Ultra Vires


Students From All Undergraduate Disciplines Perform Well in Law School

Undergraduate degree not indicative of performance in 1L classes and 2L recruit 

It may seem intuitive that students who come from social sciences and humanities backgrounds are better prepared for law school than students with STEM backgrounds. Students who spend more time reading and writing in their undergraduate education may be better suited to dealing with the copious amounts of (typically convoluted) reading involved in law school. However, this belief is erroneous. Science students who have made their way to law school do not find it any more difficult to succeed in law school than their fellow social sciences or humanities students. The below data shows that students from all undergraduate disciplines were equally successful in securing offers in the 2L 2021 Toronto Summer Recruit and in their 1L grades. 

This is an analysis of the 91 students who participated in the 2021 Toronto 2L Summer Recruit Survey.See the full eligibility criteria in the article entitled “Associations Between Grades and Recruit Success” Students were asked to indicate their undergraduate program’s area of study. Their responses were then grouped into one of five categories:The contents of the discipline categories were limited to what students selected in the drop-down list menu as well as their manually inputted subjects. Disciplines in the drop-down list were formulated broadly so as to reduce risk of identification and encourage disclosure.

  1. Social sciences: political science, international development, criminology, sociology, psychology, gender studies, law,One student with a “law” undergraduate education was included into both “Social Sciences” and “Humanities” categories. This is why the total number of students in the table counts as 92 instead of 91. and paralegal studies.
  2. Business: business and economics.This includes one student who indicated they studied both economics and statistics.  
  3. Humanities/Arts: classics, history, philosophy, religion, English, linguistics, communications, law, and liberal arts.
  4. STEM: math, science and health science.
  5. Others: interdisciplinary, visual or performing arts, those who prefer not to disclose, and blank entries (implied as preference not to disclose).

Once students were grouped in their respective disciplines, their 1L Scaled GPA was computedSee the methodology of calculating a Scaled GPA in the article entitled “Associations Between Grades and Recruit Success.” GPA scaling was done to 3 graded courses because they were the most common reported grades given the Faculty’s mandatory CR/NCR system in Winter 2020. So, for students with 7 grades reported, typically dual-degree students, their grades were averaged and scaled to 3 courses only (e.g., a student gets 7 P’s has a full GPA of 7*3 = 21; this is then scaled to three grades in this way: (21/7)*3)). and averages were taken in each category. Likewise, the number of offers obtained during the 2L Toronto 2021 Summer Recruit were averaged for all students in the same discipline category.  

Number of Students by Undergraduate Program

TotalSocial SciencesBusinessHumanities/ArtsSTEMOther
Number of Students92351323156
Percentage of Students100%38%14%25%16%7%
1L Scaled GPA (to 3 courses)10.9311.139.9211.2110.7311.33
Average Number of Offers1.371.371.461.221.601.00

Recent Stories