Registration FAQs


What resources are available to help me pick my classes?

There are various resources on the Academics webpage to help you make decisions about what courses to take. For There are various resources on the Academics webpage to help you make decisions about what courses to take. For descriptions of all courses offered, please use the online Course Browser. The Course Selection Advice link and Faculty Counsel Videos provide guidance from faculty members and student organizations about academic planning.

You should also consult the Spring final exam schedule when scheduling classes. The exam schedule and the exam rescheduling rules are located on the Academics webpage. Please confirm your exam schedule and resolve all scheduling conflicts prior to making travel plans for the winter break. Please also take into consideration that winter weather may cause delays or cancellations, and make allowances in your travel plans for necessary exam rescheduling in that case.

In addition, you can schedule an advising session with Tia Barnes, Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs, to discuss course selection. To schedule an appointment, please e-mail Dean Barnes.

Where can I find more information about Duke's degree requirements?

Duke Law School faculty establish the rules and policies that govern a student's ability to earn a law degree from Duke University. The rules and policies are located on the Duke Law Academics webpage and select rules are included in the academic planners distributed every year by the Office of Student Affairs. Duke Law's rules conform to the ABA Standards for Approval of Law Schools.

How many credits do I need to take each semester?

Students may not take fewer than 12 credits or more than 16 credits in any given semester, unless a student seeks permission from the Dean’s Office prior to enrollment. Students should contact Dean Tia Barnes to seek such permission.

In order to fulfill credit requirements, a typical JD-seeking student should average 13.5 credits per semester during 2L and 3L years. A typical JD/LLM student who takes the standard 1L curriculum, no additional classes in the spring of his or her 1L year, and attends the summer institute, should average 15.25 credits per semester. A typical student earning a dual degree with another school or department at Duke should average 10.5 law school credits (plus credits required of the other school or department) per semester.

Can I change my course schedule after I register?

The Law School has a drop/add period that runs from the date you register for classes through the end of the seventh class day of the semester. With respect to adding classes, the drop/add period is the same, except that for classes that meet only once per week, you may add prior to the second class meeting.

After the drop/add period ends, you must get permission from the faculty member and the Office of Student Affairs in order to drop or add a class. The decision to allow a student to drop or add a class after the drop/add period is discretionary. A student may not drop a class after the seventh week of the semester without receiving a withdraw/pass or withdraw/fail notation on his or her transcript.

What is an ad hoc seminar? How do I enroll in an ad hoc seminar?

An ad hoc seminar is a one- or two-credit seminar designed and taught by students under faculty supervision. Ad hoc seminars are open to second- and third-year students and spring semester dual-degree students. Spring semester ad hoc seminar proposals are due to the Office of Student Affairs by December 1. Part of the ad hoc seminar experience is participating in the organization and design of the seminar. For this reason, students typically can not register for an ad hoc seminar after the seminar has been approved. Students interested in planning an ad hoc seminar should read Duke Law School Rule 3-12(2) or contact Dean Tia Barnes for more information.

How and when do I enroll in an independent study? How many credits can I earn through an independent study?

In order to enroll in an independent study, a student should select a research topic and ask a faculty member to supervise the project. If the faculty member is not a member of Duke Law's governing faculty, the student should contact the Office of Student or Academic Affairs to seek permission for that faculty member to supervise the paper. After the student has secured a faculty supervisor, he or she should complete the independent study form and submit it to the Registrar by the end of the drop/add period. JD students may earn up to 3 credits for an independent study paper. JD/LLM students may earn up to 4 credits for an independent study. The student's faculty supervisor sets the rules for a particular independent study project; however, one credit earned typically translates to 15 pages of writing.

How many non-law classes can I take? How do I enroll in a non-law class?

JD students may take three credits (typically one class) toward their law degrees in coursework offered by other schools and departments at Duke. The non-law class must be of suitable academic rigor; classes at the 100-level or above, and foreign language classes are presumed to be of "suitable academic rigor." JD/LLM students are permitted to apply up to nine non-law credits (typically three classes), six of which must be in international, comparative or foreign areas of study, toward their law degrees. To enroll in a non-law course (other than a Fuqua course), bring the permission to enroll in non-law course form and a copy of the course description, to Dean Barnes for approval. Download Fuqua's enrollment form. Students who are interested in taking a Fuqua course must submit the completed Fuqua course enrollment form with instructor signature to Dean Barnes no later than August 10.

How do I take a class at UNC Law or NCCU Law?

Students may take a class at UNC or NCCU Law Schools if the class is not offered at Duke Law or the student has an unavoidable scheduling conflict. Students register for a UNC or NCCU Law class by completing the inter-institutional registration form.