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Office of the Registrar - Curricular Advising FAQ

(Click on a question to go to the answer)

Registration

Auditing Courses

Graduation

Grades

Curriculum

Bar Related Courses

Transfer/Transient/Study Abroad

Absences


The following are basic answers to frequently asked questions. Please refer to the South Texas College of Law Student Handbook for more detailed information.

Registration

 What are the minimum and maximum course loads for a given semester?

Fall and Spring Semesters:

  • Part-time students – eight (8) to eleven (11)
  • Full-time students – twelve (12) to sixteen (16) hours.
  • Full-time students who wish to register for more than sixteen (16) hours must file a Course Add/Drop/Waiver form in the Office of the Registrar to request an overload.
  • Students who have extenuating circumstances and are unable to take a standard part-time load may request an underload of 6 hours or less by submitting a Course Add/Drop/Waiver form in the Office of the Registrar.

Summer Session:

  • Part-time students – three (3) to six (6) hours
  • Full-time students – seven (7) to nine (9) hours
  • Nine hours is the maximum allowed for the Summer Session.

Intersession:

One (1) to three (3) hours

    Note: A student must be enrolled for at least six (6) hours in a long semester and three (3) hours in a summer session toreceive financial aid. Financial aid is not available for intersession courses.

Is it possible to take less than eight hours in the spring or fall?

If a student wishes to take fewer than eight (8) hours, he/she must submit a Course Add/Drop Waiver form.

I am going into my final semester of law school, and I need seven or less hours to graduate. How do I get the published hourly rate?

Students requiring seven (7) or fewer hours to graduate will be charged tuition on an hourly basis, plus fees. This only applies to the fall or spring semesters as summer session tuition is only charged on an hourly basis.

In order to receive the hourly rate, students must notify the Registrar’s office in writing before the end of the add/drop period of their final semester.

I am a first year law student. Can I register for my classes?

First year students do not register for their classes. They are enrolled by staff in the Registrar’s office, and their class schedules are then made available through Stanley.

I am a first year law student. Will I be able to choose any elective courses?

A student will not be permitted to enroll in an elective or upper level required course unless that student has completed or is concurrently enrolled in the following courses:

  • Civil Procedure
  • Constitutional Law
  • Contracts I & II
  • Criminal Law
  • Evidence
  • Federal Income Taxation
  • Legal Research & Writing I & II
  • Property I & II
  • Torts I & II

Does South Texas College of Law have a summer session?

South Texas College of Law offers one eight week summer session. With the exception of part-time students attending the first summer session of their first year, students are not required to attend the summer session.

I am a first year part-time law student, but I cannot take classes during the summer session. What should I do?

Part-time first year students that cannot attend the summer session must submit a Course Add/Drop Waiver form to the Registrar’s office to set up individual programs.

Contracts II and Torts II are offered only in the evenings duringthe summer session.

I am a first year part-time law student starting in the fall. What summer courses can I take?

  • Part-time first year students that cannot attend the summer session must submit a Course Add/Drop Waiver form to the Registrar’s office to set up individual programs.
  • Contracts II and Torts II are only offered as evening courses during the summer session.

I am a first year full-time law student starting in the fall. What summer courses can I take?

First year full-time students who wish to register for summer session courses are strongly encouraged to register for the following courses: 

  • Federal Income Taxation and/or
  • Evidence, and/ or
  • Property II, and/or
  • Professional Responsibility (must take within the 60th hour)

They are also eligible to register for some non-required courses, such as Judicial Process Clinic I.

I am a first year full-time law student starting in the spring. What summer courses can I take?

No student who began law school in the spring semester is required to attend the summer session.  If you choose to attend the summer session, you must contact the Registrar’s office.

Students who began law school in the spring are eligible to register for the following courses:

    • Constitutional Law, and/or
    • Contracts II or Torts II 

What is an intersession? 

An intersession is a one-week mini session that is offered only twice a year the week before classes begin for the spring and fall semesters. Students can earn one (1) to three (3) credit hours during intersession; one (1) credit hour in a two-day course and/or two (2) credit hours in a four-day course. The courses are graded as Pass/Fail.

To be eligible for intersession, students must have completed the first thirty (30) hours of required courses and either have at least a 2.800 GPA (2.500 if enrollment commenced prior to 2011 Fall) or have taken the required thirty (30) hours of bar courses.

Do I receive a set schedule for the required courses Evidence, Federal Income Taxation and Property II?

Yes. Students are registered for Evidence, Federal Income Taxation and Property II. Full-time students are required to take these required courses in the first semester of their second year of law school. Students may choose additional courses i.e. Professional Responsibility, bar electives and/or non-bar electives.

I am a second (or third) year law student. I passed all of my required first year courses. Are any other courses required for graduation?

Beyond the first year required courses (including Federal Income Tax, Evidence, and Property II) the only required courses are:

  • Professional Responsibility
  • Substantial Writing Requirement
  • Skills Requirement
  • Bar Preview (if you are on academic supervision)

Is there a seniority system in regards to who gets "into" an elective course? What is it? How does it work?

After the first year, registration is based on the number of earned hours a student has at the end of the last graded term.  Priority is given based on seniority. 

For example:
Spring semester registration occurs during the fall semester. Therefore, registration will be based on hours a student has
earned at the end of the summer session or summer intersession.

If a student did not attend summer, his/her registration will be based on hours earned at the end of the previous spring semester.

Registration Priority

Minimum Earned Hours at end of Last Graded Term

First

79

Second

72

Third

60

Fourth

45

Fifth

30

Sixth

19


Note: Students may continue to register for classes after their designated registration date, but may not register prior to that date.         

Auditing Courses

Can I audit a class?

No. Only practicing attorneys are allowed to audit classes at South Texas College of Law.

Graduation

What are South Texas College of Law’s graduation requirements?

To graduate, you must:

  • Earn 90 semester credit hours within seven (7) years of the date of first enrollment. (No more than 30 hours may be earned at other law schools)
  • Achieve a cumulative GPA of at least 2.2. (2.0 if enrollment commenced prior to 2011 Fall).
  • Successfully complete the following required courses:
    • Civil Procedure
    • Constitutional Law
    • Contracts I and II
    • Criminal Law
    • Evidence
    • Federal Income Taxation
    • Legal Research and Writing I and II
    • Property I and II
    • Torts I and II
    • Professional Responsibility
    • Professional Skills course (minimum of two credit hours)
    • Substantial Writing course

Grades

Are there limits to how many pass/fail courses I can take?

There is no limit to the number of pass/fail courses a student may take.

What is a failing grade?

An “F”, “WF” or “U” is a failing grade.

When do I have to repeat a course?

A student may only retake a course if a final grade of “F” or “WF” is received in a required course.

If a student receives a failing grade in a required course, the student must retake the course(s) in the next semester in which it is offered and the student is enrolled. If the failing grade is posted after the add period for the next semester, the student must consult with the Registrar’s office. It is in the student’s best interest to repeat a failed course as soon as possible. Grades of “F”,“WF”, or “U” are not removed from a transcript or substituted by a retaken course and are used in GPA calculation.

I received a failing grade in a non-required course. Am I required to retake it?

No, you are not required to retake non-required courses.

What is the Academic Deficiency Policy?

Any student whose academic status fall under any of the following categories, must immediately contact the Office of Student Academic Affairs in Room 832.

Two Semester Rule: If a student completes his/her first two long semesters with a cumulative GPA below 2.200 (2.000 if enrollment commenced prior to 2011 Fall), he/she will be immediately dismissed for academic deficiency.

Probationary Rule: If a student’s cumulative GPA falls below 2.200 (2.000 if enrollment commenced prior to 2011 Fall) in any semester following the first two full semesters, he/she will be given the remainder of his/her current enrollment period to attain a cumulative GPA of 2.200. Failure to do so will result in immediate dismissal for academic deficiency.

Probationary Final Dismissal Rule: If a student successfully raises his/her cumulative GPA after application of the Probationary Rule, but fails a second time to maintain a 2.200 (2.000 if enrollment commenced prior to 2011 Fall) cumulative GPA, he/she will be immediately and finally dismissed for academic deficiency.

A student who is dismissed for academic deficiency is dropped administratively from all classes and is excluded from further attendance. Professors have no authority or discretion to permit further attendance by such students. A dismissed student is not eligible to continue employment with the college under circumstances that require student status. This also applies to students in study abroad programs.

If I am on Academic Supervision, what courses can I take?

Students whose enrollment commenced in the 2011 fall
term or after must have a GPA of 2.800 or higher.

1. A student will be subject to the additional requirements of Academic Supervision in either of the following two circumstances:

(a) The student is enrolled fulltime and his/her cumulative grade point average is lower than 2.800 after having attempted 30 semester hours or having completed two semesters, whichever occurs first; or

(b) The student is enrolled part-time and his/her cumulative grade point average is lower than 2.800 after having attempted 30 semester hours or having completed four semesters or sessions, whichever occurs first.

2. In addition to the other requirements for graduation applicable to all students, a student under Academic Supervision must satisfy all of the following special conditions:

(a) The student must take and receive a passing grade in the following courses: Consumer Transactions, Payment Systems, Secured Transactions, and Texas Pretrial Procedure.

(b) The student must take and receive a passing grade in at least six of the following nine courses: Agency and Partnership; Corporations; Criminal Procedure; Family Law; Marital Property; Oil, Gas, and Mineral Law; Texas Criminal Procedure; Texas Trial
& Appellate Procedure; and Wills, Trusts, and Estates.

(c) The student must take and attend the college’s bar examination preparation course. Students will satisfy this requirement only by attending at least 80% of the course’s regularly- scheduled sessions. Students will not pay for this course, and it will not count toward their 90 semester hours credit required for graduation.

Students whose enrollment commenced prior to the 2011 fall term must have a GPA of 2.500 or higher.

A student with a cumulative GPA lower than is subject to Academic Supervision and will be required satisfy all requirements as set forth in the student handbook, including completion or concurrent enrollment in the following courses before any non-bar elective courses may be taken:

Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts I and II, Criminal Law, Evidence, Federal Income Taxation, Legal Research & Writing I and II, Property I and II, Torts I and II, and Professional Responsibility; then

No fewer than 30 credit hours selected from the bar related courses listed below:

Administration of Estates & Guardianship; Agency & Partnership; Consumer Transactions; Corporations; Criminal Procedure; Family Law; First Amendment Law; Insurance Law; Marital Property; Oil, Gas, & Mineral Law; Payment Systems; Secured Transactions; Texas Criminal Procedure; Texas Pretrial Procedure; Texas Trial & Appellate Procedure; Wills, Trusts & Estates; then

Any course(s) that will satisfy the substantial writing and professional skills requirements for graduation and the Bar Preview course.

Curriculum

How can I meet the substantial writing requirement?

The substantial writing requirement may be satisfied by completion of at least one of the following:

  • A paper seminar with a grade of C or better; or

  • Supervised Research under the direction of a full-time faculty member with the resulting research paper receiving a grade of C or better. Student must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.000 (2.667 if enrollment commenced prior to 2011 Fall) or better; or

  • Law Review, completion of all writing requirements and four semesters’ enrollment. (3 credit hours)

  • Currents: International Trade Law Journal, completion of all writing requirements and two semesters’ service. (2 credit hours)

Which journal(s) count toward the substantial writing requirement?

South Texas Law Review, and/or CURRENTS: International Trade Law Journal meet the substantial writing requirement.

Does Legal Research & Writing count toward the substantial writing requirement?

No, Legal Research & Writing does not count toward the substantial writing requirement.

What is Supervised Research?

Supervised Research is a substantial research paper prepared under the supervision of a full-time faculty member. The student must meet with the faculty member selected to discuss the proposed research. If the faculty member consents, the student must then submit a Supervised Research form signed by the supervising faculty with an attachment describing in substantial detail the subject matter with topic outline, proposed research methods, reasons for pursuing the topic, and the nature of the student’s interest in the subject matter.

If approved, the student will produce a substantial research paper of publishable quality which must demonstrate intensive research in relevant legal and other materials, reflect originality in recommending solutions and be highly persuasive. Students undertaking supervised research will meet regularly with the faculty member supervising the research in order to ensure contemporaneous discussion, review and evaluation of the research experience.

A substantial research paper means a paper of not less than thirty (30) typewritten, double-spaced, letter-size pages of text, plus such footnotes as are appropriate for a paper of publishable quality.

A maximum of three seminars (including Supervised Research and non-paper or project seminars) may be applied toward graduation or be included in calculating the student’s grade point average.

What is a “paper seminar”?

Paper seminars are designed to foster in-depth research of specialized areas of the law. Enrollment is limited. A student must have satisfactorily completed 45 semester hours, plus completion or concurrent enrollment in all required courses. Additional prerequisites may be stated in the course description. Preparation and presentation of a research paper is required.

Paper seminars are graded based on a research paper of no less than twenty (20) typewritten, double-spaced, letter-size pages of text (or no less than 5,000 words of text), plus appropriate footnotes for a paper of publishable quality. Grade received must be a C or better.

A maximum of three seminars (including Supervised Research and non-paper or project seminars) may be applied toward graduation or be included in calculating the student’s grade point average.

How many hours must I complete before enrolling in an academic internship or direct representation clinic?

How many hours must I complete before enrolling in an academic internship or direct representation clinic?

Students who have successfully completed the first thirty (30) hours of required courses may enroll in Judicial Process Clinic I*, Access to Justice Clinic, and/or Family Law Clinic - Basic.
*Judicial Process Clinic I additionally requires students have no more than forty-four (44) semester credit hours completed. Students who have successfully completed all courses required for graduation (with the exception of the substantial writing requirement) and not less than forty-five (45) credit hours may enroll in Criminal Process Clinic, Judicial Process Clinic II, Public Interest Clinic, Government Process Clinic, Hospital Law Internship, Family Law Clinic – Advanced, Probate Clinic – Post Death Property Transfer, Probate Clinic, Estate Planning Clinic, and/or Mediation Clinic.

How many credit hours can I earn by taking an academic internship or direct representation clinic?

Judicial Process Clinic I, Hospital Law Internship, Access to Justice Clinic, Family Law Clinic – Basic, Probate Clinic – Guardianship of the Person and Estate Planning are two (2) semester credit hour courses.

Family Law Clinic – Advanced, and Probate Clinic – Post Death Property Transfer are three (3) semester credit hour courses.

Judicial Process Clinic II is a two to three (2-3)* semester credit hour course.

Criminal Process Clinic, Public Interest Clinic, Government Process Clinic and Mediation Clinic are three to four (3-4)* semester credit hour courses.

*Students must work 60 hours to gain one credit hour.
{Example: 120 hours worked = 2 Credit Hours}

Are there course prerequisites for academic internships and direct representation clinics?

Judicial Process Clinic II, Public Interest Clinic, Government Process Clinic and Hospital Law Internship* students must have successfully completed or be concurrently enrolled in Texas Pretrial Procedure.

*Hospital Law Internship additionally requires course work in the health law field or equivalent work experience

Criminal Process Clinic students must have successfully completed or be concurrently enrolled in Criminal Procedure.

Access to Justice Clinic and Family Law Clinic – Basic students must have successfully completed or be concurrently enrolled in Professional Responsibility.

Family Law Clinic - Advanced students must have successfully completed a Family Law course or a Family Law Clinic.

Probate Clinic – Post Death Property Transfer students must have successfully completed Wills, Trusts & Estates; the Guardianship Clinic; or the Estate Planning Clinic.

Probate Clinic – Guardianship of the Person students must have successfully completed or be concurrently enrolled in Wills, Trusts & Estates; a Probate Clinic; or the Estate Planning Clinic.

Estate Planning Clinic students must have successfully completed or be concurrently enrolled in Wills, Trusts & Estates; or a Probate Clinic.

Mediation Clinic students must have successfully completed Mediation Practice or Mediation Theory.

How many hours must I complete before enrolling in an advocacy course?

Students who have successfully completed the first thirty (30) hours of required courses may enroll in Appellate Advocacy, Mock Trial Litigation* and/or Moot Court.

*Mock Trial Litigation additionally requires that students have no more than sixty (60) credit hours completed.

Students who have successfully completed forty-five (45) semester credit hours of required courses may enroll in Civil Pretrial Advocacy, Civil Trial Advocacy, Criminal Trial Advocacy and/or Family Law Trial Advocacy.

How many credit hours can I earn by taking an advocacy course?

Moot Court and Appellate Advocacy are one (1) semester credit hour courses.

Mock Trial and Civil Pretrial Advocacy are two (2) semester credit hour courses.

Civil Trial Advocacy and Family Law Trial Advocacy are three (3) semester credit hour courses.

Criminal Trial Advocacy is a four (4) semester credit hour course.

Are there course prerequisites for advocacy courses?

Appellate Advocacy students must have successfully completed Legal Research & Writing II.

Civil Pretrial Advocacy students must have successfully completed Texas Pretrial Procedure.

Civil Trial Advocacy, Criminal Trial Advocacy*, and Family Law Trial Advocacy students must have successfully completed Evidence.

*Criminal Trial Advocacy additionally requires successful completion or concurrent enrollment in Criminal Procedure.

How will I know if a course is designated as a Professional Skills course?

  • Skills courses are listed on the class schedule under “Skills Courses”.
  • When registering on STANLEY, skills courses can be found by typing “SKIL” in the Course Attribute field.

Are there limits to how many clinics or skills courses I can take?

There is no overall limit to the number of skills courses a student may take, however:

  • Students can only take six (9) aggregate hours of Clinics .
  • Students can take one Transactional Skills (Corporate, Real Estate, Int'l Business Energy) course.
  • Students can take one of the following: Contract Building Blocks or Contract Negotiation and Drafting
  • Students can take one Trial Advocacy Course (Civil, Criminal or Family) Note: This does not include Civil Pretrial Advocacy.
  • Students can only take six (6) aggregate hours in two or more of these four courses: Moot Court Competition, Law Review, Corporate Counsel Review and CURRENTS: International Trade Law Journal.

Do South Texas College of Law students have opportunities to focus their studies on a specific area of law?

Students interested in pursuing practice-specific areas of study may follow an academic concentration. South Texas College of Law offers fifteen academic concentrations:

  • Civil Litigation - Business
  • Civil Litigation – Personal Injury
  • Corporate & Business
  • Criminal Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Estate Planning & Probate
  • Family Law
  • General Practice
  • Health Law
  • Intellectual Property
  • International Business & Law
  • Labor & Employment Law
  • Public Interest
  • Real Estate Law
  • Taxation

These categories are intended to provide guidance to students who have made some preliminary determinations about the areas in which they hope to practice and to provide enlightenment as to the related nature of some courses.

For a list of courses under each concentration, refer to the South Texas College of Law Student Handbook section Course Groupings for Curricular Planning.

  I would like to study abroad for a semester. What programs does South Texas College of Law offer and whom do I contact about them?

The Foreign Programs Office coordinates the summer study abroad and cooperative foreign exchange programs in which the college is a partner. Descriptions of the college’s summer study abroad and full semester exchange programs are found in the Academic Regulations section of the South Texas College of Law Student Handbook.

For more information on the South Texas study abroad or foreign exchange programs, contact the Office of Student Organizations and Foreign Programs at (713) 646-1779.

Bar Related Courses

Are there any “bar” courses that I should take before graduation to be a well-rounded attorney?

Classes that are not required, but fall into the “bar” course category and provide a well-rounded legal education, include:

Administration of Estates & Guardianships – 2 hours

  • Agency & Partnership – 3 hours
  • Consumer Transactions – 3 hours
  • Corporations – 3 hours
  • Criminal Procedure – 4 hours
  • Family Law – 3 hours
  • First Amendment Law – 2 hours
  • Marital Property & Homestead – 3 hours
  • Oil, Gas & Mineral Law – 3 hours
  • Payment Systems – 3 hours
  • Secured Transactions – 3 hours
  • Texas Criminal Procedure – 2 hours
  • Texas Pretrial Procedure – 3 hours
  • Texas Trial & Appellate Procedure – 3 hours
  • Wills, Trusts & Estates – 3 hours

Note: Possible bar crossover questions may come from the following courses:

  • Estate & Gift Taxation
  • Business Bankruptcy
  • Consumer Bankruptcy & Debt Collection

Does South Texas College of Law offer courses to prepare students for the Bar Exam?

South Texas College of Law offers a free Bar Preview course.

Bar Preview is a highly successful, free program taught by Professor Peter Lewis and open to 3L students in their last semester who will be eligible to take the next bar exam.

Bar Preview is designed to help the student prepare for and pass the bar with content focused on the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) component of the Texas bar exam. It is offered as one-and-a-half hour sessions Monday and Wednesday, or a three- hour session on Saturdays. Saturday classes are usually presented as a video-recorded class of the previous weekday sessions.

For students who want to pass the bar the first time, Bar Preview has proven invaluable as a companion to BAR-BRI and Kaplan PMBR. For more details, contact the Registrar’s office.

Am I required to take the Bar Preview course?

The bar exam preparation course is recommended for all students in their final semester. A student is required to take the Bar Preview course if his/her GPA is below 2.800 (2.500 if enrollment commenced prior to 2011 Fall) in their final semester.

Transfer/Transient/Study Abroad

I would like to study abroad for a semester. What programs does South Texas College of Law offer and whom do I contact about them?

The Foreign Programs Office coordinates the summer study abroad and cooperative foreign exchange programs in which the college is a partner. Descriptions of the college’s summer study abroad and full semester exchange programs are found in the Academic Regulations section of the South Texas College of Law Student Handbook.

What is an International Process Clinic?

A variety of international placement opportunities currently exist, and others are in development. International internship opportunities in judicial and ADR settings are available in Panama, Jamaica, and Guyana, in collaboration with the Frank Evans Center for Conflict Resolution. Applications for these academic internships are available in the office of the Associate Dean of Clinical Studies, Room 236T.

  • Successful completion of thirty (30) credit hours
  • Maximum of six (6) hours credit

Can I visit another school?

Students interested in visiting another law school may receive credit toward graduation by taking courses as a visiting student at another ABA-approved law school.
In order to do so, students must:

  • Have completed thirty (30) semester at South Texas College of Law;
  • Have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.800 (2.500 if enrollment commenced prior to 2011 Fall);
  • Have a zero balance;
  • Obtain written approval from the Registrar’s Office.

How can I obtain approval to visit another law school?

In order to do so, students must:

  • Submit and have approved a Letter of Good Standing request form;
  • Attach course descriptions of all courses he/she is interested in taking prior to registration at the other law school

Can I take my required courses at another law school?

No. Students may not receive credit from another law school for courses that are required as part of South Texas College of Law’s
degree program.

Are there any other course restrictions for visiting another law school?

In addition to other requirements, students will be given permission to visit other Houston law schools only if the course is not taught at South Texas College of Law. Students may not receive credit for external placements offered in study abroad programs conducted by other law schools, or as a visiting student at other American law schools, except in extraordinary circumstances as determined by the Associate Dean having responsibility for clinical programs.

How many credit hours may I earn as a visiting student at another law school?

A student will be granted credit toward graduation for no more than a total of thirty (30) semester hours earned as a student at other law schools.

How will my grades transfer back to South Texas College of Law?

Upon completion of approved courses, submit an official transcript from the other school to the Office of the Registrar. Note: Transcript must be submitted directly from the other law school
.
Credit will be given only if the grade received for that course is no lower than the minimum grade average required for graduation at the school attended (i.e., a grade of C or better is generally required in each and every course). All eligible grades received from another law school as a visiting student or at a study abroad program not sponsored by South Texas College of Law are recorded on a as a “P” and are not included in the student’s cumulative grade point average.

Absences

How many absences am I allowed before I am dropped from a course?

Semester

Number of Days Class Meets Per Week

Number of Allowed Absences

Fall
and
Spring

1

2

2

5

3

8

Summer Session

1

1

2

3

3

4

4

7

     

 

 

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