Course of Study
- The Semester System
- Section Assignments
- Normal Schedule
- Online Courses
- Academic Overload
- Transfer Between Evening and Day Divisions
- Withdrawal/Leave of Absence
- Medical Leave of Absence
The Semester System
The Sturm College of Law schedules classes on the semester system. Each Fall and Spring semester contains fourteen (14) weeks. The summer term contains seven (7) weeks.
The Sturm College of Law assigns all incoming first year JD students to sections. Students must attend only the classes scheduled for their assigned section. First year students cannot alter assigned sections or class schedules. Full-time first year students must expect to take classes Monday through Friday from 8:00 am until 5:30 pm and have an obligation to arrange their schedules accordingly. Part-time first year students must expect to take classes Saturday and Sunday from 8:00 am until 6:00 pm and have an obligation to arrange their schedules accordingly.
First year full-time students take fifteen (15) credit hours during the first semester and fifteen (15) credit hours during the second semester. After the first year, full-time students must complete an additional sixty (60) credits.
Full-time students generally take fifteen (15) hours per semester during the last two (2) years of law school. More than fifteen (15) hours in any Fall or Spring semester constitutes an academic overload that requires approval from the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and a cumulative GPA that exceeds 3.0.
First year part-time students take eleven (11) credit hours each of the first two (2) semesters. After the first year, part-time students must complete an additional seventy (68) credits.
After the first year, evening division students generally take eleven to twelve (11-12) credit hours per semester. More than twelve (12) credit hours in any Fall or Spring semester constitutes an academic overload that requires approval from the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and a cumulative GPA that exceeds 3.0.
No student may take an online course for JD credit until the student has earned at least 30 credit hours of JD credits.
All students must obtain the written approval of the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs to register for an academic overload. The Assistant Dean will not approve an overload in any semester or summer term for a student with a GPA 3.0 or below.
An academic overload for full-time students in any Fall or Spring semester means more than fifteen (15) credit hours. Under no circumstances can a full-time student take more than eighteen (18) credit hours in any Fall or Spring semester.
An academic overload for part-time students in any Fall or Spring semester means more than twelve (12) credit hours. Under no circumstances can a part-time student take more than fifteen (15) credit hours per Fall or Spring semester.
No student will receive permission to take an overload during the first year.
During the summer term, an academic overload means more than eight (8) credit hours. Under no circumstances may a student request more than twelve (12) credit hours during the summer term. To petition for an academic overload, a student must complete an Overload Petition available online.
Transfer Between Full-Time and Part-Time Divisions
A student in good standing may transfer from one division to another in August. A student must submit a written request to transfer between divisions to the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs for approval. Students can find transfer forms online.
Withdrawal/Leave of Absence
Any student in good standing may request a leave of absence. Students leaving the university that plan to return to their studies at Denver Law need to meet with the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs in addition to completing a Leave of Absence form and a Withdrawal form (when appropriate). Students can elect to withdraw from classes and take a Leave of Absence for up to one year. Students must fill out a Leave of Absence form each year to be considered a continuing student at DU.
Students who receive approval for a leave of absence must comply with the American Bar Association’s 84 month rule. This rule requires students to meet all of the requirements for their JD degree no later than the end of the 84th month following their initial registration.
After five years away from DU, students may no longer extend their leave of absence using this process. Students that have been away from DU for five years or more have to completely re-apply to be admitted to DU through the Office of Admission.
When a student is ready to return to Denver Law, the student must contact the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs.
Medical Leave of Absence
Students may apply for a Medical Leave of Absence in cases of serious medical conditions. Information regarding a Medical Leave of Absence can be accessed here.
Each full-time student must assure that outside employment does not interfere with his or her academic performance or regular class attendance. Further, the Sturm College of Law shall not employ or compensate any student in excess of 280 hours per semester. The Sturm College of Law will not adjust class or course schedules or examination times to accommodate outside employment.
The Sturm College of Law strongly discourages full-time students from participation in outside employment while they engage in full-time study. First-year full-time students frequently find satisfactory grades impossible to achieve while engaged in outside employment. The faculty of the College of Law strongly urges first-year students to devote their full time to the study of law.
Part-time students may hold full-time outside employment, provided they have at least thirty (30) hours per week available for study and provided they do not take more than 15 credit hours in any Fall or Spring semester. Due to work and/or family responsibilities, part-time students are encouraged not to try to complete their law school education in less than four (4) years.