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Residency Requirements, Course Loads, & Credit Hours for Coursework

Residency Requirements And Course Loads

The curriculum for full-time J.D. students covers a period of six semesters of resident study. Full-time J.D. students will not be permitted to schedule more than 16 hours of law work in any semester without special permission from the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs of the College of Law. ABA Accreditation Standard 311(c) prohibits students from enrolling in more than 20 percent of the credits needed for graduation in one semester. For Loyola, that maximum is 18 hours. Full-time first-year J.D. students must schedule 15 hours in the first semester and 14 hours in the second semester. The normal time frame for completion of the juris doctor degree is three academic years. Students are forewarned that this is a minimum time frame and the program may not be completed by acceleration in two and one-half years.  Part-time J.D. students are not permitted to complete their degree in fewer than 4 years of part-time study; a part-time J.D. student may complete the degree in fewer than 4 years if the student transfers to the full-time program.

Part-time J.D. students may register for more than 12 hours only with the permission of the Petitions Committee or the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. All first-year part-time J.D. students are required to schedule 12 hours in the first semester and 11 in the second semester. Lawyering III must be completed and scheduled during the second year. Anyone who begins in the part-time program must stay with that program through the first year.

Click here to review the College of Law's tuition policy for J.D. students. 

Credit Hours for Coursework

In accordance with ABA Standard 310, students are expected to attend and adequately prepare for classes and other activities for which they receive academic credit.  To that end, one credit hour shall reasonably approximate:

(1) at least one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and at least two hours of out-of-class student work per week for fifteen weeks, including the exam week, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time, for at least 42.5 total hours; or

(2) at least an equivalent amount of work for other academic activities such as law review activities, moot court activities, independent studies, simulations, field placements, clinical work, and any other work leading to the awarding of credit hours.  For the work covered by this subsection, students must comply with the supervising faculty member’s rules for successfully completing the other academic activity, including rules governing keeping track of student’s time on the task, giving interim reports, meeting with the supervising faculty member, and providing drafts.

To ensure compliance with ABA Standard 310, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs shall ensure that the policy is posted on the College of Law website in the section on Academics maintained by the Law Records office and in the Law Bulletin.  Moreover, all courses taught in the College of Law will be reviewed on a regular basis by the faculty teaching the courses and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs to ensure that the amount of credit hours awarded is consistent with the amount of work required of students.  Faculty teaching courses will review their courses for coverage and student work every time they teach them to ensure that credit hours earned by students is commensurate with the work assigned to and completed by the students.  Faculty must complete a “310 form” for each of their courses and submit that form, along with a syllabus if applicable, to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs by the second week of the semester. Faculty should survey students near the end of the semester to determine the amount of time spent on coursework during the semester to ensure the accuracy of information provided on the 310 form and update the form when necessary.

Additionally, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs will review courses taught in the College of Law every five years as follows: Year 1, all general law required courses; Year 2, all civil law required and pool courses; Year 3, all common law required and pool courses; Year 4, all courses required or in the pool for certificates that have not been reviewed in Years 1-3; and Year 5, all courses identified as experiential courses, including law clinic courses and externship courses and all general law courses that have not yet been reviewed.  Newly proposed courses will be reviewed by the curriculum committee and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for the number of credit hours and how those hours will be awarded before course approval.  This schedule will be repeated every 5-year cycle, and courses may be reviewed more often when determined to be necessary by the Dean, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, or the Faculty Curriculum Committee.

Reviews will include a consideration of the following: the course syllabus and all 310 forms submitted regarding the course. Reviews of courses that involve substantial work to be completed outside of the classroom, including law clinic, externships, independent studies, advocacy competitions, and service on journal boards and advocacy boards, will include a review of the number of hours logged by students for this work, a consideration of the number of pages assigned or necessary to be read to complete the projects required for the course, a review of the types of projects and activities completed for the course, and consideration of the  number of pages of written work created by the student (when applicable).  Professors of these courses should require students to log hours in which they are involved in course work, either using an electronic system or in print, and professors must review students’ hours to ensure that students are involved in a minimum of 42.5 hours per credit hour over the course of the semester.