Many Waterloo graduates pursue careers in law and we can help you with your first step to becoming a lawyer: earning an undergraduate degree. 

An undergraduate degree is what you apply to from high school. Most law schools require at least three years of university studies before you can apply for admission.

A pre law degree student on her laptop.

How do you choose a pre-law degree?

Selecting a pre-law program or degree often comes down to choosing an undergraduate degree that you'll enjoy. Studying a subject that excites you will help you do well academically.

You can pick nearly any major. You'll need to complete at least three years of undergraduate studies, although many law schools prefer that you complete your undergraduate degree (four years) before applying.

Most of Waterloo's programs can be excellent preparation for law school. There are some programs that are especially popular because of the communications and analytical skills they provide as background to becoming a successful lawyer.

Legal Studies

Waterloo's Legal Studies degree provides an interdisciplinary understanding of law and the legal system. The program can be a great pathway to law school – and you'll gain important skills for careers in law, policy development, and research by taking classes in a variety of related areas.

Other common pre-law majors

  • English: learn about rhetoric and how it can help you argue a case
  • Communication Studies: improve your public speaking, interviewing, speech writing

Double degree program in human rights and law

Pursue a career in human rights by earning a Bachelor of Arts (including a minor in Human Rights) from Waterloo and a Bachelor of Law (LLB) in Human Rights Law from the UK's University of Essex – all in five years. Learn about our double degree program in human rights and law.

How do you become a lawyer?

  1. Review the admission requirements for Ontario's law schools so that you know what's expected. 
  2. Do well academically in least three years of a pre-law program at university. Completing your four-year degree can strengthen your application.
  3. Study for and write the LSAT (Law School Admission Test).
  4. Apply to law school.
    1. There are 20 law schools in Canada. The Law School Admission Council offers tips on choosing the law school that's right for you.
  5. Successfully earn your law degree (usually three years).
  6. Complete the licensing process (which can vary by province or country). In Ontario, you need to
    1. pass two licensing examinations,
    2. gain hands-on experiential training,
    3. be of good character, and
    4. submit the necessary fees and forms.
  7. You would then be called to the bar (attend a ceremony where you receive your degree and swear or affirm an oath to practise law).

Learn more about how to become a lawyer →

Waterloo can help you get there

LSAT prep and interview advice

Advisors in our Centre for Career Development can help you research law schools and the application process. Get one-on-one advice and tips for the LSAT along with how to do well in law school admissions interviews.

Meet law school representatives

Meet with representatives from professional and graduate programs at 90 universities in North America, Europe, and Australia when they visit Waterloo's campus for our annual further education information fair.

Meet other future lawyers

The Legal Studies Society is a student-run group that organizes law school information sessions, holds mock LSAT tests, and brings in guest speakers such as judges and lawyers to offer career insights.

Law School Admission Council

Learn about law schools in Canada, including an overview of the admissions process.


How long is law school in Canada?

It usually takes three years to complete law school. After graduating from high school, you'll complete at least three years of undergraduate studies before applying to law school. (Undergraduate studies are the first level of university studies out of high school and lead to a bachelor's degree, which normally takes three or four years).

Wondering what it's like to be a lawyer?

A decade into his career, Dan Micak (BA '06) manages a team of lawyers at Lightspeed, a global software company listed on the Toronto and New York Stock Exchanges. Hear what kind of advice he has for aspiring lawyers and those studying the humanities.