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Science, Technology, & Law Minor

Intellectual Property (IP) is a fast growing and complex area of law. Scientists and engineers are on the bleeding edge of technological advancements, and there is a strong need to understand the proper scope of protection in these circumstances. IP questions rise consistently around patents, copyrights, and trademarks, and the Science, Technology and Law (STL) Program will teach students how to understand these types of questions and the laws behind the IP system.

The STL minor is a great way to your Pathways to General Education requirements!

The Science, Technology & Law Program seeks to:

  • Identify and discuss different types of IP protection and foster a multidisciplinary analysis and thinking

  • Equip students with a skill set that will be useful in a plethora of career paths, even those outside the traditional paths

  • Raise awareness of the legal, social, and ethical challenges of IP law and how they relate on an academic and professional level

  • Teach students to analyze and understand cases and laws that are part of the Intellectual Property Law legal system 

Freshman and Sophomore Year 

  • Enjoy College but keep your GPA up. Law Schools take GPA into major consideration 

  • If you have any plans to be a patent prosecutor, be sure to have at least one major that is a hard science or engineering.
    General Requirements Bulletin 

  • Take classes that interest you, you do not have to focus on law-based courses during your undergraduate career 

  • Find Extracurriculars that interest you 

  • Talk to pre-law advisers and current law students, and just find out about the path to law school 

  • Do not prepare for the LSAT yet, just adjust to college life 

  • Consider adding the Science, Technology, and Law minor 

  • Find potential summer internships that interest you, they do not have to be legal based, just get experience working and meeting people. Law schools like well rounded students 

  • Get to know your professors and talk to them outside of class if you enjoy their classes 

Junior Year 

  • Continue working on your GPA, your grades are one of the biggest factors for law school 

  • +Take on bigger roles at extracurriculars if possible. This could be a different role at a job or a leadership role in a club. 

  • Make an account with the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). LSAC administers the LSAT and will be where you apply for all law schools through the Credential Assembly Service 

  • Come up with three people who could write your recommendation letters. Preferably this will be at least one professor and one person you person you have worked with during your time at Virginia Tech 

  • Research law schools that fit what you are looking for and ones where you could realistically be accepted 

  • Register for the LSAT and start studying in ways that work best for you. Talk to the STL advisor for best practices and plans of action 

  • Schedule a meeting with STL advisor or another pre-law advisor to talk through admissions process 

The Summer before Senior year 

  • Don’t work too much or take too many classes if possible 

  • Study for the LSAT and take it during the summer or by October at the latest 

  • Draft a Personal Statement and go over it with a Pre-Law advisor  

  • Submit recommender’s names to LSAC to give them time to write a good letter for you. Be sure to be in contact with your recommenders. 

  • Request your transcripts to send to CAS and LSAC to prepare for your applications 

Fall of Senior Year 

  • Finalize your planned law school applications.  You can apply to as many as you want. Contact law school admissions offices about potential fee waivers 

  • Finish your personal statement and make sure your recommendation letters are submitted 

  • Submit your applications as early as possible. The window opens in September/October. The earlier the better as law schools will accept applicants on a rolling admissions basis. We recommend having your application in by Thanksgiving at the latest. 

  • File the FAFSA as soon as possible to show eligibility for need-based aid 

Spring of Senior Year 

  • Choose your school and pay your seat deposit! 

  • Plan your course of study through the STL minor and be sure to pay attention to when classes are offered. You have to complete 18 total hours.

  • Required courses (9 hours)

  • STL 2304 Foundations of Science, Technology, and Law (Offered both semesters) – Pathways 3 and Ethical Reasoning

  • STL 4304- Intellectual Property Law (Offered in the fall)

  • STL 4314- Current Topics in Science Technology and Law (offered in the spring) – Pathways 1a and Ethical Reasoning

  • STL Elective Courses

  • STL 4324- Global Aspects of Intellectual Property Law (offered in fall)- Pathways 2 and Intercultural and Global Awareness

  • STL 4334- Patent Preparation and Prosecution

  • Elective Requirements (9 credits) (9 credits) (see checksheet for all class options across different colleges)

  • Ethics Course (3 credits)

  • Civics Course (3 credits)

  • Free Elective (3 credits)

Division Leader of STL

James Steiner
Division Leader and Assistant Professor of Practice

  • Chemistry BS from Virginia Tech (‘13)
  • Chemistry MS from Virginia Tech (‘18)
  • JD from Richmond Law School (‘16) 
  • Licensed Patent Attorney with the USPTO
  • VA Bar License 

Course Offerings

For information on courses offered in Nanomedicine, please refer to the course catalog.


Join the Student Intellectual Property Society to connect with other like minded students!

STL Peer Profiles

James Steiner, Division Leader