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Course Descriptions


First Year Courses

Syracuse University College of Law is proud of the personal attention students receive beginning in their first year. The faculty considers interaction between student and teacher to be essential to a strong legal education. Students find their instructors committed to excellence in teaching and legal scholarship. Students in their first year are provided with at least one small class in order to facilitate collaborative learning between students and professors.

During the first year of study, students learn the basics of public and private law. Because the first year provides necessary grounding in fundamental legal concepts, the following first year courses are required for all first-year students: civil procedure, constitutional law, contracts, criminal law, Legal Communication and Research I and II, property, legislation and policy, and torts. All courses taken in the first year are one-semester courses. Our first year students are now afforded the opportunity to select one of between six to eight substantive areas for their required Legislation and Policy courses. Syracuse University College of Law is proud to offer students an elective choice in their first year. Other than choosing their Legislation and Policy course substantive area of study, though, students may not enroll in or audit elective courses, seminars, or other offerings for academic credit during their first year.

Second and Third Year Courses

Following the first year, students have only four prescribed course requirements to fulfill: Constitutional Law II, taken in the fall semester of the second year; Professional Responsibility, taken sometime during the second year; Legal Communication and Research III, taken in either the Fall or Spring semester of the second year; and a writing requirement, usually completed in the third year. 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, one fall and one spring, constituting one full academic year. Syracuse University College of Law LL.M. students are encouraged to enroll in the core, common law first-year courses such as Contracts or Constitutional Law, as well as to use second and third year courses to explore from an array of advanced course offerings such as Business Associations or National Security Law.

In the fall semester, the LL.M. students are required to take two courses limited and designed especially for the LL.M. student. These are an Introduction to the American Legal System (3 credits) and Legal Writing for International Students (2 credits). In addition, the LL.M. 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 directed study.

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.

LL.M. students must complete 24-credits 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.