Academic & Course Advising

How many credits do I need to graduate?  What is an enrollment unit?  What courses are taught at the law school?

The answer to these and all other questions can be found in the law school Bulletin. The George Washington Law School Bulletin is the governing document of all policies and procedures at the law school. Updated yearly in August, you are expected to become familiar with this document. 

We recommend that students review their DegreeMAP to ensure they are on track for graduation. Instructions on how to navigate DegreeMAP can be found on our DegreeMAP website

Unsure of what you would like to study during your time at GW Law? Review our Professors' Guide to Meaningful Paths in Law

JD Graduation Requirements

To earn the JD, students must do the following:

  1. Earn 84 Credits - Of these credits, for non-transfer students, at least 67 must be graded credits (taken for a grade). Non-transfer students may count no more than17 Credit/No Credit towards the 84 credit requirement. Transfer students must earn at least 45 graded credits and can count no more than 8 Credit/No Credit towards the 84 credit requirement. 
  2. Complete 6.0 Enrollment Units- Students enrolled full-time for six semesters and evening students who earn 84 credits will automatically fulfill this requirement. Students who move between full-time and part-time status should ensure they earn 6.0 enrollment units.
  3. Fulfill three requirements beyond the first-year curriculum:
  • Legal Writing (journal participation or 8000 word (minimum) research paper evaluated as B- or better)
  • Professional Responsibility & Ethics (2 credit course for a letter grade)
  • Experiential Learning Credits (6 total credits required; select from designated courses/experiences, must register for a letter grade unless otherwise specified)

Students can complete a Degree Requirement Checklist to help track progress towards graduation.


Credit / No Credit Options

The below courses may contribute to the CR/NC credits available to students:

  • Clinics (1-6 credits per semester, however, the majority of Clinics are graded)
  • Conversion of graded elective courses (6 credits maximum, C- or better grade required, only 1 per semester) 
    • This category is not available to transfer students
  • Dean’s Fellows or Writing Center Fellows (2 credits per semester)
  • Field Placement Program (1-4 credits per semester, 8 credits maximum, 2 credit graded co-requisite)
  • GW Graduate Courses (6 credits maximum, related to legal studies, and B- or better grade required)
  • Joint degree candidates (up to a maximum of 12 cross-over credits allowed toward 84 total credits)
  • Journal (4 credits, 4-semester commitment)
  • Advocacy Competitions: ADR, Moot Court, and/or Mock Trial (maximum of 3 during the course of study, only 1 per semester)
  • Summer law courses at other law schools (6 credits maximum, C- or better grade required
  • Other: Upper-Level Writing, Reading Groups, etc.

Special Covid-19 Exceptions for 2020 to the CR/NC Policy

  • Courses taken during the Spring 2020 semester and Summer 2020 session on an ungraded basis do not count toward the 17 CR/NC limit with the exception of journal work. These courses will count as though they were graded toward the 67 graded credits required for graduation. 
  • All required courses taken in Spring or Summer 2020 (PRE, courses fulfilling the legal writing requirement, courses fulfilling the experiential learning requirement) taken on a CR/NC basis will count toward their respective graduation requirement. 
  • Normally letter-graded courses taken during the Fall 2020 semester and converted to CR/NC do not count toward the 6 credit conversion limit or the 17 overall CR/NC limit and will count as though they were graded toward the 67 graded credits required for graduation.
  • Additionally, given transfer students were allowed to use the Conversion Option during the Fall 2020 semester, any classes that cohort “converted” will count as though they were graded towards the graded credits required for graduation. 

Experiential Learning Credits

All JD students must complete 6 experiential learning credits to graduate. Below are examples of courses/experiences that will count towards this requirement:

  • Eligible Courses: Courses designated with an “(E)” in the Law School Bulletin will qualify for experiential learning credit. Examples include Advanced Appellate Advocacy; Alternative Dispute Resolution; Client Interviewing and Counseling; Legal Drafting; Mediation; Negotiations; Trial Advocacy and Pre-trial Advocacy. This is not an exhaustive list of eligible courses, and not all sections of the above-listed courses will qualify. See the web portal or Law School Bulletin for more information.
  • Clinics: Clinics include Criminal Appeals and Post-Conviction Services; Domestic Violence Project; Environmental Law; Family Justice Litigation; Health Rights Law; Immigration; International Human Rights; Law Students in Court; Prisoner & Reentry; Public Justice Advocacy; Small Business and Community Economic Development; and Vaccine Injury Litigation.
  • Field Placement Program: An unpaid externship with a judicial, government, or non-profit organization for a maximum of 4 credits in any semester and a maximum of 8 credits towards graduation. A co-requisite course evaluated on the basis of a letter grade must also be completed to earn the externship credits.
  • Advocacy Competitions: Alternative Dispute Resolution; Mock Trial; Moot Court Competition (*Note only external competitions count towards the experiential learning credit requirement).

Please note the following:

  • Co-requisite courses will not fulfill the Experiential Learning Credits if the student is permitted to enroll in the course without enrolling in Law 6668 (Field Placement)
  • The Field Placement tutorial (1 credit) will not fulfill the Experiential Learning Credits
  • Students enrolling in a tutorial instead of the co-requisite course will receive Experiential Learning Credits for the Field Placement, but not the tutorial
  • Any co-requisite course used to satisfy the Legal Writing requirement may not also be used to satisfy the Experiential Learning Credit requirement