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Academic Policies

III. SPECIAL PROGRAMS

A. DUAL-DEGREE PROGRAMS

The Law School and other schools and departments of the University have developed several dual-degree programs enabling students to obtain a J.D. degree and master-level degree concurrently. Students enrolled in dual-degree programs must file required documents with the Student Records Office. The following dual-degree programs are available:

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B. EXTERNAL COLLABORATIVE PROGRAMS

The Law School does not maintain formal dual-degree programs with schools in other universities. However, for a student who is admitted both to the Law School and to one of the following three schools, the Law School will approve an external collaborative program for the study of public international law on application by the individual student:

J.D.-M.P.A. (Public Affairs) in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University
J.D.-M.A.L.D. (Law and Diplomacy) in the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University
J.D.-M.A. (International Relations) at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies

Please refer to the Graduate Record for further information about admission, course, degree and residency requirements. Students enrolled in external collaborative programs must file required documents with the Student Records Office.

C. EXTERNSHIPS

1) OVERVIEW
The Law School offers three different types of externships: part-time externships, full-time individualized externships, and UVA Law in DC, a specialized full-time externship program based in Washington, D.C. In all three externships, students obtain field placements for one semester in domestic or international government or nonprofit organizations, where they engage in legal work under the direct supervision of an attorney in the host organization. Summer work and work as a judicial law clerk do not qualify for externship credit. Externship proposals substantially similar to available clinical offerings will not be approved.

a. Part-time externships
Part-time externships are primarily local and require 10 hours per week of work at the host organization (130 hours total) as well as specified reading and short writing assignments, for a total of 3 academic credits (1 graded, 2 credit/no credit).

b. Full-time individualized externships
Full-time externships may be local, national or international, and require 35 hours per week of work at the host organization (455 hours total), directed readings, and academic writing assignments, including a substantial research paper on an approved topic relevant to the host organization’s work, for a total of 12 credits (3 graded, 9 credit/no credit).

c. UVA Law in DC
UVA Law in DC is a curricular offering requiring 35 hours per week of work at the host organization (455 hours total), which must be a government office or agency or a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization, participation in a weekly seminar in Washington, directed reading and writing assignments, and a substantial research paper on an approved topic relevant to the host organization’s work, for a total of 12 credits (3 graded, 9 credit/no credit).

For all externships, the student is responsible for obtaining the placement with a qualified organization. The Public Service Center will assist students in finding placements. The organization must provide a letter to the director of externships acknowledging the program’s expectations and the organization’s obligations, including the role of the host organization supervisor, the faculty advisor and the director of externships. 
        
2) OBJECTIVES OF THE EXTERNSHIP PROGRAM
The externship program provides students the opportunity to supplement academic learning in a setting outside the classroom under the supervision of a lawyer. Externships combine substantial, practical legal work for a governmental or nonprofit organization with academic inquiry through readings, a reflective journal, research papers and guided reflection papers, and, in the case of UVA Law in DC, a weekly seminar. Externs learn to work under close supervision, receive feedback from the supervisor at the host organization and a Law School faculty member, and engage in self-assessment.  

The main objectives of the Law School’s externship program are to connect traditional academic learning and abstract legal thinking with the practice of law, and to assist students in adjusting to their roles as professionals, becoming better problem-solvers, and developing interpersonal and professional skills. The program is meant to help students master self-directed learning, define and pursue learning goals, and learn how to learn from direct observation of and experience in the practice of law.

3) ELIGIBILITY AND APPLICATION
To apply, a student must be in good standing. First-year students and LL.M students are not eligible for externships. Transfer students are not eligible for full-time externships.

Ordinarily a student may participate in a full-time externship only in his or her fourth or fifth semester of law school, so that the value of the experience may be shared with law school colleagues, drawn upon in the classroom, and used to enrich the student’s own approach to traditional academic classes. A student may petition the Curriculum Committee to pursue a full-time externship in the third or sixth semester, based upon exceptional circumstances.

No student may do more than one full-time externship, and no student may do more than two part-time externships, during his or her law school career. No student may do more than one externship per semester. A student may petition the Curriculum Committee to pursue a full-time externship after being enrolled in no more than one part-time externship, or to pursue a single part-time externship after being enrolled in a full-time externship, based upon exceptional circumstances.

Applications should be submitted to the Law School’s director of externships.

Because the student must obtain his or her placement and (for full-time individualized externships) must also develop a detailed proposal for a substantial academic research paper, as well as a background reading list, the student should begin the process at least two months before those deadlines, including applying as soon as possible to the organization where he or she would like to extern. Because potential externship host organizations can have varying decision schedules, applications for academic credit may be submitted without final confirmation of a placement with the host organization, as long as the student submits evidence of substantial progress toward a field placement.

Full-time individualized externships require a signed letter from a resident law school faculty member, confirming that he or she has discussed the proposed externship with the student and has agreed to serve as the faculty supervisor, and, in accordance with the Externship Handbook, to monitor the research project, directed readings, and written products under a schedule established in advance. 

Detailed information on application requirements for each type of externship is available in the Externship Handbook.

4) APPROVAL OF EXTERNSHIPS
The application must be approved for the student to receive credit for the externship.

a. Part-time externships
The director of externships approves part-time externships in consultation with the Curriculum Committee.

b. Full-time individualized externships
The Curriculum Committee approves proposed full-time externships, other than UVA Law in DC externships, acting on the recommendations of the director of externships. 

c. UVA Law in DC
The director of externships [...] approves UVA Law in DC externships in consultation with the Curriculum Committee.

Final authority for decisions on externships rests with the Curriculum Committee.

Further information on the criteria for approval of externship applications is available in the Externship Handbook.

5) EVALUATION
To receive credit for the non-letter grade portion of any externship, the student must complete all work hours, maintain timely and thorough journals and timesheets, and obtain an evaluation of at least “satisfactory” from the supervisor at the host organization. The director of externships makes the final determination on whether the student should receive credit for the field placement component of the externship.

Grading for the letter-graded credits in externship will be as follows:

a. Part-time externships
Grades will be given by the director of externships based primarily on the required written assignments and progress towards the student’s self-defined goals for the externship.

b. Full-time individualized externships
Grades will be given by the supervising resident faculty member based primarily on the required written assignments. In consultation with the director of externships, the faculty member will also take into account progress towards the student’s self-defined goals for the externship.

c. UVA Law in DC
Grades will be given by the director of externships based primarily on the required written assignments, class participation, and progress towards the student’s self-defined goals for the externship.

Index

Special Programs (continued)