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Registration Rules & Policies


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.


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.

Experiential Learning - Clinics & Externships


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 creditsNo 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 externshipsNo more than a total of 9 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.

Second Semester Externships:  A second semester of an externship with the same host organization is permitted with the permission of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.  At a minimum, the second semester must involve significant additional development of the student’s knowledge, experience, and skills.  In most cases, enrollment in the second semester will not be permitted until a substantial portion of the first semester of the externship has progressed. 

Work Time Requirement:

  • 135 hours for 3 credits
  • 180 hours for 4 credits
  • 270 hours for 6 credits
  • 540 hours for 12 credits

The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs may approve an externship for any credit amount between 3-12 credits. The appropriate work time requirement, equal to 45 hours per credit, would attach to any such externship. 

Judicial ExternshipsStudents 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.

Credit Limitations on Non-Instructional Courses
(Including Co-Curricular Activities, Professional II, III, and Experiential Courses):

No more than a combined total of 26 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, and courses taken in parts of the University outside the Law School for which credit toward the J.D. degree is granted.

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 Seminar and Directed Research classes satisfy the graduation requirement for a Seminar course.
  • No more than a combined total of six credit hours from these courses will be credited towards graduation.

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.  Students may not drop a course after the last class of the semester.

Graduate Tax Courses

JD students may take courses in the Graduate Tax Program for credit towards the JD Degree, however 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.

Legal Writing Course Failure Policy

A student who fails Legal Analysis, Writing and Oral Advocacy I (Legal Writing) shall not be permitted to continue in Legal Writing II or take Legal Writing III. Instead, the student must successfully complete the Legal Writing Remediation Program during the spring semester of the student’s first year. Upon successful completion of the Remediation Program the student must retake Legal Writing I in the fall of the student’s second year, take Legal Writing II in the spring of the student’s second year, and take Legal Writing III in the fall of the student’s third year. A student who fails Legal Writing II must retake it in the spring of the student’s second year and must take Legal Writing III in the fall of the student’s third year. In both cases, the student must earn a “C” or better in the repeated course to earn credit and satisfy the requirement (consistent with Rule 13), and if the student does so, a “P” will show on the retake. The “F” will remain on the transcript and will calculate into the student’s GPA.

A student is not eligible for Journal membership or to participate in the Reimel Competition until the student has successfully completed Legal Writing I and II. A student who does not pass either Legal Writing I or II on the second attempt will be excluded from the Law School.


Students must check the course descriptions for every course before registering to determine if the course carries a pre- or co- requisite.  NOVASIS should 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 available in the Course Catalog on Novasis, and students are required to review them before registering.

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 online.

  • If a class is full, you have the option to add yourself to the waitlist.
  • You may add yourself to the waitlist for a course even if you are currently enrolled in a conflicting class.
  • There is no limit to the number of courses for which you can be waitlisted.
  • If you are on the waitlist for a course and you see an open seat, it is likely a seat earmarked for the next person on the waitlist. We do not recommend that you drop a course for which you are currently enrolled until you receive a notification e-mail and secure your seat in the waitlisted course.
  • If you are the next person on the waitlist, you will be notified via e-mail. You will have 24 to 48 hours to add yourself to the class or decline the seat.
  • If you do not add yourself to the class before the specified deadline, your offer will expire and the seat will be offered to the next person on the waitlist. This is an automated process, so if you miss the deadline, you must add yourself to the end of the waitlist.
  • If you are not the next person on the waitlist, you must wait until you are notified via e-mail. The waitlist will be utilized until the end of Add/Drop for each semester.

Spring 2024 First Day Assignments

(Updated January 12, 2024)


  • Textbook List for Spring 2024 (last updated Jan 17th)
  • 1L textbooks are also available for 2-hour check out at the Library Circulation Desk
  • Students taking courses that use Course Packets will receive ordering instructions from their faculty via email. Packets may be purchased online using NovaBucks.

Note: These lists are not final. Please check back regularly for updates. The list above includes items that are available for free/free to students unlike the individual course listings found on 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 Law School Registrar:

Phone: 610-519-7017
Fax: 610-519-7495
Office Hours:
9:00 AM–5:00 PM