Student Handbook

Registering for Courses

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Registration

Each semester the Registrar’s Office provides students with course information and registration procedures. Students generally register in November for the following Spring Semester and at the end of March/beginning of April for the following Summer and Fall Semesters. In order to register, students first must resolve all financial or other holds on their records. Students must register using PioneerWeb. Students receive registration time tickets approximately one (1) week prior to registration. Students receive registration priority according to the number of credit hours they have completed. A more detailed description of registration procedures follows:

  • Registration Procedures
    The Sturm College of Law bases registration priorities on the number of credit hours students have earned. We divide all students into groups based on their proximity to graduation, and those students closest to graduation have top priority. Students must pay close attention to their registration time. If a student fails to register during the designated registration period, the student may not secure the courses most valuable to him or her.

    “Earned credit hours” for registration priority purposes include the credit hours in which students currently are enrolled.
  • Wait List Registration and Policies
    If a course is closed at the time of registration, a student can automatically place themselves on the wait list for the desired course. Students may wait list for up to three courses at a time. Each course’s wait lists are ranked in the order students place themselves on the wait list. When a spot in a course opens, the first student on the wait list receives an email notifying them of the open spot. The student has 24 hours to add themselves to the course. Failure to act within 24 hours will result in being dropped from the wait list, and then the next student on the wait list will be notified of the open spot.

    Students must be registered for any course they wish to attend. For this reason, wait listed students are not allowed to attend classes for which they are waitlisted. Due to space limitations and equity in the management of our wait listed students, the College of Law does not accept retroactive registrations (aka “forced registrations”).

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Crossing Division Lines

Upon completion of the first year curriculum, students can choose to register for classes in the full-time and/or part-time division.

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Dropping Courses

During the beginning of each semester, students may drop courses from their schedules and receive a full tuition refund for the dropped courses. In the Summer Semester, students have a shorter period in which to drop a course and receive a full tuition refund. If a student drops a class after the official drop/add period has expired, the law school will not refund the tuition for that class. Please see the academic calendar on the law registrar website for official dates regarding the add/drop deadlines for each semester.

Students must use PioneerWeb to make schedule changes during the drop/add period. After the end of the drop/add period, students may drop courses (without a tuition refund) only by completion of a Drop Petition which requires the approval of the individual professor and the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs. Moreover, after the end of the drop/add period, students who drop a course will receive a “W” (withdrawal) on their transcript for the dropped course. Students can find Drop Petitions in the Registrar's Office or here.

The last day of classes marks the last day that a student can withdraw from a class.

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Adding Courses

During the first two weeks of a Fall or Spring Semester, students may add courses to their schedules. Students must use PioneerWeb to make schedule changes during this time. After expiration of the drop/add period, students cannot add a course without special permission from the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and the approval of hte individual professor. A student who wishes to add a course after the drop/add period has expired must complete an Add Petition, submit the petition to the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs, and secure permission from the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs. Students can find Add Petitions in the Student Affairs Office or here.

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Limitation on Out of Class Credits

Students cannot take more than a total of twenty-five (25) out-of-class credit hours from the following sources:

  • Externships
  • The non-classroom component of clinical courses
  • Journals
  • Directed Research/Directed Experiential
  • Courses in Law School Graduate Programs
  • Graduate Courses Outside the Law School

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Directed Research

Directed Research opportunities allow students in their second, third, or fourth years to study and write in any area of law under the supervision of a full-time faculty member. Adjunct professors cannot supervise a Directed Research project. Students may register for one (1) to three (3) credit hours of Directed Research per semester. Students may petition the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs for permission to take four (4) or five (5) credit hours of Directed Research with the permission of the professor supervisor. Students can receive no more than five (5) total credits of Directed Research during law school.

Directed research projects satisfy the Upper Level Writing requirement.

Students can find a Directed Research form in the Registrar’s Office or here. Students should complete this form, obtain the signature of the professor who has agreed to supervise the Directed Research and submit this form to the Registrar’s Office. If the student is petitioning to take four or five credit hours of Directed Research, the petition should be signed by the faculty member and delivered to the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs for approval.

Ordinarily, students must complete the Directed Research project during the semester for which the student registered for the Directed Research. The supervising faculty member, however, may waive this requirement in writing to the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. The student must submit the original of their Directed Research project to the supervising faculty member for a grade, no later than the last day of exams for the semester in which the student has registered for the Directed Research.

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Directed Experiential Projects

Directed Experiential Projects allow students in their second, third, or fourth years to work with a full-time faculty member on a real or simulated client matter. Adjunct faculty may not supervise a Directed Experiential Project. Students may register for one to three credit hours of Directed Experiential Project work per semester; students must petition to the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs for permission to register for a Directed Experiential Project. Students may not exceed a total of 5 directed experiential credits during law school. All work on a Directed Experiential Project must be supervised by the faculty member, and the faculty member must ensure that the work is experiential and that the project provides a robust learning opportunity.

A Directed Experiential Project form can be found in the Registrar’s Office. Students should complete this form, obtain the approval and signature of the faculty member who has agreed to supervise the Directed Experiential Project and submit the form to the Registrar’s Office.

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Law Review and Journal Credits

(revised September 2018)

Students can earn academic credit for work on the Denver Law Review, Denver Journal of International Law and Policy, Water Law Review, and Transportation Law Journal. Students may register for the above journals and are allowed a maximum of 6 pass/fail, out-of-class semester credit hours in total towards their JD according to the following rules:

Students must engage in substantive journal work for a minimum of 42.5 hours per credit, per semester.

Staff: A student may earn up to one credit hour per semester as a staff member who verifies the accuracy of references made by authors but does not write publishable material of his/her own.

Writing Staff: A student may earn up to two credit hours per semester as a staff member who attempts to write a publishable article (usually case notes, comments, or surveys) and who prepares multiple drafts of such a writing.

Editor: A student may earn up to two credit hours per semester as an editor who supervises the work of staff members, performs substantive edits, and works with authors.

To receive credit for law review service, students must secure certification of such service from the editor-in-chief of the relevant law review and the faculty advisor for the review. The editor-in-chief shall be responsible for securing the approval of the faculty advisor and for submitting the certification to the registrar’s office by the last day of the exam period for the relevant term.

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Externship Programs

Externships provide students with opportunities to earn academic credit while they gain practical legal experience. Students extern in corporations, criminal defense and prosecution placements, government agencies, judicial chambers, nonprofits, private firms, and more. Students must pay tuition for their approved externship credit hours just like any other course. Students must have 28 credits to participate in an externship. Students on academic probation cannot participate in an externship during the Fall or Spring semester.

At Denver Law, the required course of study for first-time externs includes a fieldwork component and an accompanying for-credit, graded seminar. Repeat externs are not required to enroll in the seminar. For the most up-to-date information on externships, visit the Legal Externship Program’s website.

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Other Law School Graduate Degree Programs

The Sturm College of Law offers graduate degrees in the following programs: Master of Science in Legal Administration, Master of Laws in American Law Practice, Master of Legal Studies, Master of Legal Studies in Environmental and Natural Resources Law and Policy, Master of Laws in International Business Transactions, and Master of Laws in Natural Resources and Environmental Law and Policy. Students may take up to eight (8) semester hours of approved non-JD coursework from the above programs toward their JD degrees.

For more information about these and other graduate level programs at Denver Law, please visit the Graduate Legal Studies webpage

Students who complete courses in these programs and then enroll in law school cannot receive credit for the courses completed in these programs toward their JD degrees.

Students with an interest in these advanced degrees should contact the Graduate Legal Studies department.

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Other University of Denver Graduate Courses

Students may take a maximum of eight (8) semester credit hours of graduate level courses in other schools or departments at the University of Denver (with the exception of University College) for credit toward their JD degree under the following conditions:

  1. The student must have a cumulative law school GPA of at least a 2.7.
  2. Prior approval from the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs. The student must submit a petition to the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs that verifies the graduate level of the proposed course and that states how the proposed course relates to the intellectual and professional aspirations of the student. Students can find this petition in the Registrar’s Office or here
  3. The student may not take more than the maximum number of credits allowed per law school term, even if the course(s) is being taken on the quarter term.

Law students may only register for Fall or Winter quarter courses; law students may not register for spring or summer quarter courses.  Students interested in dual degrees should consult the dual degree webpage. Graduate level credit hours taken in other University of Denver graduate programs count toward the maximum of (8) credit hours that law students can take outside the law school. Students may receive credit for eight (8) semester hours of non-JD credit or ten (10) semester hours of dual-degree credit, but may not receive both.

Credits taken at University College will not be counted towards the JD degree. 

Credits from University of Denver graduate courses outside of the law school will not appear on a student’s law transcript, but the courses will reduce the number of credit hours a student must earn to graduate (i.e., a student who takes eight (8) semester hours or the equivalent in other graduate courses must earn 82 credit hours from the College of Law to meet the 90 credit hour graduation requirement.) Grades will not be factored into a student’s cumulative GPA.

Students who choose to take classes in other University of Denver graduate departments should consult the Financial Management Office to discuss financial aid options. Students cannot apply law scholarship funds towards non-law credits.

The Sturm College of Law participates in dual degree programs featuring concurrent studies in the law school and in (1) the Graduate Legal Studies department or (2) other schools and departments at the University of Denver. Law students may pursue two types of dual degrees: a Formal Dual Degree, where the law school and another school or department have formalized an arrangement, establishing the terms of sharing credits and in many cases the curriculum to follow; or a Flexible Dual Degree, where the student sets up his or her own program with a DU school or department not sharing a Formal Dual Degree arrangement with the law school.

These Formal Dual Degrees are offered through the Graduate Legal Studies department:

  • JD/LLM in International Business Transactions
  • JD/LLM in Environmental and Natural Resources Law and Policy
  • JD/LLM in Taxation
  • JD/MS in Legal Administration

These Formal Dual Degrees are offered through other schools and departments at DU:

  • JD/MBA (Daniels College of Business)
  • JD/MPP (Korbel School of International Studies)
  • JD/MSW (Graduate School of Social Work)
  • JD/MS in Healthcare Management (University College)
  • JD/MA Economics (School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences)

Examples of Flexible Dual Degrees pursued in recent years by law students include:

  • JD/MAIS (Korbel School of International Studies)
  • JD/MA Forensic Psychology (Graduate School of Professional Psychology)
  • JD/MA Art History (School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences)

Upon completion of the second degree, dual degree students receive ten (10) semester credits toward earning their JD. Typically, but not always, the second department or school will offer a similar discount in credits to earn that degree. The Sturm College of Law will not allow any student to take advantage of the ten (10) semester dual-degree credits until the second degree is completed. Students cannot be certified to take any bar examination until they have been awarded the JD degree. A dual degree student who changes his or her mind and decides to earn only one degree must complete the full requirements for that degree.

A dual degree student must be accepted separately to the law school and to the second school or department at DU; he or she must complete and submit to the Office of Graduate Studies a Formal Dual Degree Verification form or a Flexible Dual Degree Verification form; and he or she must notify the law school Registrar’s Office of his or her intention to earn a dual degree.

The dual degree student will complete the required first-year law curriculum before beginning studies in the second school or department. It is common for the dual degree student to apply to the second school or department during his or her first year of law studies. Dual degree students must follow university restrictions on simultaneous enrollment in terms of differing lengths—semesters and quarters; this is a logistical matter and does not preclude studies leading to earning a dual degree. See more information about dual degrees at the Sturm College of Law here.

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Transfer of Credits from Other ABA-Accredited Law Schools

The Sturm College of Law may admit students with advanced standing at another ABA-accredited law school if they have completed the proper amount of coursework and have demonstrated academic proficiency indicative of success at the Sturm College of Law.

The College of Law may approve up to 45 hours of transfer credit from another ABA-accredited law school. Only courses for which a student receives a grade of C or better will be considered for transfer.

Every transfer student must complete the required curriculum for graduation from the Sturm College of Law. In the event that a transfer student has taken a required course at his or her original school, but has not completed all of the credit hours required by the Sturm College of Law for that course, the transfer student should consult with the Registrar. The Registrar, in conjunction with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, will determine whether the course taken at the transfer student’s original school satisfies the requirements of the Sturm College of Law for that course. During consultation with the Registrar on this issue, transfer students should provide to the Registrar the syllabus for the course and the official transcript that indicates the grade that the student earned in the course.

Transferred courses will be counted towards a student’s 90 semester credit hour requirement, but grades will not be factored into the student’s cumulative GPA.

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Visiting Student Status

  • Limitation of Visiting Credits
    No student can apply more than a total of thirty (30) visiting credit hours from any and all sources toward their law school degree.
  • Visiting Opportunities

A student in good standing at the Sturm College of Law may petition to take courses at another ABA approved law school. The petition must list the courses and course descriptions from the host school. The petition also must state legitimate reasons for the visit. The Assistant Dean of Student Affairs must approve all visiting student petitions and has the authority to deny a visiting request. Students can find a Visiting Student Petition online here.

The SCOL strongly discourages students from a visit with another law school during their last semester before graduation because the SCOL will not transfer credit hours from any course in which the visiting student earns less than a C, irrespective of the student’s cumulative GPA (credits received in pass/fail courses in which students receive a “pass” grade will be counted).

In order to graduate from the SCOL, students who petition to visit another law school during a Fall/Spring Semester must:

  • Complete all required courses at the Sturm College of Law
  • Complete at least sixty (60) credit hours at the Sturm College of Law

Cannot take more than eighteen (18) credit hours in one semester or more than thirty (30) total credit hours in one year at the other law school, and

Earn a grade of C or better in any course taken at the host school that the student wants to count toward his or her JD credit hours at the SCOL: the SCOL will not accept transfer credit hours for any course in which the visiting student earned a grade lower than a C (credits received in pass/fail courses in which students receive a “pass” grade will be counted).

Students who visit at another law school during a Fall/Spring Semester must submit official transcripts to the Registrar’s Office each semester that show that the student remains in good standing at the host law school. A student who fails to maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.3 at the host school must seek readmission to the Sturm College of Law with a petition to the Examinations and Standing Committee.

  • Non-Sturm College of Law Study Abroad Programs (for more information on all Study Abroad, please visit the Study Abroad website)

Students may earn a maximum of 8 credits by enrolling in a study abroad law program at another institution and transferring those credits to the Sturm College of Law under the following conditions:

  • The student remains in good standing with a cumulative GPA of 2.3 or above at time of application;
  • The ABA has approved the study abroad program (see: http://www.americanbar.org/groups/legal_education/resources/foreign_study.html );
  • The student submits a Petition to Study Abroad online and secures approval of coursework from the Director of the International Legal Studies Program and the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs.
  • The student must submit all required materials (Petition, Letter of Good Standing, proof of ABA-Accreditation) to the International Legal Studies Program through the online petition process;
  • At least 50% of the credits selected by the student to take as part of their study abroad program must be in courses that are not regularly taught at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law;
  • REMINDER: No student can apply more than a total of thirty (30) visiting credit hours from any and all sources toward their law school degree (see above in “Visiting Student Status” section). The maximum number of credit hours a student can apply to toward their law school degree from study abroad courses offered by another law school is 8.

At the student’s request, the Registrar’s office will provide letters of good standing (for proof of GPA) and any other required documentation, such as letters of permission.

In order to secure written approval of coursework, a student must submit a Petition, along with a brochure and/or syllabus that describes the study abroad program and its curriculum. A student may find the petition, and all instructions regarding submission of documents, here. A flowchart outlining the process is found here: http://www.law.du.edu/documents/study-abroad/Study-Abroad-Flow-Chart.pdf.

A transfer student (who has completed up to thirty (30) credit hours at another law school) may also petition to enroll in a summer abroad law program at another institution.

In order to secure credit for study abroad credit hours taken at another law school, the student must:

  • Earn a grade of C or better in the course or courses taken.
  • At the conclusion of the program, assure that the Study Abroad Program submits a final official transcript that confirms the credits that the student completed to the Sturm College of Law Registrar at the conclusion of the program.

 

The study abroad credit hours that a student earns under the above conditions count toward the student’s JD degree, but the grades earned in summer abroad courses will not appear on the student’s transcript and will not factor into the student’s cumulative law school GPA.

Financial Aid-seeking students should consult the University of Denver Financial Management Office with respect to Consortium Agreements with various schools that offer Study Abroad opportunities and to clarify other financial aid matters.

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Auditing Courses

  • Law Students
    Sturm College of Law students may audit any course in their last semester with the advance approval of the professor. Students cannot earn credit toward their law degree from audited courses, and the law school does not charge tuition for audited courses. Audited courses do not appear on student transcripts.

    A student cannot convert an audited course to a course for credit after the end of the second week of classes. Likewise, a student who enrolls in a class for credit cannot convert that class to audited status after the second week of classes.
  • Non-Students
    Alumni of the College of Law may audit classes subject to classroom capacity and professor approval.

    Members of the bench, practicing lawyers, and persons who work in related fields may petition to audit a course at the Sturm College of Law. For non-students, the cost to audit a course is $350 per credit hour. Tax courses are available to audit for $250 per credit hour. Alumni can audit their first class for free. Please contact the Law Registrar’s Office for further audit information and paperwork requirements.
  • All Auditors
    Auditors cannot take course examinations and cannot receive academic credit for audited courses under any circumstances.

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Sturm College of Law
University of Denver
2255 E. Evans Avenue
Denver, CO 80208