Upper-level courses in SSPR encourage students to produce research projects, an experience which provides strong preparation for graduate school. Students often present their research at professional and undergraduate conference. Students' papers have been published in books, undergraduate journals and other publications.
BVU majors in the humanities and social sciences - though academically intensive - frequently have relatively small core curriculum requirements. This encourages students to take classes in which they are interested both in and outside their majors. The course offerings for many academic programs are on two-year rotations, allowing students to declare majors midway through their undergraduate experiences. SSPR majors are also easily combined with other majors and minors to create personalized preparations for specific career fields. Degree combinations like political science and communication studies (for example) could lead to work as a campaign manager, while biology and psychology make an ideal combination for continued research on the intersection of the physical and psychological workings of the human mind.
Though few universities and colleges have programs named "pre-law", students planning to go into legal professions can prepare for law school by taking a variety of majors, many of them in the humanities and social sciences.
"Most students come to political science out of a general interest in political life or the law," says Dr. Brad Best, associate professor of political science. "To help this, we've consistently added one new preparatory law course every few semesters, such as Introduction to American Law and Legal Research & Writing."
"In our curriculum, we seek to develop in students a comprehensive awareness of the history of American law and the common law tradition," says Lisa Kesting-Best, associate professor of political science and an attorney. "Increasingly, we are teaching content that places developments in American law and courts in comparative and global perspectives."
Political science, however, is not the only path to law school. The communication, analytic and critical thinking skills developed in humanities majors also provide strong preparation for continued study. "Critical thinking is hard work," says Dr. Laura Bernhardt, associate professor of philosophy. "Learning how to make your argument is a very important skill. A philosophy degree, in terms of the skills it develops, is a great prep for pre-law. I was the only philosophy major I knew in graduate school who didn't go to law school. A lot of students in my logic class are people prepping for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT)."