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.

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 March 1 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.


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.)
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.

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. 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



January 20, 2020

Tutors can help with content questions, study strategies, and exam review. Please visit www.gvsu.edu/tc to sign up & request a tutor. WHERE: Tutoring Center 11015 Residence Drive 201 Kliener Commons Or TBD by tutor at an on-campus location

Professors Richards and Zhao Publish Study of the Chinese Legal System

December 20, 2019

Professors Mark Richards and Yi Zhao teamed up for a research project on how the legal concept of the public figure, central to libel cases in the U.S., has now spread to the Chinese legal system.


November 26, 2019

Dean Fred Antczak is pleased to announce that serving as commencement marshals will be Professor Polly Diven of Political Science and Jeff Kelly Lowenstein of the School of Communication.

International Relations Students Simulate Response to Calamitous Global Event

November 18, 2019

International Relations Students Simulate Response to Calamitous Global Event

Paul B. Henry Internship Announcement

September 30, 2019

Paul B. Henry Internship

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HRT Film Series: Blood Diamond

January 29, 2020 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM

Set during the 1990’s civil war in Sierra Leone, this film tells the story of two men, a white South African mercenary (Leonardo DiCaprio) and a black Mende fisherman (Djimon Hounsou) who form...

What Can I Do with an International Relations or Political Science Degree?

February 11, 2020 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

Come hear from a panel of GVSU IR and PLS alumni about their career paths since graduating. Alumni Panelists include: Ileana Cardenas McAlary, Associate General Counsel, Wolverine Worldwide Kara...


February 12, 2020 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM

The Global Express is a public forum on global affairs and current events on Wednesdays through the winter semester. Join us on February 12 when Dr. Meghan Cai, Assistant Professor for Modern...

HRT Film Series: On Her Shoulders

February 20, 2020 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM

This documentary follows Nadia Murad, a 23-year-old reluctant human rights activist, who works tirelessly to bring international attention to the 2014 genocide of the Yazidis in Northern Iraq. A refugee...


February 26, 2020 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM

The Global Express is a public forum on global affairs and current events on Wednesdays through the winter semester. Join us on February 26 when Dr. Joel Stillerman, Professor of Sociology talks...

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Kara Cook

Policy Advisor, Executive Office of Governor Whitmer

Rebekah Bailey

Attorney for State and Federal Employment Law

Emily Brown

Master's Student Working for State Department

James Spaanstra

Energy and Natural Resources Attorney

Mike Kolehouse

Political Organizer Founds Consulting Firm

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