Academic Advising Frequently Asked Questions
This page is for JD and dual-degree students only. LLM students should consult the FAQ page available here.
Check the Degree Requirements page. The requirements for each of the degrees offered by Duke Law, including dual-degrees, are linked from there.
To earn credit for your SRWP, you must complete and submit the registration form before the end of drop/add. At the end of the semester, you must complete the certification form and submit it no later than February 15 for fall courses and June 15 for spring courses. Both forms must be turned into the Registrar’s Office (Rm. 2027 or firstname.lastname@example.org). There may be a delay before you see the completed SRWP posted to your Advisement Report on DukeHub.
You should plan to complete your SRWP before your final semester at Duke. If you are unable to do so, please contact Academic Affairs.
No. Because of substantial overlap in course material, you may only take one course that satisfies the ethics degree requirement. If there is a compelling reason why you should be permitted to take an additional ethics course, please contact Academic Affairs. Note: this limitation does not apply to a one-credit course such as Law 775: Corporate Ethics, which cannot be used to satisfy the ethics graduation requirement
If you are planning to take the New York Bar Exam at any point in the future, be aware that New York State Bar Rule 520.3(6)(i) prohibits earning more than 15 credits in distance learning (remote) courses. A distance learning course is one in which more than one-third of instruction is online. If you take any online courses, you are responsible for tracking your compliance with this rule and should note that some hybrid courses will count as distance learning courses under their definition.
In general, we expect that students will not take more than two online courses in any given semester.
Although you’ll register for classes on DukeHub, you’ll find more information about available courses through the Course Browser and on the Registration Portal. Once available for a given semester, the class and exam schedule will be posted on the Registration Portal. A number of other useful links can be found there as well, including the forms that you need for your SRWP, registering for a non-Law course or independent study, and permission to add or drop a course after the deadline.
Use the Course Browser filters to find the kinds of classes you’re looking for. Try filtering by semester and by “Course of Study.” For example, select the appropriate semester and “JD Experiential” to find the experiential courses offered. You can also use the Course Browser to search by course credits, filter by practice area, see how frequently a course has been taught in the past, look at sample syllabi, and see the basis for evaluation, among other things.
Regular JD candidates must register for a minimum of 12 credits and a maximum of 16 credits each semester. If you earned 30.5 credits as a 1L, you’ll need to average about 14 credits per semester for your final two years, depending a bit on your participation in Wintersession. Sometimes taking a lighter course load 2L fall semester can be helpful as you adjust to extracurricular responsibilities.
Dual-degree students may register for up to 17 credits in a semester. To remain on track for graduation, you should average 15-16 credits/semester in the 2L and 3L years
Yes, in certain circumstances. During the drop/add portion of their final semester, JD and JD/LLM students who need fewer than 12 credits to graduate may request a waiver of the minimum course load requirement from Academic Affairs and be permitted to enroll in 11 credits. In rare cases, students may receive permission to take fewer than 12 credits in a semester prior to 3L spring.
Dual-degree students pursuing a degree from another school within Duke may count those courses towards their credit totals in a given semester, for purposes of both the minimum course load and semesters-in-residence requirements
You can find forms for independent studies, SRWPs, non-Law courses, and courses at UNC or NCCU Law under the Forms heading on the right-hand side of the Registration Portal.
During the registration and drop/add period, courses may be held for specific groups of students to ensure their availability to students who need them. For example, you may see spots in required JD/LLM-LE courses held for those students. During fall registration and throughout the summer, you’ll see courses reserved for “LAW2.” These are for our international LLMs who will not choose their courses until they arrive for orientation in August. Any unused reserved seats are released to the waitlist.
Sample syllabi are posted at the discretion of the faculty member. If there’s no syllabus available for a course you’re interested in, please contact the relevant faculty member to request a copy.
Wintersession is an (optional) opportunity for students to return to Duke shortly before the beginning of spring semester to take practical, hands-on courses offered for a half-credit and taught by faculty and practitioners. Registration typically takes place in late September or early October, with students permitted to take up to a full credit of courses. Participating in Wintersession is helpful with respect to skills-building, interacting with alumni and other lawyers, and earning credit towards graduation. You can find more information about the program at the Wintersession section of the website
In any given Duke Law course, students must be evaluated either on the Law School’s numerical grading scale or pass/fail, which the Law School calls “credit/no credit” (C/NC). The grading basis for each course is part of the approval process by the Curriculum Committee; courses are designated as graded-only, C/NC-only, or both. The last category is the only one that allows students and/or faculty to elect between a grade or C/NC for the course. Students may not take a course as C/NC if it was approved as graded-only.
Students can look for the C/NC designation both in the course description on the Course Browser and in the course information provided in DukeHub.
No, except that to be eligible for Latin honors at graduation, 80 percent of your coursework must be in graded credits.
You can review Rule 2-7 for more details about graduation honors.
Yes, except for the Appellate Litigation Clinic, and provided you concurrently enroll in an ethics course if required. The clinic enrollment policy can be found here.
Yes. Absent Administrative Committee approval, you may not earn more than a total of 12 credits through clinics. You are also limited to no more than eight credits, including advanced clinic enrollment, in any given clinic. If you wish to seek approval for additional credits, please contact Academic Affairs. You can read more about the clinic enrollment policy here.
A course at the graduate/professional school level (500-level or higher), will typically count as three credits toward your degree requirements. JD students are permitted to take one non-Law course; JD/LLM students are permitted to take two additional non-Law courses with permission from their LLM Program Director and Academic Affairs. Grades in courses taken outside of the Law School will not factor into your Law GPA, though the grade will show on your Duke transcript.
Registration information for the Graduate School and other professional schools is published by the Law School Registrar’s Office on the Registration Portal, along with a link to the non-Law course permission form. The permission form must be signed by a member of the Office of Academic Affairs. Only courses above the 500-level (graduate/professional school level) may be applied as credit toward the JD or JD-LLM degree.
Specific information about how to register for a course at Fuqua is also available on the Registration Portal, including the list of available courses in a given semester and the process to follow for taking one of those classes.
The Languages at Duke website has links to each department and program website, where you can find placement information for the individual language program(s). If you cannot easily find this information, call the main department number and ask for the number and/or email of the Director of Undergraduate Studies or Language Program Director or Coordinator, who should be able to assist you with placement. Please note that undergraduate courses cannot count toward any graduation requirement, including the number of credits. Only courses above the 500-level (graduate/professional school level) may be applied as credit toward the JD or JD/LLM degree.
Independent study is generally not permitted for students participating in Duke in DC or study abroad. Due to the intensive nature of project development for independent study, students should be in residence on-campus for the semester to have the full advantage of faculty guidance. If you have a compelling reason why you should be permitted to pursue an independent study while away from Duke, please contact Academic Affairs to discuss before asking a faculty member to supervise.
No. A student may not be enrolled in programs or courses at more than one school, absent an inter-institutional agreement between the schools. Duke Law does not have an inter-institutional agreement with any DC-area law schools.
No. A research paper written for the SRWP must be supervised by a Duke Law faculty member
Most employers accept the PD credit as sufficient to meet any credit requirements. Although it is non-academic, it is earned in part through your summer work experience. The Office of Academic Affairs can provide a letter of explanation to employers, if necessary.
The ABA requires that a student’s educational achievement in field placements (externships/internships) be evaluated by a faculty member in order for the school to grant academic credit for the experience. Because summer internship performance is evaluated by the employer/supervising attorney, and not by a Duke Law faculty member, we are unable to award academic credit for summer internships.
No, Duke Law does not have an available summer term for JD students to enroll in independent study.
Yes, JD students are permitted to attend the Duke-Leiden summer institute. However, the credits earned at the summer institute will not be grounds for a waiver of the minimum course load requirement in a later semester.
Reach out to Director of Academic Advising, James Lambert, and he’ll be happy to help you with study skills, notetaking, outlining, workload management, or anything else that might help you succeed in law school.
No. Your classes will be assigned and your schedule will be sent to you once it is finalized.
1Ls may enter a lottery for a spot in Business Associations, International Law, or Administrative Law in lieu of taking Property during spring of their 1L year. You will receive information about this option and relevant logistics in October or November. Your other classes will be assigned and there is no need to register.
We register for fall classes over the summer, typically in June or July. You’ll receive all of the information you’ll need for this process before registration and we’ll offer plenty of academic advising opportunities. Students taking Property or another required course during their 2L fall will be registered for those courses directly; those credits will not count against your first registration window. Please take note of when they are scheduled to meet, and be sure not to register for another course that conflicts.