors College
- receive an LSAT score of at least 158
- meet the character and fitness standards for admission
- provide a letter of support from the dean of the Honors College
All applicants will be eligible for scholarship review. South Carolina residents who earn a 160 or higher on the LSAT will receive financial support of at least $5,000 per year. Nonresidents who earn a 160 or higher on their LSATS will receive substantially reduced tuition.
3+3 Bachelor's / JD Degree
This program enables qualified South Carolina Honors College students to earn a bachelor's degree and the JD degree in six years rather than the typical seven years if both degrees are pursued in the normal pattern. This accelerated program enables high ability students to save two semesters of tuition plus a year in the classroom and to move more quickly into the coursework and activities of the Joseph F. Rice School of Law. All Honors requirements must be fulfilled in three years and the law school first year classes count as electives for the BS(BA) degree. In the fourth year of this six-year program, students take a normal first-year, full-time, law school course load of 30 hours (15 hours in fall semester and 15 hours in spring semester).
Honors students who are interested in this opportunity should consult with their Honors College academic advisor and their major advisor during their sophomore year to learn more about the requirements and to discuss a timetable for completing all undergraduate degree requirements and Honors requirements.
Students in the program can participate in Revocation with their graduating class, which would be at the end of their first year of law school.
No. Students enroll in the senior thesis class in their third year before beginning law school. First year law students are discouraged from working, so the Joseph F. Rice School of Law would strongly discourage a plan to complete the honors thesis while enrolled in first-year law classes. The law school has strict class attendance policies and first year law students are fully immersed in their courses. Students can use first year law courses to fulfill remaining bachelor degree electives.
At this time, the unused fourth year funding through your general university scholarship and/or state scholarship could be used to fund the first year of law school if you do not earn your BA or BS degree by the end of your third year. Interested students should consult with the university’s financial aid office for specific information about funding.
You could be awarded a law scholarship, in addition to undergraduate scholarships for the hybrid year, if you stay within the federal cost of attendance budget, including the value of the Palmetto Fellows award. All South Carolina residents who obtain a LSAT score of 160 or higher will receive at least $5,000 of financial support per year from the Joseph F. Rice School of Law. Students who are admitted to the School of Law would be considered for any scholarship funding available.
To be eligible for the 3+3 Bachelor’s/JD, the Joseph F. Rice School of Law strongly prefers candidates with a minimum 3.5 cumulative UGPA, a 160 LSAT score. You must also meet character and fitness guidelines. The undergraduate grade point average at the end of the fall semester of the junior year in the Honors College would be the point of measurement for the UGPA.
Candidates are encouraged to consult with the Honors College advisor as soon as they decide to pursue this opportunity to make sure that they are on track to complete their degree requirements. Please speak with the admissions staff at the Joseph F. Rice School of Law to discuss the admissions application requirements and timetable. Generally, the application for admission should be completed by January of the junior year in order to begin law school in August of the fourth year. If application requirements are completed by January, students typically receive an admissions decision no later than March of the junior year.
The Joseph F. Rice School of Law recommends that you take the LSAT during the summer between your sophomore and junior year, and no later than December of your junior year. The LSAT is currently offered 9 times per year.
Consistent with general admissions procedure for law schools and reporting requirements to accrediting agencies, the cumulative undergraduate grade point average will be considered in all law school admissions and scholarship decisions. Hours earned in a dual enrollment program are considered in our decision-making process. The Joseph F. Rice School of Law follows the Law School Admission Council’s transcript evaluation service guidelines for the evaluation of all credits earned.
Other Law Schools
While the advantage of going to USC's Joseph F. Rice School of Law is undeniable, if you're interested in other law schools, you'll also receive personalized attention and advice on how to successfully apply wherever you choose to go. We encourage you to contact the Office of Pre-Professional Advising as soon as you decide to identify as pre-law. Through that office, you can also take advantage of programs like the Maymester study abroad option offered in partnership with the Department of Political Science.