2019-2020 Law Curriculum and Courses
2019-2020 Law Curriculum and Courses
In order to receive the Juris Doctor degree, a student must complete 90 credits of courses, successfully complete all curricular requirements, satisfy all probationary requirements, and fulfill all financial obligations to the university.
This page conveys the current course offerings in the structure of required and elective courses. It is updated each term.
Other sections of the UMass Law website contain the official disclosure of requirements for progression, performance, and ethical behavior, including the UMass Law Student Handbook, Student Code of Conduct, and Academic Integrity Policy. The website lists current faculty and describes the academic and student programs that UMass Law offers. The UMass Law website also gives a full disclosure of consumer information as required by ABA Standards.
Courses (Required, Distribution Requirements, and Electives)
The courses and requirements for the Juris Doctor degree are shown in this listing.
In addition to the required curriculum, the Law School offers a constantly changing list of elective courses. In choosing courses, students are required to satisfy three distribution requirements (code, foundation, and practice) and the upper-level writing requirement. Students are also required to complete 30 hours of Pro Bono service.
Generally, electives that are taught are chosen based on such things as the importance of the area of the law, the skills and values which can be taught, student interest, and faculty expertise. Topics courses are scheduled to provide opportunities for a one-time presentation of a special topic of interest. Many electives are taught by qualified, practicing attorneys or judges, who bring an invaluable practical perspective to their topic of expertise. Because working professionals are usually available only in the evening hours, and because both full-time and part-time students can benefit from these courses, they are often scheduled in evenings. The Law School is proud to offer flexible access to specialized and elective courses.
Students may also explore other areas of interest with a faculty member through an Independent Legal Research Project.
In addition to the required courses, students meet requirements by selecting courses in a number of categories. Those categories are displayed below, followed by a number of Elective courses that students may select to complete their programs. No class may be used to satisfy more than one requirement (for example, LAW 564 Commercial Law may be used as a code course or a foundation course, but a student can use this course for only one of those purposes).
Students are required to take six credits (at least two courses) from the courses designated as “foundation courses.” Any elective designated as a code course, but not used to satisfy the code distribution requirement, may also be used to satisfy the foundation distribution requirement.
Every student must take at least one course (at least three credits) in which the primary focus is statutory law.
Students are required to take at least six credits of practice courses. (Three of the six practice credits must be satisfied through a clinical or field placement course).
Upper Level Writing Requirement
Students are required to satisfy the upper-level writing requirement (at least two credits) by writing a paper in a designated elective course or by doing an Independent Legal Research Project. Students must receive a grade of B or better to satisfy this requirement.
In choosing Electives, students should remember that they must satisfy the Distribution Requirements: Code, Foundation, Practice, and Upper Level Writing.
Pro Bono Requirement
Because one of the goals of a legal education is to give students the skills and knowledge that can be used to help others and that will make them become better members of their own communities (or ‘citizen lawyers’), there is a 30-hour Pro Bono requirement. All students are required to volunteer to do the equivalent of one work-week of legal work in a:
- law office
- community organization
- government office
- other non-profit organization
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