Frequently Asked Questions
What externship opportunities does Villanova offer?
Villanova offers externship opportunities with a wide range of judicial chambers, government offices, and non-profit organizations. Please click here for a complete list of approved externship placements. If you do not see what you are intersted in on our list of approved externships, you may propose your own externship.
When may a student do an externship?
You may do an externship in the Fall semester, the Spring semester, or during the summer.
How does one secure an externship?
The process for securing an externship varies from placement to placement. You may register for a few externships on Novasis without obtaining any prior approval. Most externships, however, require that you submit an application. For the specific requirements of each externship, please see the course description available here.
Generally speaking, judicial externships are filled through a lottery matching process that takes place in February for summer judicial externships and in April for judicial externships in the following fall and spring. Some judicial externships, however, require that you apply directly to the judge. Please click here for more information about judicial externships.
After I secure an externship, how do I enroll?
Once you have secured an externship, whether by applying to the externship host or applying through Novasis, you must submit the Externship and Practicum Enrollment Application to be enrolled. If approved, you should make any necessary adjustments to your course schedule and then contact the Registrar to be enrolled.
How many externships may a student do?
The law school’s externship policy limits each student to a maximum of two externships.
When should a student begin planning for an externship?
The earlier you begin planning the better. Many externships have prerequisites. Therefore, to make sure that you are eligible for the externship in which you are interested, it is best to review the externship offerings when you register for your second year classes. If your externship has prerequisites, you can be sure to take the pre-requisites as early as possible.
What are the requirements a student must fulfill to receive credit for an externship?
In order to be eligible to receive credit, you must:
- work a minimum of 168 hours on-site;
- keep an hours log and submit it at the end of your externship;
- keep a journal in which you reflect on what you are learning in your externship;
- meet with your faculty advisor on a bi-weekly basis or, in the case of a judicial externship, attend a bi-weekly class;
- for judicial externships, you must complete at least one significant written assignment, such as a bench memorandum or a draft opinion;
- complete an evaluation of your externship experience at the conclusion of the externship.
Does Villanova charge additional tuition for summer externships?
Who is responsible for ensuring that a student is registrered for an externship?
It is the student's responsibility to ensure that the student is registered for the externship.
May a student decline an externship?
It is not uncommon for students to apply for more than one externship in a semester. We ask that, if a student accepts one externship, he or she promply notify the other externship placements. In the case of the judicial externship lottery, if a student applies for an externship, it is expected that the student will accept the placement once matched. However, we also recognize that a student's circumstances may change since submission of the application. Therefore, after notification, students are given a very short period of time (i.e., a few days) to decline the judicial externship placement. Once a student accepts an externship placement, the student is expected to follow through and will be permitted to withdraw only in extraordinary circumstances.
May a student withdraw from an externship?
Because externship hosts, faculty, and fellow students must rely on the commitments made by students, once a student affirmatively accepts an externship, the student is committed to participate in that externship and may not withdraw except under extraordinary circumstances and with the approval of the Academic Dean or the Assistant Dean for Trial Advocacy Programs and Externships. In addition, once you choose to accept an externship placement, you commit that you will not transfer to another school, attend a different school as a visiting student, or study abroad during the summer or semester of the externship. Poor class scheduling is not an “extraordinary circumstance” justifying a withdrawal from an externship because students who accept an externship are expected to schedule their course load to accommodate the externship.
May a student accept an externship placement if the student has a pending application to transfer to another school?
You may not accept an externship placement for the Fall or Spring semester if you have a pending application to transfer to another institution. If you are offered an externship placement after a letter of good standing has been issued, you may only accept the placement after you have withdrawn your transfer application(s) and have notified the Academic Dean in writing that you have done so.
You may receive credit for a summer externship even if you do not return to Villanova law in the following Fall semester, provided that you complete all of the requirements of the externship.
Can a student do a clinic and an externship in the same semester?
The law school’s externship policy prohibits a student from doing a clinic and an externship in the same semester.
Can a student work and do an externship during the same semester or summer?
The law school generally does not prohibit having a job at the same time that the student is enrolled in an externship, provided that it poses no ethical or time management conflict. It is important that you notify both your employer and your externship supervisor so that both may check for potential conflicts of interest. In addition, the externship must be your first priority when it comes to time-commitments. Therefore, you should not commit to doing both until you have discussed this issue with your externship supervisor.
Do students receive a letter grade for externships?
No. Externships are graded pass / fail.
How many credits does one earn in an externship?
For all but one externship, a student earns three academic credits upon completing an externship. The only exception is the externship with the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. For that externship, a student earns 12 credits.
Can a student do two externships in the same externship placement?
Generally, students are limited to one externship with the same externship host. In extrememly rare cases, the law school may approve a second externship upon a showing that the experience in the second externship will be completely different from the experience in the first externship.
Special rules apply to judicial externships. In order to receive academic credit for a second judicial externship, the second externship must be with a court of a different level than the court of your first externship. For example, if you have done an externship with a trial judge, you may be eligible for a second externship with a appellate judge. Simply fill out your application, note that you have already received credit for a judicial externship, and name the judge and court of your first judicial externship. There are no additional forms that you need to complete.
If you have any additional questions about externships, please contact:
David S. Santee, Esquire
Director for Trial Advocacy
Programs & Externships
Villanova University School of Law
299 North Spring Mill Road
Villanova, Pennsylvania 19085
Office: Room 244
Phone: (610) 519-6415
Fax: (610) 519-5672