Registration Rules and Policies
It is important for students to familiarize themselves with the academic rules and policies and the student handbook. In addition, university policies of confidentiality and harassment also apply to law students at Villanova.
These rules and policies are MOST relevant to registering for classes
Minimum/Maximum Credit Load
- Students may not take less than 12 credit hours during a semester.
- Students may not take more than 17 credit hours during a semester.
Students must check the course descriptions for every course before registering to determine if the course carries a pre- or co- requisite. Because we require students to register for a full year of classes during the registration period, the on-line registration program (NOVASIS) will not prevent you from registering for a class for which you do not have the prerequisite, however, you will not be granted credit for any course you take without having completed the prerequisite, even if you complete the entire semester. Course descriptions are included in this booklet as well as being available on the Registrar’s web site, and students are required to review them before registering.
Clinic, Externship, and Practicum Limitations
During any given semester, a students cannot register for more than one course from the following list:
Clinic, Externship, and Practicum Credit Limitations
- No more than a combined total of 17 clinic, externship, and practicum credits may be taken by a student during the three years of law school.
- No more than 14 credits of these courses many be taken in any one academic year.
- A student may not take more than 2 externships, 2 practicums, or an externship and a practicum, and may not earn more than a total of 9 credits for practicums and externships, during the 3 years of law school. With the approval of the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, a student may take 12 credits in externships.
- Students participating in Judicial Externships may not receive credit for a second judicial externship unless that externship is served with a different court at a different level (for example, a first externship with a trial court and a second with an appellate court). To be eligible for a second judicial externship, the student must obtain written permission from the faculty supervisor of judicial externships verifying that the second externship will be served with a different court at a different level.
Please refer to the information on the Registrar’s web site for further details: http://www.law.villanova.edu/currentstudents/clinicsandexternships/clinicsandexternships.asp
Practical Writing & Research Paper Classes
Students must satisfy both the Practical Writing and Research Paper requirements to graduate. The Research Paper requirement can be satisfied by designated Research Paper courses including Directed Research.
- A student may not take more than a combined total of six credit hours of Directed Research and/or Research Paper credits to be counted towards graduation. Journal credit does not calculate into this limitation.
- Every student (beginning with the class of 2015) is required to take Legal Writing III in the Fall or Spring semester of their 2L year. This must be done concurrently or prior to fulfilling the Legal Writing requirement. Students will have an option, subject to availability, to select an appellate track or a transactional track.
Students must obtain the approval of the sponsoring faculty member after which they need to submit the form available on the Registrar’s website. The Directed Research paper must be finished during the semester the student is registered for the project. In addition:
- No student may undertake more than one Directed Research project with the same professor while at the Law School.
- No student may receive credit for more than two Directed Research projects while at the law school.
- No student may receive credit for more than one Directed Research project in a semester.
- Both Research Paper and Directed Research classes satisfy the graduation requirement for a Research Paper course.
- No more than a combined total of six credit hours from these courses will be credited towards graduation.
A student registering for a course as an audit must obtain permission from the faculty member and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. A student auditing a course is expected to prepare for and attend class regularly. The class to be audited may not have a time conflicts with another class the student is registered to take. Typically, the auditing student will not take the exam. The audited course will appear on the transcript with the notation "AU". No credit or grade will be awarded, and the student may not later take the course for credit. Professors may impose additional requirements to audit their class.
Graduate Tax Courses
J.D. students may take courses in the Graduate Tax Program for credit towards the J.D. Degree, but the student must obtain the permission of the Director of the Graduate Tax Program and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. The form is available on the Registrar's website. A letter grade and credit will be awarded for satisfactory completion of the course, and these appear on the student’s transcript. However, the grade for the graduate tax course will not be averaged into the student’s grade point average. Typically, students not in the JD/LLM Program will not be permitted to take more than four (4) LLM courses for credit towards the JD degree.
Students interested in the joint JD/LLM Program should contact the Director of Graduate Tax.
Regular attendance is required in all courses. Failure to maintain regular attendance is grounds for exclusion from the school or a course. In accordance with the Attendance Policy found in Academic Rule 3. Attendance and preparation, or lack thereof, and class participation may be considered by the individual faculty member with regard to grades and by the Faculty and the Dean with regard to honors, awards, scholarships and similar matters.
Students may not enroll in courses where the class schedules conflict. Overlaps in class times are not allowed. Full attendance in all classes is required.
Except for students accepted as advanced standing students (students accepted into the law school as transfer students after their first year of study at another law school), the law school does not accept transfer credit from other law schools. Under limited circumstances, students may earn up to six credits for attending an ABA approved summer abroad program offered by an ABA approved law school. Details regarding summer study abroad can be found in the Student Handbook under Summer Abroad Programs and on the Law School web site. Check this information carefully before applying to any summer abroad programs. Summer Abroad forms are available on-line.
Students may drop or add courses until the end of the first week of classes each semester. After the end of the first week, no student may drop or add classes without permission from the professor and the Academic Dean. Permission will only be granted under extraordinary circumstances. Please see the forms page on the Registrar’s site for the appropriate form. Students may not drop a course after the last class of the semester.
Legal Writing Course Failure Policy
Competence in the skills of legal analysis, writing, and oral advocacy depends upon the successful sequential completion of both semesters of the first-year Legal Analysis, Writing, & Oral Advocacy I and II courses. A student who earns a grade of F in Legal Writing I is not considered to have developed the foundational skills necessary to succeed in Legal Writing II, and will not be permitted to continue in Legal Writing II until the student has earned a satisfactory grade in Legal Writing I. Instead of continuing in Legal Writing II, a student who earns a grade of F in Legal Writing I must successfully complete the Legal Writing Remediation Program (“Remediation Program”) during the spring term of the student’s first year. Upon successful completion of the Remediation Program, the student may then repeat Legal Writing I during the fall term of the student’s second year. If the student successfully completes Legal Writing I, as defined in the following paragraph, the student may take Legal Writing II during the spring semester of the student’s second year. A student who earns a grade of F in Legal Writing II must repeat the course during the spring term of the student’s second year. In either case, a student will not be eligible to compete or otherwise be considered for membership on any of the Law School Journals or on the Moot Court Board, or compete in the Reimel Competition, until the student has earned a satisfactory grade in both Legal Writing I and II, as defined below.
Consistent with Academic Rule 13, a student who is required to repeat either Legal Writing I and/or II must attain a grade of C or better when the student repeats the course in order to graduate from the Law School. Although the Academic Rule states that the student need only take the next exam to make up a required course, the nature of Legal Writing I, as a course consisting of a series of exercises and projects building to a final project, necessitates that the student actually attend class and do all exercises, projects and assignments satisfactorily in order to enroll in Legal Writing II.
Because the Reimel Moot Court Competition is a year-long commitment requiring fall/spring participation, the consequence for a student who does not satisfactorily complete both parts of Legal Writing by the end of the second year, is exclusion from law school because the student is, at that moment, incapable of completing the requirements to graduate in three consecutive years.