The Registration and Academic Records Office is responsible for conducting the registration process; planning and coordinating examinations; maintaining student records, including posting grades, calculating class ranks, graduating students and notating academic standings and awards; as well as preparing transcripts, diplomas and bar certifications. The office also processes deferments and serves as the main reception area for the law school.
Current Students may find detailed registration information, such as instructions, required course lists, etc., on the MySWLAW Portal (log-in required).
Determination of Credit Hours for Coursework
Students are required to complete 87 credit hours to graduate. Generally, each hour of classroom credit is based on 60 minutes of direct faculty instruction. For students in the traditional program, the academic semester includes 14 weeks of direct instruction, followed generally by two weeks for final examinations. For students in the SCALE program (Southwestern's two year accelerated program), each credit hour, with any exceptions noted below, is based on 14 hours of instruction.
In each program, each unit of credit is equivalent to 14 hours and totals 840 minutes of instruction. For each hour of classroom instruction, students shall spend, on average, a minimum of two hours (based on a 60-minute hour) on out-of-class work. For example in a 3 unit course, meeting a total of 3 hours a week, the student would be expected to spend a minimum of 6 hours a week on out of class work during the semester. In SCALE, a 3 unit course may meet 4 hours a week to accommodate the different structure of the term. In this instance, the student would be expected to spend a minimum of 8 hours a week on out of class work during the term.
In each program, with exceptions noted below, a credit hour totals 840 minutes of instruction. For each credit hour of classroom instruction, students shall spend, on average, a minimum of two hours (based on a 60-minute hour) on out-of-class work during the semester. During the summer session, each hour of classroom credit is based on 60 minutes of direct faculty instruction over 7 weeks, followed by .5 weeks for final examinations.
The Law School faculty, upon the recommendation of the Curriculum Committee, establishes the number of credit hours allotted for each course. To assess whether a course proposal meets these requirements, the Curriculum Committee normally looks at the number of credit hours suggested in the course proposal; and reviews the course syllabus, reading assignments, and assessments to determine compliance with the accreditation requirements for instruction time and out-of-class preparation time. If it appears the contact hours or out-of-class preparation time may be insufficient, the Curriculum Committee will request that the course proposal or syllabus be modified to comply with the applicable standards, prior to approval.
The Vice Dean's Office is responsible for monitoring the enforcement of this policy, including periodic review of course syllabi, readings, and other assignments to ensure compliance with ABA Accreditation Standard 510. In no event, shall a course be approved that does not meet the minimum of 700 minutes of instruction per credit hour, or is not the equivalent amount of work with an appropriate combination of in-class instruction, direct faculty instruction, and out-of-class student work as required by ABA Standard 510.
Upper Division Writing and Experiential Requirements
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.
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.
Overview of courses that fulfill these requirements:
- To see a list of Upper Division Writing Requirement courses taught in the last three years, click here or choose the Seminars/Writing Requirement checkbox on the courses page.
- To see a list of Experiential Requirement courses offered in the last three years click here or choose the Experiential Requirement checkbox on the courses page.
Note: Course selection is subject to change. Some elective courses are not offered every year, and seminar topics vary from year to year.
On occasion, students may need verification of their enrollment at Southwestern for purposes such as eligibility for insurance coverage or deferment of student loans. Official verification of enrollment may be obtained through the Registration and Academic Records Office. There is no fee for this service.
The office cannot verify enrollment beyond the current academic year. However, all students pre-register for an entire academic year each Spring. Enrollment will be verified for the official dates of each semester once a student has completed the registration process. Verifications will not be mailed before the first day of classes.
Students are certified as full-time if they are registered for 10 or more units, part-time/half-time if they are registered for 8 or 9 units, and less than part-time if they are registered for 7 or fewer units per semester.
Students may request enrollment verification by completing an Information Request Form at the Registration and Academic Records Office in W102. Former students may request verification of enrollment by sending a signed, written request to:
Registration and Academic Records Office
Southwestern Law School
3050 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90010-1106
The request should include your name, the name under which you attended (if different), your social security number, dates of attendance, date of graduation, and a complete address of where you like the verification sent.
Please allow five working days to process requests, except at peak periods when more time is needed.
Requirements for the receipt of the degree of Juris Doctor (J.D.) from Southwestern follow. Please consult the Student Handbook for detailed or additional information.
- Successful completion of 87 units. No course will be considered satisfactorily completed and no course or unit credit will be granted if a grade of F is received. A student may not graduate with a grade of incomplete on his or her transcript.
- A cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.33 (2.00 for students who completed one or more semesters prior to the implementation of the new grading policy in Fall 2005), calculated on the basis of all work completed at Southwestern.
- Successful completion of all required courses as outlined in the Student Handbook, Part I, Graduation Requirements.
- All required courses must be passed with a grade of D- or higher. A student who fails a required course must repeat that course during the next semester in which it is offered. Failure to pass the required course a second time will automatically result in academic disqualification.
- Any student who anticipates graduation but has been academically disqualified and subsequently readmitted to the law school may be required to meet additional requirements as determined by the Admissions and Scholastic Standards Committee.
Note: With the written approval from the Dean of Students, a Southwestern student may take course work at another law school, and under certain circumstances as outlined in the Student Handbook, have a maximum of six (6) units counted toward completion of the Juris Doctor degree. See Section VII of the Student Handbook for complete details.
Visiting Alumni/Attorneys Forms
Transcripts may be requested by completing the Transcript Request form (PDF).
Transcripts may also be obtained through TranscriptsPlus, a secure online service offered by Scrip-Safe International. There is a processing fee of $2.25 per order, in addition to the regular transcript fees charged by Southwestern. Payment may be made by credit or debit card. Expedited delivery services are available via FedEx for an extra cost. Additional policies apply when ordering through Transcripts on Demand and should be reviewed before creating an account and requesting transcripts.
The following policies apply:
- Official and Unofficial transcripts may be requested from the Registration and Academic Records Office. Transcripts are $5.00 each (processed within 5-7 business days), payable in advance.
- Rush transcripts are $15.00 for the first copy and $5.00 for each additional copy requested at the same time (processed within 24 work hours), payable in advance.
- Normally, 5-7 working days are required for processing transcript requests, except at peak periods when more time is needed to fill all requests.
- Requests for transcripts must be made in writing because of the confidential nature of a student's records.
- If you have an outstanding financial obligation with the law school, your transcript cannot be released until such obligation is resolved with the appropriate law school office.
- Transcripts include all work completed at Southwestern. Partial transcripts are not issued.
- Official transcripts can be issued directly to students, agents or institutions.
- We do not copy other college/university or law school records.
- Transcripts mailed directly from the Registration Office to scholarship foundations for current students are free.
- Unofficial transcripts bear the "Issued to Student" stamp.
- Transcripts sent via postal mail will be sent first class through U.S. postal mail to the address indicated by the Requestor on the Transcript Request Form.
- Electronic transcripts are subject to the above policies and will be delivered through the FERPA compliant eSCRIP network provider. The Recipient's email address is required. It is the requester's responsibility to determine if the Recipient accepts electronic transcripts. Southwestern is not responsible for transcripts that are requested to be sent to unsecure email sites or the Recipient's use of said document(s). Corrections to incorrect Recipient email addresses provided by the Requestor are considered a new transaction and subject to additional fees.