Registration Rules & Policies

Graduation Requirements:

All regular J.D. students must satisfactorily complete 88 credits to graduate. 

In addition:

  • Students may not take fewer than 12 credit hours during a semester.
  • Students may not take more than 17 credit hours during a semester.
  • In addition to the first year courses, the following upperclass courses are required:
    • Constitutional Law II
    • Legal Writing III (must be taken in the fall or spring of the second year and must be taken prior to or concurrent with the Practical Skills Writing Course)
    • Legal Profession
    • A Research Paper Course (any class that is a 6000 level course)
    • A Practical Skills Writing Course (any class that is a 5000 level course)

Beginning with the class of 2017, JD students will be required to take either a Clinic or an Externship before they graduate.

For more detailed information about required courses, consult the "Graduation Requirements" section of the Student Handbook.


Students must check the course descriptions for every course before registering to determine if the course carries a pre- or co- requisite.  Because we require students to register for a full year of classes during the registration period, the on-line registration program (NOVASIS) will not prevent you from registering for a class for which you do not have the prerequisite, however, you will not be granted credit for any course you take without having completed the prerequisite, even if you complete the entire semester.  Course descriptions are included in this booklet as well as being available on the Registrar’s web site, and students are required to review them before registering.

Clinic, Externship, and Practicum Credit Limitations

Concurrent enrollment prohibited: No student may take more than one experiential class (clinic or externship) in a single semester.

Credit limits for experiential courses:

Total credits: No more than a combined total of 17 credits from clinics and externships will be counted toward the total credits needed for graduation. 

Annual credits: No more than a combined total of 14 credits from clinics and externships taken in a single academic year will be counted toward the total credits needed for graduation.

Credits for externships: No more than a total of 10 credits from externships will be counted toward the total credits needed for graduation.

Exemption from credit limitation:  In some circumstances, such as participation in a full-time semester externship, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs may grant an exemption from the above limitations.   Please see the Director of Experiential Learning.

Judicial Externships:

Students participating in Judicial Externships may receive credit for a second judicial externship only if that externship is served with a different court at a different level (for example, a first externship with a trial court and a second with an appellate court). To be eligible for a second judicial externship, the student must obtain written permission from the Director of Experiential Learning verifying that the second externship will be served with a different court at a different level.


No more than a combined total of 13 credits in total of courses that fall within the following categories will be counted toward the total credits needed for graduation without the permission of the Academic Dean: externships, journals, moot court, directed research, and courses taken in parts of the university outside the Law School for which credit toward the J.D. degree is granted.

Joint degree programs: Joint degree students (other than students in the J.D./LL.M. Tax program) may receive credit for courses in the above categories only with the permission of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.  Please see the Director of Experiential Learning.

Practical Writing & Research Paper Classes

Students must satisfy both the Practical Writing and Research Paper requirements to graduate. The Research Paper requirement can be satisfied by designated Research Paper courses including Directed Research.

  • A student may not take more than a combined total of six credit hours of Directed Research and/or Research Paper credits to be counted towards graduation.  Journal credit does not calculate into this limitation.
  • Every student (beginning with the class of 2015) is required to take Legal Writing III in the Fall or Spring semester of their 2L year.  This must be done concurrently or prior to fulfilling the Practical Skills Writing requirement.  Students will have an option, subject to availability, to select an appellate track or a transactional track.

Directed Research

Students must obtain the approval of the sponsoring faculty member after which they need to submit the form available on the Registrar’s website. The Directed Research paper must be finished during the semester the student is registered for the project. In addition:

  • No student may undertake more than one Directed Research project with the same professor while at the Law School.
  • No student may receive credit for more than two Directed Research projects while at the law school.
  • No student may receive credit for more than one Directed Research project in a semester.
  • Both Research Paper and Directed Research classes satisfy the graduation requirement for a Research Paper course.
  • No more than a combined total of six credit hours from these courses will be credited towards graduation.


A student registering for a course as an audit must obtain permission from the faculty member and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. A student auditing a course is expected to prepare for and attend class regularly.  The class to be audited may not have a time conflicts with another class the student is registered to take. Typically, the auditing student will not take the exam. The audited course will appear on the transcript with the notation "AU". No credit or grade will be awarded, and the student may not later take the course for credit. Professors may impose additional requirements to audit their class.

Graduate Tax Courses

J.D. students may take courses in the Graduate Tax Program for credit towards the J.D. Degree, but the student must obtain the permission of the Director of the Graduate Tax Program and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. The form is available on the Registrar's website. A letter grade and credit will be awarded for satisfactory completion of the course, and these appear on the student’s transcript. However, the grade for the graduate tax course will not be averaged into the student’s grade point average.  Typically, students not in the JD/LLM Program will not be permitted to take more than four (4) LLM courses for credit towards the JD degree.

Students interested in the joint JD/LLM Program should click here.


Regular attendance is required in all courses. Failure to maintain regular attendance is grounds for exclusion from the school or a course. In accordance with the Attendance Policy found in Academic Rule 3.  Attendance and preparation, or lack thereof, and class participation may be considered by the individual faculty member with regard to grades and by the Faculty and the Dean with regard to honors, awards, scholarships and similar matters.

Schedule Conflicts

Students may not enroll in courses where the class schedules conflict.  Overlaps in class times are not allowed.  Full attendance in all classes is required.

Transfer Credit

Except for students accepted as advanced standing students (students accepted into the law school as transfer students after their first year of study at another law school), the law school does not accept transfer credit from other law schools. Under limited circumstances, students may earn up to six credits for attending an ABA approved summer abroad program offered by an ABA approved law school. Details regarding summer study abroad can be found in the Student Handbook under Summer Abroad Programs and on the Law School web site. Check this information carefully before applying to any summer abroad programs. Summer Abroad forms are available on-line.

Drop/Add Withdrawal

Students may drop or add courses until the end of the first week of classes each semester. After the end of the first week, no student may drop or add classes without permission from the professor and the Academic Dean.  Permission will only be granted under extraordinary circumstances.  Please see the forms page on the Registrar’s site for the appropriate form.  Students may not drop a course after the last class of the semester.

Legal Writing Course Failure Policy

Competence in the skills of legal analysis, writing, and oral advocacy depends upon the successful sequential completion of both semesters of the first-year Legal Analysis, Writing, & Oral Advocacy I and II courses. A student who earns a grade of F in Legal Writing I is not considered to have developed the foundational skills necessary to succeed in Legal Writing II, and will not be permitted to continue in Legal Writing II until the student has earned a satisfactory grade in Legal Writing I.  Instead of continuing in Legal Writing II, a student who earns a grade of F in Legal Writing I must successfully complete the Legal Writing Remediation Program (“Remediation Program”) during the spring term of the student’s first year.  Upon successful completion of the Remediation Program, the student may then repeat Legal Writing I during the fall term of the student’s second year.  If the student successfully completes Legal Writing I, as defined in the following paragraph, the student may take Legal Writing II during the spring semester of the student’s second year.  A student who earns a grade of F in Legal Writing II must repeat the course during the spring term of the student’s second year.  In either case, a student will not be eligible to compete or otherwise be considered for membership on any of the Law School Journals or on the Moot Court Board, or compete in the Reimel Competition, until the student has earned a satisfactory grade in both Legal Writing I and II, as defined below.

Consistent with Academic Rule 13, a student who is required to repeat either Legal Writing I and/or II must attain a grade of C or better when the student repeats the course in order to graduate from the Law School.  Although the Academic Rule states that the student need only take the next exam to make up a required course, the nature of Legal Writing I, as a course consisting of a series of exercises and projects building to a final project, necessitates that the student actually attend class and do all exercises, projects and assignments satisfactorily in order to enroll in Legal Writing II.

Because the Reimel Moot Court Competition is a year-long commitment requiring fall/spring participation, the consequence for a student who does not satisfactorily complete both parts of Legal Writing by the end of the second year, is exclusion from law school because the student is, at that moment, incapable of completing the requirements to graduate in three consecutive years.

Fall 2014 - 1st Day Assignments


For updated textbook information for the coming semester, please check the Villanova Bookstore website

(Under Books > Textbooks and Course Materials, select your term (semester), choose your department as LAW, then select your course number and section)

Information about textbook rental

Contact the Registrar

Phone: 610-519-7017
Fax: 610-519-7495
Office Hours: 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM