Required Course Curriculum


The degree of Juris Doctor (J.D.) is conferred upon students who satisfactorily complete 86 semester hours, including all required courses, with a quality point index of 2.0 ("C") or better; who are in residence for at least three full academic years or the equivalent; and who are recommended for the degree by the faculty.

Residence requirements are met normally in six semesters (three academic years) of full-time study or in eight semesters (four academic years) of part-time study plus two summer sessions.


Classes at the law school meet in two divisions, the full-time program and the part-time program. Full-time classes are held each weekday, and part-time courses begin at 6:00 p.m. on Monday through Thursday. Each year, a nine-week summer session is offered beginning in late May.


Law is the ordered process for resolving human conflict. During the first year of law school, you will examine the primary areas of conflict - disputes over property, agreements among persons, private injuries suffered by persons - as well as the procedures by which these conflicts are resolved in courts.

The first-year curriculum is composed of required courses and serves as an introduction to the major substantive areas of law. The case-method approach is the typical form of instruction and will develop your ability to analyze and understand critically assigned materials and to extend that analysis to other conflicts. This allows you to learn the present state of law and, more important, to grasp the relationship between the changing needs of society and the ever-evolving common law. Classroom participation is an integral part of this method of instruction and provides you the opportunity to develop oral communication skills in the presentation of complicated fact patterns and practice in the application of legal theories to achieve acceptable resolutions.

– Compass program
Launched in fall 2019, the goal of the AUWCL Compass program is to empower first-year students to take advantage of our law school's vast resources and outstanding programs in a way that makes the most sense for their individual goals. Compass delivers tailored information throughout the first year at the most pertinent times with programming on professional development, academic skills, academic planning, and extra-curricular offerings.

Through the Compass program students will have gained and honed skills deemed critical by law faculty and legal employers alike. Compass sessions provide students with opportunities to develop and highlight valuable interpersonal and “soft” skills like communication, self-awareness, problem solving, empathy, resilience, and motivation. Students will not only learn these skills in plenary- and workshop-style sessions, but will also have the opportunity to practice them with AUWCL faculty, alumni, and other legal practitioners in less formal settings.

– First-Year Elective Course
Full-time students choose a first-year elective course in the spring semester (part-time students have this elective second year fall semester). These elective courses expose students to non-traditional first-year topics and modes of thought. A variety of courses are offered and topics have included international law, public law, environmental law, food and drug law, intellectual property, and pre-trial litigation. These electives are open exclusively to first-year students and are limited to enrollment of 50 students, though many of the classes are smaller. The ability to choose a course allows students to broaden their law school experience right from the start.

– Legal Rhetoric Program
Complementing your theoretical courses is the Legal Rhetoric course, in which you and a small section of other first-year students are team-taught by either a full-time faculty member or a practicing attorney. This program provides you with a thorough introduction to legal research, including instruction in computerized legal research systems. You will learn many forms of legal writing, including opinion letters, various forms of memoranda, and contracts. During the spring, you develop an appellate brief, which you have the opportunity to argue orally.