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Academic Policies

VI. COURSES AND COURSE ENROLLMENT
 
A. ADDING AND DROPPING COURSES

Students enroll in courses during scheduled enrollment periods prior to the start of classes each semester. During the add/drop period (the first week of classes each semester), students revise/finalize their course schedules. Students are strongly encouraged to review their schedules on SIS at the end of each add/drop period to confirm that their course schedules are correct. For information about course withdrawal after the add/drop period has ended, see section VI.D.

NOTE: The add/drop policy governing January Term and short courses is different (see section VI.I and VI.N).

B. AUDITING COURSES

Students wishing to enroll in courses as auditors may do so during a three-day period after the add/drop period ends each semester. Enrollment will be on a first-come, first-served space-available basis only.

No credit is awarded for an audit; the annotation “AU” will appear on the student’s transcript noting the audit. To secure such a notation, students must submit completed Audit Certification Forms to the Student Records Office certifying attendance in at least 80 percent of the scheduled class sessions by the end of the exam period in the semester the audit was completed.

The credit values of audited courses are included in calculating the maximum course load of 17 credits per semester, but are not included in calculating the minimum course load of 12 credits. Students may discontinue auditing a course at any time during the semester by notifying the Student Records Office.

Note: An audit enrollment may not be changed to a graded enrollment; similarly, a graded enrollment may not be changed to an audit enrollment.

C. COURSE LOAD

In accordance with American Bar Association standards, students must not be enrolled in coursework that exceeds 20 percent of the total coursework required for graduation.  Accordingly, students at Virginia are limited to a maximum of 17 credits total during any semester. To satisfy residency requirements, students must enroll in a minimum of 12 “degree” credits each semester. Students wishing to enroll in fewer than 12 credits must petition the assistant dean for student affairs; such petitions are granted only for illness or other circumstances beyond the student’s control.

1) FIRST-YEAR STUDENTS
All first-year students must enroll in the required fall curriculum composed of five courses totaling 16 credits. In the spring semester, first-year students must enroll in required and elective courses totaling at least 14, but not more than 16, credits. First-year students may not enroll in more than 16 credits in either semester nor may they enroll in non-law courses.

2) UPPER-LEVEL STUDENTS
All second- and third-year students must enroll in at least 12 credits (excluding audits) and no more than 17 credits (including audits) each semester. Students must average between 14 and 15 credits per semester to complete the J.D. degree in three years and are strongly advised not to enroll in more than 16 credits in any one semester (including courses audited in the Law School or courses taken for credit or audited in another school or department).

3) LL.M. STUDENTS
All LL.M. students must enroll in at least 12 credits (excluding audits) and no more than 14 credits towards the LL.M. degree each semester. Students wishing to enroll in more than 14 credits must obtain the approval of the assistant dean for graduate studies.

D. COURSE WITHDRAWAL

Once the add/drop period has ended, students are expected to complete the requirements for all courses in which they are enrolled. Course withdrawal petitions will be considered only for good cause, such as illness or other circumstances beyond the student’s control. Being enrolled in too many credits, journal participation, not needing a course to graduate, not attending the first class session, faculty changes, changes in course expectations, extracurricular or job-related activities, etc., do not justify withdrawing from a course after the add/drop period has ended. Withdrawal petitions must be submitted to the assistant dean for academic services. Students granted course withdrawals will be assigned W (withdrawn) grades.

E. COURSES IN OTHER UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENTS

Students may supplement their law school curriculum with courses from other schools and departments in the University.

Enrollment in non-law courses is subject to the following:

1) To qualify for credit toward the J.D. degree, the course must be a graduate level non-language course numbered 6000 or higher directly relevant to the student’s intellectual development in the study of law that is not graded on a pass/fail basis.

2) Students who wish to enroll in a non-law course must submit a completed non-law course request form and a signed University Course Action Form to the Student Records Office. If seeking degree credit, the petition must include a copy of the course syllabus and a statement of its direct relevance to the student’s intellectual development in the study of law.

3) No more than one non-law course may be taken in a given semester. Students may not enroll in more than a combined total of 17 Law and non-Law credits at any time. Exception: Some dual-degree students enrolled exclusively in a required first-year program in another department or school may enroll in more than 17 credits in a semester. Consult the Student Records Office for details.
 
4) With the approval of the assistant dean for academic services, students may apply up to six non-law credits toward the J.D. degree. Students who wish to receive more than six non-law degree credits must submit a petition to the assistant dean for academic services to be approved by the Curriculum Committee. This petition must describe not only the direct relevance of the additional non-law courses to the student’s intellectual development in the study of law, but must make the case that the particular set of non-law courses selected forms part of a coherent educational plan. A maximum of 12 non-law degree credits may be applied toward the J.D. degree.

5) With the approval of the assistant dean for graduate studies, LL.M. students may apply a total of three non-law credits toward the LL.M. degree.

6) Unlike Law School courses, many courses in other schools and departments require the permission of the instructor to enroll. While we will accept e-mails from non-law course instructors for initial enrollment, students must submit signed Course Action Forms to the Student Records Office by the end of the add/drop period to finalize their enrollment in non-law courses.

7) Non-law courses often begin and end on different dates than Law School courses. The examination periods typically overlap, however.

8) It is the student’s responsibility to arrange courses so that full attendance is possible. No credit will be granted for any course, including a non-law course, which conflicts in time with another course in which the student is enrolled, no matter how minuscule the overlap. In addition, no credit will be granted for courses that are scheduled so close together that full attendance is unlikely. At least 15 minutes must be allowed between consecutively scheduled courses not on the same campus (North Grounds and Main Grounds are considered separate campuses for purposes of this rule). Note that other schools’ enrollment schedules may differ from the Law School’s, and the Student Records Office may not learn of a time conflict until after the add/drop period has ended. Nevertheless, a student will be dropped from one of the conflicting courses when a conflict is discovered. This rule applies to all non-law courses, whether taken by dual-degree or non–dual-degree students.

9) Nothing in this section is meant to discourage students from taking courses in other schools and departments of the University and not applying the resulting credit toward the J.D. degree. For example, fluency in a foreign language can be of obvious value in many types of legal practice and scholarship. Language courses, however, are not directly relevant to a student’s intellectual development in the study of law and do not qualify for degree credit. Such courses do count toward the 17 credits per semester course load limit (see section VI.C).

10) Non-law course grades are not included in the calculation of Law School grade point averages or in the consideration of Law School honors.

Index

Courses and Course Enrollment (continued)