Law School Curriculum

Written by Jared Vincenti
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The course of study in law school will vary from school to school, and from discipline to discipline. Obviously, a study of criminal law will draw on very different sources and influences than a study of entertainment law. Most law schools have very wide curricula that allow their students to pick the topics that interest them, while focusing on one particular avenue of study. However, there are core requirements for many law schools.

Commonly Required Courses

The courses that are mandatory for all law students are usually aimed at first year students who may have not yet chosen their departments and advisors. Many are review courses that cover the basics of a discipline, so that students can get a basic survey of a field before committing to upper level courses. These introductory courses are usually challenging and fast-paced, since they hope to cover as broad a base as possible.

The other types of courses that are usually required are courses on the history and principle of law. Depending on the school, these may cover ethical philosophy, or may skip ahead to the United States' Justice System. Regardless, the history of the Supreme Court plays a central role in law education, since the idea of precedent guides our court system.

When looking at a law school, you shouldn't worry so much about your required courses, as much as about the upper level ones. The bulk of your education will be found in the more advanced topics and seminars, so don't be frightened off by a large number of requirements. Even schools without mandatory course requirements will encourage you to take a wide range of courses, as this is the surest way to know that you've found the department that is right for you.


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