Curriculum Planning

General. The full-time and part-time programs of study leading to the juris doctor degree are the same, each having basic requirements and differing only in the time and sequence of scheduled courses and seminars. While the law faculty is always engaged in program evaluation and change, there are underlying features that remain constant in the legal education offered:

  • Required courses that provide tools of critical analysis in basic areas of substance
  • A balance between courses or methods oriented toward the practical world of the profession and those oriented toward the world of inquiry and understanding
  • A variety of learning processes, including the traditional classroom, the small seminar, independent work, research seminars, clinical or special activities under professional supervision, externships, and field components
  • The relevance of other disciplines or professions in the legal process, when needed

Full-Time Program Required Courses


First Year

Fall Semester Hrs. Spring Semester Hrs.
Civil Procedure4Constitutional Law4
Contracts4Criminal Law3
Legal Rhetoric: Writing and Research I2Legal Rhetoric: Writing and Research II2
Torts4Property4
 Elective2-3

Second Year

Fall Semester Hrs. Spring Semester Hrs.
Criminal Procedure I3Legal Ethics2

Part-Time Program Required Courses


First Year

Fall Semester Hrs. Spring Semester Hrs.
Contracts4Civil Procedure4
Legal Rhetoric: Writing and Research I2Criminal Law3
Torts4Legal Rhetoric: Writing and Research II2

Second Year

Fall Semester Hrs. Spring Semester Hrs.
Constitutional Law4Legal Ethics2
Criminal Procedure I3Property4

Electives and Course Sequences. The academic counseling system described below helps each student select among the courses and seminars that constitute the elective portion of the curriculum. While students are encouraged to attend summer programs to meet their individual needs, they should make careful plans in advance and inquire about the possible effects summer programs may have on their total program, on compliance with the Washington College of Law residency requirements, and on their admission to the bars of the states in which they intend to practice. The courts of a few states have adopted rules that require law school graduates who wish to practice in those states to have taken certain courses. Students should determine what courses, if any, are required by the state(s) in which they wish to practice by contacting the state bar examiners. Prior to preregistration for each semester (normally during the latter part of the previous semester), the law school will announce the offerings in elective as well as required courses, followed by a period of counseling and preregistration. Course sequences in areas of concentration from basic to more advanced must be planned carefully to ensure proper completion of prerequisites for advanced courses. Academic planning materials are available from the registrar and the dean of students.