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Completion of the First-Year Curriculum

All students must successfully complete the entire first-year curriculum prior to graduation. Successful completion requires a final course grade of 2.0 (D) or above. A student who receives a failing grade in a first-year course will be required to re-take the course and complete it with a passing grade. Failure to do so will prevent the student from receiving his or her JD degree.

Courses in the First-Year Curriculum

The first-year curriculum consists of the following courses:

  • Contracts
  • Law, Language and Values
  • Procedure I
  • Torts
  • Constitutional Law: Structure
  • Criminal Law
  • Property
  • Legal Research, Writing and Analysis I and II

All students will take an elective course in the Spring semester. The elective course choices are:

  1. Business Literacy
  2. Constitutional Law: Rights
  3. Ethical Issues For Public Interest, Government, And Criminal Lawyers (Legal Profession)

Students who do not take the Constitutional Law: Rights elective or a Legal Profession elective must take these classes as upper-division students. Legal Profession must be completed before the end of the second year of law school. Constitutional Law: Rights may be taken during the second or third year of law school. Successful completion of both classes is required for graduation.

Please see section 4.1 of the Student Handbook for detailed descriptions of the courses in the first-year curriculum.

Transfer Students

Most of the courses above are offered as part of the required first-year curriculum at the majority of ABA-approved law schools. Students transferring into USC from other ABA approved law schools will not be required to re-take courses completed at the law school they transferred from. Courses in the USC first-year curriculum that transfer students have not completed must be taken, and successfully completed, during their first year at USC. Please note the following:

  • Most transfer students will not be required to complete the Legal Research, Writing and Advocacy courses since ABA law schools require students to take similar courses during their first year.
  • Transfer students will not be required to complete Law, Language and Values.
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