Pre-Law and The Center for Law and Public Policy

The Honors College at Washington Adventist University is committed to providing vibrant and innovative opportunities for students in a wide variety of academic areas. The Center for Law and Public Policy aims to prepare students for careers in law and/or public policy, to encourage dynamic civil discourse on a wide range of issues, to educate American decision-makers about religious perspectives on health-related and social issues – particularly as they bear on the highly vulnerable, and to inspire all students to engage in the legal and public policy questions of our time. The Center for Law and Public Policy coordinates a variety of opportunities for students.

Pre-Law Program

Students interested in the study of law can add a Pre-Professional Pre-Law Curriculum program to their course of study. WAU is the only Seventh-day Adventist university that offers a formal curriculum as part of a pre-law emphasis. The program is open to students in any major and consists of a set of courses that are focused on the development of skills in analytical thinking and persuasive discourse, along with the introductory study of the American legal system. Our program also includes an Advisory Board of practicing attorneys who help us with curriculum decisions and are available as mentors for our students. Students who graduate with this program will have the Pre-Law designation listed on their official transcript. That’s not always the case with other such programs!

We’re a small school, but we ‘punch above our weight’ when it comes to admission to some of the best law schools in the country. Our Pre-Law Advisory Board consists of WAU graduates who went on to Harvard, Yale, Duke, Ohio State, William & Mary, Maryland, Catholic University, the University of Baltimore, and more.

Our new curriculum offers tremendous flexibility thanks to our Seminar-style courses that take ‘deep dives’ into current legal and policy issues. Beginning in the Fall 2021 semester, our curriculum requirements will be as follows:

  • Required Courses (15 credits)
    • ENWR 230: Expository Writing (3 credits)
    • PHIL 250: Introduction to Logic (3 credits)
    • PLST 255: The American Judicial System (3 credits)
    • PLST 494: Seminar* (2 credits each, students must take 3 for a total of 6 credits)
  • Elective Courses (6 credits)
    • BUAD 375: Business Law I (3 credits)
    • BUAD 376: Business Law II (3 credits)
    • RELT 385: Christian Ethics in Modern Society (3 credits)
    • PLST 250: American Government (3 credits)
    • ENWR 330: Advanced Expository Writing (3 credits)
    • PLST 494: Seminar (other 2 credit courses, up to 6 credits)
  • Total Required Credits = 21
  • * Seminar Courses will vary and will be announced up to one year in advance (coming soon)


  • Mock Trial: Mock Trial has been an active club on campus since 2000. It is structured around a course called American Judicial System (PLST 255). The course introduces student to trial law and the American court system. Though the class is open to all students on campus, six are selected to join the Mock Trial team for the spring semester. The team competes in mock trial competitions against some of the most prestigious colleges and universities on the east coast and around the country. WAU is part of the American Mock Association (AMA), the nationally recognized governing body for intercollegiate competition, and was the first Adventist university to be a member of the AMA. If you have any interest in being a lawyer, you’re going to want to participate in this exciting program. Teams are chosen each Fall semester and competitions are usually in the Spring.

Advocacy and Lobbying

The Center for Law and Public Policy is engaged with local and national political leaders in Washington, DC on a variety of issues. The Center takes advantage of WAU’s location near the Nation’s Capital to help students participate in legal and public policy events around town. This may include observing a Supreme Court session, sitting in on U.S. House and/or Senate hearings, working with local organizations on issues of importance to the Center, and landing internships with some of the most influential legal and political organizations in the country.

About the Center for Law and Public Policy

The Center for Law and Public Policy has been associated with Washington Adventist University since the 1990s when it was founded by (then Columbia Union College) Professor Dr. Roy Branson. Under Dr. Branson’s leadership the Center developed the largest Pre-Law program among Adventist colleges and universities in North America, established an award-winning Mock Trial team, established an office on Capitol Hill, engaged with members of the United States Congress and non-profit organizations on public policy issues, and connected local and national church leaders to WAU through lectures, symposiums, conferences and more.

  • Our goal is use the Center as part of our mission to provide unparalleled opportunities for students at Washington Adventist University and to highlight the Honors College’s commitment to diverse intellectual thinking on campus.
  • To contact the Center for Law and Public Policy, please email Dr. Jonathan Scriven at

The Center for Law and Public Policy recently hosted an interview and discussion on marking the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, Dr. Jonathan Scriven spoke to Errin Haines, Executive Editor of the ‘The 19th’, a news organization that focuses on women and gender issues.  You can watch the video below. You can find many other Honors College videos by visiting our media and videos page.