Enjoy a new degree of success and distinguish yourself academically and professionally by earning both a bachelor's degree and a Juris Doctor (JD). The Legal Education Admission Program (LEAP) provides an opportunity for GVSU's political science undergraduate students to earn both degrees in about six years of full-time study (three years of political science studies plus three years of legal studies). The program was developed by Grand Valley State University's Political Science Department and Michigan State University College of Law (MSU Law).

Students accepted into the program may combine their last year of political science undergraduate work at GVSU with their first year of law school at MSU Law, thereby saving a year in both time and money. Interested students complete a minimum of 91 credits comprising the required undergraduate courses in their first three years of study at GVSU. This includes all university-level requirements as well as the requirements for the political science major. Upon admission to the law school, PLS students complete their undergraduate electives with law school courses. Up to 29 credits of MSU Law work in which the student earned a 2.0 or above will be accepted. The BS/BA will be awarded upon satisfactory completion of the number of credits and requirements necessary for the undergraduate program. It is anticipated that MSU Law will admit up to five GVSU PLS LEAP students each year.

Interested students may apply to LEAP after they have accumulated 30 credits or more with a GPA of 3.6 or higher. Prospective LEAP students are encouraged to meet with Professor Mark Richards during their first year at GVSU, in the fall to discuss their interest in the program, and in the winter semester to discuss degree progress and registration.

Students planning to apply to MSU Law under LEAP should plan to take the LSAT in the summer before their junior year, or in September of their junior year, and must not apply to MSU Law later than February 15 of their junior year. Application to MSU Law by January 1, with a complete application by January 20, is recommended. Applicants must also register with the LSAC CAS.


Political Science LEAP Admissions Requirements
1. Matriculate as a first-year student at GVSU
2. Political Science Major
(There are other LEAP programs for Legal Studies and Business majors. Please contact those departments for program details and advising.)
3. Accumulate at least 30 credits
4. GPA of 3.6 or above
5. To apply, send an e-mail to Professor Richards (richardm@gvsu.edu) with your:
name, major(s), current GPA and number of credits, e-mail address, and phone number. Note: You encouraged to contact Dr. Richards during your first semester to let him know your interest in the program.

MSU Law Requirements for LEAP
1. Complete at least 91 credits at GVSU
2. Complete all GVSU university-level requirements
3. Complete all GVSU PLS major and cognate requirements
4. GPA of 3.6 or above
5. LSAT score of 153 or above
6. Two letters of recommendation, including one from Prof. Richards
7. Any other current MSU law requirements

Sample Curriculum

First Year
PLS 102 and 103
A writing skills course
One or two humanities/arts general education courses
One or two science general education courses
Electives (or foreign language for B.A. majors)
One PLS course at 200 level

Second Year
Three or four PLS courses at 200-300 level
STA 215 and PLS 300 (B.S. majors) or foreign language (B.A. majors)
One or two general education courses
Additional writing skills if needed

Third year
Two or three political science courses at 200-300 level
PLS 350 (B.S. majors)
Completion of general education courses
PLS internship
PLS capstone

For additional information on the program, please contact:
Professor Mark Richards


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Page last modified October 28, 2021