Course Descriptions

Syracuse Law prides itself on the personal attention students receive starting in their first year. Our faculty considers interaction between student and teacher to be essential to a strong legal education. All are committed to excellence in teaching and legal scholarship. Students in their first year participate in at least one small class in order to facilitate collaborative learning between students and professors.


First Year Courses
During the first year of study, students learn the basics of public and private law. The following courses are required for all first-year students to provide them with the necessary grounding in fundamental legal concepts: Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Legal Communication and Research I and II, Property, Torts and a lawyering skills course.

The lawyering skills course is a recent addition to Syracuse Law’s first year curriculum. It allows each student the opportunity to choose among an array of skills-focused courses in their second semester of law school. Each course utilizes experiential learning techniques to provide robust training of important skills for practicing attorneys in order to better prepare students for entry into the profession.

All courses taken in the first year are one-semester.


Second and Third Year Courses
After the first year, students have only five prescribed course requirements to fulfill: Constitutional Law II, Professional Responsibility, Legal Communication and Research III, a writing requirement, and a course in Administrative Law or legislation and statutory interpretation.The remaining coursework toward the degree is completed through elective upper level courses, clinical and externship experiences for credit, co-curricular activities for credit, and/or graduate-level coursework approved for credit toward the Juris Doctor degree. In addition, law students may take as many as six credits in graduate coursework to apply toward the Juris Doctor degree from other Syracuse University colleges with prior approval.


LL.M. Courses
The College of Law’s course offerings are divided primarily on a semester basis (fall and spring) constituting one full academic year.

In the first semester, LL.M. students are required to enroll in three courses designed for the LL.M. program; Introduction to American Legal Studies, U.S. Legal Writing for LL.M. Students, and the International LL.M. Skills Course. Students must also enroll in Professional Responsibility in either the fall or spring semester. In addition, each student must fulfill a writing requirement in either semester. This requirement allows the LL.M. student to engage deeply with a faculty member to produce a significant research paper and can be accomplished through one of our many seminar classes or by an independent study.

Candidates to the LL.M. in American Law program may choose among four program options to pursue their studies. Our LL.M. students are encouraged to enroll in the core, common law first-year classes such as American Constitutional Law and Contracts as well as to use their electives to explore an array of course offerings and specializations.


Degree Requirements
Syracuse University College of Law awards the Juris Doctor degree to students who successfully complete a minimum of 87 credits of prescribed and elective coursework taken during a period in residence equivalent to six full-time academic semesters. Each student must earn a cumulative grade point average and a final-year grade point average of 2.2 on a 4.0 scale to satisfactorily complete the course of study. Degree requirements are different for students pursuing a joint degree. Learn more about Syracuse Law’s joint degree programs.

LL.M. students must complete 24-credits (minimum 12 credits per semester) in the academic year to qualify for graduation, but may enroll for up to an additional four credits a semester. Each student must earn a cumulative grade point average of 2.2 on a 4.0 scale. Learn more about our LL.M program.