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School of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs Pre-Law

PPPA provides an interdisciplinary approach to law,

with both Philosophy and Political Science tracks for Pre-Law majors.


Featuring experiential learning programs focused on preparation for the legal field, including Ethics Bowl, Mock Trial, Pre-Law Society, and the Pre-Law Resource Center, WSU’s premier pre-law programs within PPPA aim to see you succeed in your legal career.


A mock trial team member questions a "witness" before the "judge" and other student "attorneys."

Man with dark shoulder length hair in front of a classroom, with a several students in the foreground.

PPPA offers one of the most diverse pre-law curricula, with specific courses in:


  • The Constitution
  • Civil Rights & Civil Liberties
  • Judicial Politics
  • Philosophy of Law
  • And more!

Political Science Pre-Law

Stock photo of the Supreme Court building's front stairs against blue skies.

As one of the three branches of American government, the judicial branch is an integral part of our political system, and our Political Science Pre-Law degree is the foundation to find success in your legal career. This option is designed to prepare students for law school and eventual careers in law with curriculum that reflects recommendations of the Association of American Law Schools.

Philosophy Pre-Law

Our Philosophy Pre-Law major places less emphasis on the history of philosophy and incorporates more ethics, more writing, and a foundation in political science. In addition, it allows more opportunity for a broad study in supporting areas of the liberal arts. Philosophy majors generally outperform students from almost all other disciplines when it comes to performance on the LSAT.

Ethics Bowl

The Ethics Bowl is a regional and a national debate competition, organized by the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics (APPE). Ethics Bowl is open to all undergraduates with an interest in applied ethics and improving their debating skills. PPPA faculty members coach the members of Ethics Bowl for their competition.


Mock Trial

Mock Trial is both a club and a class, led by a local attorney. This dynamic group will master the American Mock Trial Association’s annual case problem and compete against other colleges and universities from across the United States. The students must master specific roles as either witnesses or attorneys and the work is a combination of legal trial practice and theater.

Pre-Law Society

The Pre-Law Society promotes the personal and professional development of our membership with the goal of engaging with guest speakers from the legal field, law school admissions, internship facilitation and preparation for the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT). Our faculty advises the Pre-law Society.

WSU alumnus Judge John Rossmeissl enthusiastically makes a point while talking with the Mock Trial Team.

Pre-Law Resource Center

The PLRC, run by the Foley Institute, welcomes students to learn more about the law school admissions process, legal education and legal profession. The Center offers personalized advising for law school admissions, access to LSAT materials, speakers, and internship opportunities. The PLRC is directed by PPPA faculty.




Emily Banaszynski

2022, BA Philosophy Pre-Law Major & Political Science Minor

Where are they now?
After graduating from WSU, Emily was offered a scholarship for Gonzaga University and is currently attending the Executive Two Year Juris Doctor program with an anticipated graduation date of May 2024.

Dan Mistak

2009, Philosophy – Biomedical Ethics

Where are they now?
Dan is the Director of Health Care Initiatives for Justice-Involved Individuals at Community Oriented Correctional Health Services, which aims to connect community systems of care to improved health care behind the walls of the jail. After graduating from WSU, Dan went to UC Berkeley’s School of Law where he graduated with his Juris Doctor.

McKinnon H. Gheen, Attorney

2008, BA Philosophy – Pre-Law

Where are they now?
McKinnon graduated from WSU, then went to Willamette University for her Juris Doctor, and currently practices Estate Planning, Probate and Real Estate Law in the Seattle area at the Hanson Baker Law Firm.


A pre-law degree from PPPA offers you the resources of both political science and philosophy faculty.

Featured Faculty

Dr. Michael Salamone

Dr. Michael Salamone studies institutional legitimacy, judicial politics and public perceptions of courts, with emphasis on the Supreme Court of the United States.

Dr. Salamone regularly teaches Law, Courts and Judicial Politics, and The Judicial Process.

Michael Salamone.

Erin Tomlin, Esq.

Erin Tomlin is the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs at the University of Idaho’s Law School. Erin practiced law for a decade in both the private and public sector throughout the Palouse region in Idaho and Washington before joining the faculty at the University of Idaho Law School.

Erin teaches Trial Skills and coaches the undergraduate Mock Trial Team for Washington State University.

Dr. Matt Stichter

Dr. Matt Stichter researches moral psychology, virtue ethics, philosophy of action, ethical theory and philosophy of law.

Dr. Stichter regularly teaches Business Ethics and Philosophy of Law.

Dr. Carolyn Long

Dr. Long’s research focuses on American institutions, public law, constitutional law and American public policy.

Dr. Long regularly teaches Criminal Law, The Judicial Process, Administrative Jurisprudence, and Criminal Procedure.

Dr. Cornell Clayton

Dr. Cornell Clayton’s research focuses on American politics, constitutional law, judicial politics, and political theory.

Dr. Clayton is the Director of the Thomas S. Foley Institute and WSU Pre-Law Advisor and regularly teaches Law and Courts, American Political Institutions, and Comparative Politics.