Upper-Division Curriculum Highlights

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Among the unique features of Southwestern’s upper division curriculum are:

  • ­More than 50 professional skills courses
  • ­An innovative January intersession
  • Five advanced Capstone courses
  • ­Floating mini-term courses  for additional curricular enrichment
  • ­Three specialized Windows Into Practice courses:
    • Big and Medium Law Firm Practice
    • Public Interest Law Practice
    • Small Law Practice Management

Professional Skills Requirement

This requirement applies to students who entered law school PRIOR to August 2016. 

Southwestern has a Professional Skills Requirement pursuant to ABA Standard 302. Students must take and receive credit for a course that has been specifically approved and designated as meeting the professional skills requirement.

The most current list of courses which meet the professional skills requirement for the 2017-2018 academic year may be viewed online through WebAdvisor on the MySWLAW portal (log-in required). When searching for sections, students should choose the term along with “Professional Skills Reqmt” in the drop-down menu under Course Levels.

Professional Skills Requirement courses offered in the last three years can be seen by clicking here, or by checking the appropriate box and hitting the Filter button on the courses page of this website.

Note: All courses listed under the Experiential Requirement satisfy the Professional Skills Requirement.

Experiential Requirement

This requirement applies to all students who entered law school AFTER August 2016.

Southwestern has an Experiential Requirement pursuant to ABA Standard 303.  Students must take and receive a minimum of six credit hours of course work that has been specifically approved and designated as meeting the experiential requirement.

 The most current list of courses which meet the experiential requirement for the 2017-2018 academic year may be viewed online through WebAdvisor at the MySWLAW portal. When searching for sections, students should choose the term along with “EXP Reqmt” in the drop-down menu under Course Levels.

Experiential Requirement courses offered in the last three years can be seen by clicking here, or by checking the appropriate box and hitting the Filter button on the courses page of this website.

Upper-Division Writing Requirement

Southwestern has an Upper Division Writing Requirement for graduation from the law school. This requirement may be fulfilled by a student taking either a seminar or a course which has been specifically approved and designated as meeting the writing requirement. Successful completion of a Note or Comment of publishable quality in Law Review or successful completion of the Law Journal Seminar will also satisfy the writing requirement. Since instruction of this kind requires a low student-faculty ratio and out-of-classroom supervision of the students' research and writing, the seminar/course enrollment will normally be limited to 20 students.

The approved courses in these categories for the current academic year can be found under Required Courses on the Registration page of the MySWLAW portal (log-in required).

Seminars/Writing Requirement courses offered in the last three years can be seen by clicking here, or by checking the appropriate box and hitting the Filter button on the courses page of this website.

NOTE: Course selection is subject to change. Some elective courses are not offered every year, and seminar topics vary from year to year.

January Intersession, Mini Term Courses, Capstone Courses

The January Intersession consists of a one-week term held before the regular Spring Semester begins and features a selection of about a dozen innovative courses that are more suited to short-term, intensive treatment than to a traditional semester. Students have the opportunity to enroll in one-unit courses focusing on a discrete topic with a skills or practice focus. The classes meet three to four hours a day for five days and most are graded on the performance of skills or a final paper. Enrollment in the January Intersession is limited to upper-division Day and Evening students and second-year SCALE students. While it is mandatory for SCALE II students, it is discretionary (rather than mandatory) for all other upper-division students. Invitations to teach these special short courses are directed to interested full-time and adjunct faculty as well as other experts in the field who otherwise might not be available for a full semester.

Capstone Courses

Capstone Courses provide the opportunity for advanced study, with special emphasis on teaching the Carnegie Foundation Report principles of theory to practice and professionalism. A given Capstone could be interdisciplinary, cover multiple subjects, and be team-taught. Students might opt to enroll in such a course during their final semester or year of study, after having completed the applicable prerequisites. Enrollment is limited to ensure individual attention, as well as sufficient time and resources for simulations—including but not limited to advocacy, alternative dispute resolution, and transactional skills. Evaluation is based on skills versus an exam. Students in all programs—Day, PLEAS, Evening, and SCALE—are eligible to take Capstones. These courses are taught primarily by full-time faculty, in some cases team-teaching with practitioners serving in the capacity of adjunct or visiting professors, or perhaps as guest speakers.

Capstone courses offered in the last three years can be seen by clicking here, or by checking the appropriate box and hitting the Filter button on the courses page of this website.

Floating Mini-Term

The Floating Mini-Term concept is somewhere in between the January Intersession and Capstone Courses. A course offered on a Floating Mini-Term basis will treat a traditional subject, but during a period of four to seven weeks, rather than a traditional 14-week semester. The precise length will vary, depending on curricular interest, the availability of the anticipated professor, and the nature of the subject. The Mini-Term program enables Southwestern to enlist distinguished guest faculty from around the country or even internationally to teach specialized courses.