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.

– Integrated Curriculum Program
To strengthen the first-year experience, the law school implemented an Integrated Curriculum Program. This type of curriculum highlights the interdependent nature of the curriculum and the practice of law by using team-teaching, sectional commons, panels presented by Dean's Fellows (upper-level law students), faculty panels, peer mentoring, and substantive programs in diverse fields. The goal of these activities is to teach various materials in a transcurricular manner to underscore the reality that legal problems do not fit into finite and bounded categories prescribed by the first-year doctrinal course.

– First-Year Elective Courses
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, administrative 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.