(Abridged) The Large Area Telescope (Fermi/LAT, hereafter LAT), the primary instrument on the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope (Fermi) mission, is an imaging, wide field-of-view, high-energy gamma-ray telescope, covering the energy range from below 20 MeV to more than 300 GeV. This paper describes the LAT, its pre-flight expected performance, and summarizes the key science objectives that will be addressed. On-orbit performance will be presented in detail in a subsequent paper. The LAT is a pair-conversion telescope with a precision tracker and calorimeter, each consisting of a 4x4 array of 16 modules, a segmented anticoincidence detector that covers the tracker array, and a programmable trigger and data acquisition system. Each tracker module has a vertical stack of 18 x,y tracking planes, including two layers (x and y) of single-sided silicon strip detectors and high-Z converter material (tungsten) per tray. Every calorimeter module has 96 CsI(Tl) crystals, arranged in an 8 layer hodoscopic configuration with a total depth of 8.6 radiation lengths. The aspect ratio of the tracker (height/width) is 0.4 allowing a large field-of-view (2.4 sr). Data obtained with the LAT are intended to (i) permit rapid notification of high-energy gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) and transients and facilitate monitoring of variable sources, (ii) yield an extensive catalog of several thousand high-energy sources obtained from an all-sky survey, (iii) measure spectra from 20 MeV to more than 50 GeV for several hundred sources, (iv) localize point sources to 0.3 - 2 arc minutes, (v) map and obtain spectra of extended sources such as SNRs, molecular clouds, and nearby galaxies, (vi) measure the diffuse isotropic gamma-ray background up to TeV energies, and (vii) explore the discovery space for dark matter.