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  • Bachelor of Arts Major
  • Minor
  • Erie, Pennsylvania

Gannon provides students with exposure to an array of impressive speakers like former Pennsylvania Governor and first U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, bringing the real world of government, policy making and leadership into the classroom.

  • GU Possibilities
    • A recent graduate serves as the western Pennsylvania director for the office of U.S. Senator Pat Toomey.
    • A pre-law student who studied Chinese traveled to China through his participation in Gannon’s ROTC program. He was also a student fellow at the Center for the Study of the Presidency in Washington, D.C.
    • Gannon provides students with exposure to an array of impressive speakers, including former Pennsylvania Governor and first U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, bringing the real world of government, policy making and leadership into the classroom.
    • Gannon sponsors one of the oldest Model U.N. programs in the country. Students gain valuable global leadership experience through their participation in this program.

    You Will Learn

    For students interested in legal areas such as corporate practice, government, politics, private practice, public interest law, civil and criminal law or patent and copyright law, The Charles W. Deaner, Esq. ’48 Pre-Law Program can lead to an exploration of the options in preparation to enter law school or the legal field.

    Individuals expressing an interest in pre-law are initially placed in a sequence of courses in their freshman and sophomore years that introduce them to many of the major fields. Students will work closely with their advisor to choose a degree path that will enhance their opportunities and career choices.

    Pre-law students are engaged in interesting coursework, challenged to think critically and objectively and encouraged to take part in internship opportunities that offer valuable connections and experiences that will prepare students for a career. 

    You Will Experience

    The location of the University in the heart of the Erie legal community makes it possible for students to experience internship opportunities in a wide variety of settings that include:

    • banks
    • corporations
    • courts (tipstaff, clerks, district attorney, public defender, etc.)
    • insurance companies
    • law firms
    • real estate offices

    You Will Achieve

    Graduates pursuing preparation for attendance in law schools have had great success in acceptance. Many have employment opportunities in the legal field soon after completion of the Legal Studies Certificate, which can be completed within the first two years of their education, if properly planned and in conjunction with their four-year degree. Such opportunities include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • Charlotte School of Law  
    • Cleveland Marshall School of Law        
    • Duquesne University School of Law        
    • Indianapolis School of Law  
    • Nova Southeastern School of Law        
    • University of Dayton Law School  
    • University of Pittsburgh School of Law        

    You Will Earn

    Salaries in the field vary depending on the location and type of organization.

    • arbitrators, mediators and conciliators $61,280
    • court reporters $48,160
    • judges $102,980
    • lawyers $75,000 or more
    • paralegals and legal assistants$46,990

    All salary information is compiled from data gathered from the Bureau of Labor Statistics ( and/or PayScale (  

    You Will Study

    Example Course Descriptions

    Students in the The Charles W. Deaner, Esq. ’48 Pre-Law Program are able to choose their own field of concentration and plan a course of study that seems best suited to their individual interests and attitudes, including, but not limited to a legal studies major or certificate, which can be accomplished by incorporation into their bachelor’s degree of choice. Examples of the various core and elective courses include:

    PLAW 260: Introduction to Law in Society 

    This course introduces students to various topics, including legal institutions and processes, evolution of the American legal system, major substantive areas of law, legal reasoning and the adversarial process and the role of attorneys and courts in American society.

    PLAW 357: Legal Analysis and Persuasion 

    This course introduces students to the fundamentals of legal thinking, including the critical examination of case law, statutory law and other written materials. Applying this legal analysis, students learn to persuade a targeted audience in both written and oral forms. Classroom exercises include briefs, mock appellate arguments and mock trial.

    PLAW 380: Career Preparation in Law 

    This course introduces students to the mechanics of preparing for legal careers that includes the exam needed to gain acceptance to law school. It is practical in nature and helps the student learn how to study for the exam and practice problems that will be given in the test.

    Liberal Studies Core

    The Liberal Studies Core Curriculum is one reflection of Gannon University's commitment to its Catholic identity. The Core's design offers students a defined, integrated, shared experience as the foundation for their undergraduate program.