After satisfactory completion of all first-year courses, you must earn 60 additional hours to graduate. You should average 15 hours in each of your last four semesters. Of course, by taking summer courses, you can reduce that number. You may not take more than 17 hours nor fewer than 10 hours in any semester without permission from the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
In addition to the first-year required curriculum, second year students are required to complete:
With permission from the dean, a student may deter one or more of these courses until their third year.
Students during their second or third year are also required to complete the professional skills requirement. This requirement can be satisfied by taking one of several courses listed on the Curriculum page.
The remainder of the curriculum is comprised of electives. There are no precise rules or proven methods for selecting your second- and third-year elective courses. Your choices will reflect your assessment of your strengths and weaknesses, developing intellectual interests, and tentative career plans. For this reason, the combination of courses most desirable for you will not necessarily be ideal for anyone else. There are several ways of thinking about these choices that, in combination, will help each student choose a satisfactory array of courses to meet his or her educational goals and interests.
Some guidance about course selection appears below.
1. BASIC COURSES - The upper-class course requirements reflect subjects that are tested on most bar examinations, and they are also important prerequisites for advanced study in related areas. However, the required courses are not the only basic courses that should be considered by a student seeking thorough preparation for legal practice. Others, such as Administrative Law, Criminal Law, Federal Income Taxation, and Marriage and Divorce, should also be considered. Note that many courses have prerequisites so you should plan ahead by taking necessary prerequisites early for courses you ultimately would like to take.
2. SCHEDULING OPTIONS – We have provided tentative schedules for the 2007-2008 academic year. Although it is impossible to state with specificity that the offerings in future academic years will be the same, that assumption may prove helpful in making scheduling choices. Courses that conflict now may also conflict next year, and you should choose accordingly in planning your academic choices. (No one can predict the future with certainty!)
3. THE INSTRUCTOR - Choosing courses taught by professors you admire is one approach to course selection that many people find useful. For each student there are professors who are able to create intellectual excitement, and whose approaches to analysis and teaching strike a responsive note. Think back over the professors whose classes have chal¬lenged you and remember that you will benefit as much from exposure to a specific professor's analytic skills and approach to legal issues as from specific course content.
4. THE COURSE - Choose courses that look interesting, without limiting yourself to those that are directly related to your current plans or your idea of a traditional curriculum. Don’t be reluctant to experiment! If you believe a course will expose you to a new area of the law or provide you with needed variety, you have more than enough reason to enroll. Courses taken because of enthusiasm for either the instructor or the subject matter are often the richest academic experiences in law school. They represent opportunities to expand your understanding – they may even open up a whole new area of interest for you. In your growth as a law student, it is important for you not to limit yourself only to things you believe you "ought" to do.
5. SPECIALIZATION - Some students want to specialize in a particular area of law and choose electives with that goal in mind. The faculty urges great caution in this approach. It is appropriate to "shade" one's training toward a particular specialty. However, there is a danger in overspecializing. By narrowing your education too much, you remain poorly informed of other areas of law and become less marketable as well.
6. AREAS OF CONCENTRATION - With the caveat given in #5 above, law students may decide to concentrate their coursework in one of four Areas of Concentration. Students who do so and who meet the requirements will receive a certificate after graduation indicating that they have concentrated their studies in the given area.
These approaches to course selection describe only some of the ways in which you might make reasoned choices about your academic program. You may have additional considerations based on your own situation. Review course descriptions and study the information about Areas of Concentration to learn about course offerings. You are also encouraged to talk to any dean or any faculty member if you want further information or some informal counseling on your proposed program. All of these suggestions, taken together, will give you a start towards a workable, enjoyable array of courses for your last four semesters of law school.