1.12 Registering for Classes


To graduate, the Law School requires all J.D. students to be in residence, full-time, for nine quarters of no fewer than nine credit hours per quarter. Each of those credit hours must be successfully completed (i.e., students must pass and receive credit toward their J.D. degree). Furthermore, failure to complete nine credits during a quarter may trigger an obligation to return student loans, if the loans require a student to maintain full-time status. J.D. students must complete 105 credit hours, including a professional responsibility class and two substantial pieces of writing.  The Class of 2017 and Class of 2018 also must complete a professional skills course. Beginning with the Class of 2019, the ABA has replaced the professional skills requirement with an eight credit experiential learning requirement that can be met through simulation courses, law clinics and field placements. 

In addition, the Class of 2018 and the Class of 2019 also must complete 40 credits in non-clinical Law courses taken from permanent faculty at the University of Chicago Law School, including Visiting Faculty, Emeriti, Clinical Professors, Senior Lecturers at the Law School, tenured University of Chicago professors with permanent offices in the Law School, and Booth faculty teaching in the Doctoroff program.  Bigelow and other Fellows, as well as Lecturers in Law, are excluded.   

Students who have passed a state bar exam in the United States prior to matriculating in the J.D. program at the Law School may be exempt from certain required classes.  Such decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis by the Dean of Students and Deputy Dean depending upon legal coursework completed at other institutions. 

To graduate, the Law School requires all LL.M. students to be in residence, full-time, for three quarters, with no fewer than nine Law School credit hours per quarter.  Please note, however, that LL.M. students must earn a minimum of 30 credits from the Law School to sit for the New York bar exam.  

First-year students are assigned to sections and registered by the Registrar for all classes except their spring quarter elective.

Second- and third-year students and LL.M. students register themselves for classes using a web-based registration system.  Non-first-year students seeking to register for first-year required classes must contact the Registrar.

The Law School course registration process is fully described and governed by the online registration instructions, which are updated quarterly.  Please see http://www.law.uchicago.edu/students/registration for the most up-to-date registration instructions. 

Initial registration takes place several weeks prior to the start of each academic quarter. Students are notified of the availability of online class schedules and registration procedures via email. The registration process for each quarter consists of several periods: (1) initial bidding for limited enrollment offerings and registration for non-limited enrollment offerings; (2) continuous registration; (3) online add/drop; (4) late add/drop (a paper-based process); and (5) the withdrawal-only period (students abandoning a class after the last day to drop receive a grade of “W” if they drop the class up to the last day of classes or a failing grade if after the last day of classes).  Students must refer to the online academic calendar for specific dates for each quarter (http://www.law.uchicago.edu/students/academiccalendar).  Deadlines are strictly enforced.

Seminars and Simulation Classes

The following paragraph applies to J.D. students in the Class of 2017 only. As per the rule in place when this class entered the Law School, such students are permitted to enroll in up to four seminars and/or simulation classes per academic year, no more than three of which may be taught by individuals who are neither tenured professors, tenure track professors, clinical professors, fulltime clinical lecturers and full-time clinical instructors, visiting professors, emeritus professors, tenured University of Chicago professors who have permanent offices at the Law School, nor senior lecturers.[1] In some instances, preferences are granted to second- or third-year students. While many seminars and simulation classes can accommodate all of the registering students, on occasion, certain seminars and simulation classes will be oversubscribed; enrollment into seminars and simulation classes is typically via the bidding process (see Bidding below). Generally, seminars are capped at 20 students.  In some seminars, enrollment is limited to a smaller number. Regardless of whether a seminar or simulation class has a waitlist, all seminars and simulation classes are considered “limited enrollment classes.”  Students are required to drop all seminars and simulation classes in excess of the four seminar rule before the end of the third week of the quarter.  Multi-quarter seminars count as one seminar.  With the exception of Greenberg Seminars, all multi-quarter workshops (e.g., the Law and Economics Workshop, the Legal Scholarship Workshop, etc.) and seminars are considered seminars under this rule.

Limit on Enrollment in Kirkland & Ellis Corporate Lab Clinic & Courses Taught by Kirkland & Ellis Corporate Lab Clinic Faculty

Students may enroll in no more than 14 total credits with the Director of Kirkland & Ellis Corporate Lab Clinic Programs and any other instructor who teaches in the Kirkland & Ellis Corporate Lab Clinic, including no more than 9 credits in the Kirkland & Ellis Corporate Lab Clinic itself.  All credits taken during the 2L and 3L years with any instructor who teaches in the Kirkland & Ellis Corporate Lab Clinic count toward this 14 credit limit.

The Kirkland & Ellis Corporate Lab instructors for the 2016-17 school year will be Professors Zarfes, Kramer, and Avratin.                    


During the initial bidding and registration period of each quarter, students bid online for certain class offerings. Students may bid for up to five offerings per quarter and must rank them in order of preference. The maximum number of credits in which a student can be registered via the bidding process is fourteen; the actual number is typically lower due to pre-registration into continuing classes, clinics, independent research projects, etc.  Generally, 2Ls, 3Ls, and LL.Ms are on equal footing, since many of these seminars are offered only once or in alternating years.  Please note, however, that faculty may choose to alter the priority system for their particular class based on the nature of the class.  Please see each quarter’s registration materials for additional information.

Waitlisted/Closed Classes

Students must attend the first meeting of a seminar, simulation class, or a course with a waitlist in order to stay enrolled in the class.  A student who is on the waitlist and wishes to register for the class must attend the first class as well.  In many cases, the professor is able to accommodate the students on the waitlist who attend the first class. A student who wishes to drop a limited enrollment class (whether a seminar, a simulation class, or a course that was included in the bidding process) must do so by the date and time specified by the Office of the Registrar.  (See the Academic Calendar for each quarter’s deadline.) Please note that many faculty will drop students who do not attend the first class, regardless of whether or not the class has a waitlist.

It is the student’s responsibility to make sure classes are dropped by the deadline.  Students should not assume that by not attending the first meeting they have been dropped from a class and should not rely on faculty to drop them.

Greenberg Seminars

Greenberg Seminars, open only to Law School students, are designed to afford students the opportunity to engage in informal discussions with Law School faculty members on a range of topics. The groups, normally limited to twelve students, meet in a faculty member’s home five or more times over one or more quarters. Topics and participating faculty are announced prior to the autumn quarter registration period. Participating students earn one credit, which is by default allocated to autumn quarter. Students may reallocate the credit to any other quarter in which the specific Greenberg seminar meets. To do so they must contact the Assistant Registrar within the applicable Add/Drop period.  Attendance at all sessions is required to earn the credit. Priority is given to third-year students who have not previously participated in a Greenberg Seminar and who are not currently registered in another Greenberg Seminar.  Students may bid for more than one Greenberg but will initially only be enrolled in one. Greenberg Seminars are graded Pass/Fail.  Greenberg Seminars do not count towards the Class of 2017’s limit of four seminars/simulations per academic year (see the Seminars and Simulation Classes section for additional details). 

Classes Outside of the Law School[2]

During their second and third years, J.D. students may take up to four classes (for a total of twelve credits, not more than six credits per quarter) outside the Law School for credit toward their J.D. degree and quarterly residency requirement, subject to the following conditions: (1) the courses must bear a relation to their future legal practice or to the study of law in general; (2) the course must be graduate level, although exceptions are occasionally made for undergraduate foreign languages that students have not previously studied or that students test into; (3) with the exception of Booth classes, students must petition through the Office of the Registrar (see http://www.law.uchicago.edu/students/petitions/nonlawcourse) and receive permission before enrolling in any class outside the Law School; (4) students may take no more than six credits outside the Law School during any given quarter; (5) students taking classes outside the Law School during their final quarter of study must explain the Law School’s grading deadlines to the faculty member and the faculty member must agree, in writing, to provide a final grade or a provisional pass (if taking a class at Booth) by the University deadline for submission of grades for graduating students; (6) the class may not have substantial overlap with any class taken at the Law School or any prior institution; and (7) classes at other law schools or universities may not be substituted.  Satisfaction of these seven conditions is determined by the Dean of Students and the Office of the Registrar.

Classes offered by other units/departments within the University that are cross-listed with the Law School do not count against the 12-credit limit, and law students do not need to petition to register in those classes.  Law students registered in cross-listed classes must register for such classes using the LAWS-prefixed course number and also must receive a numerical grade (e.g., law students may not register to take cross-listed classes for a letter grade nor Pass/Fail).   

Determinations about the appropriateness of a particular class for a particular student’s course of study should not be interpreted as universal approval of the class for all students in a given year or in subsequent years.

Students may take classes in other departments on either a graded or pass/fail basis. Students and the instructor in the class will establish the conditions of the grade. If the graded option is selected, a letter grade will be recorded on the Law School transcript but will not be included in the calculation of grade point averages.

LL.M. students may take non-Law School classes with an approved petition, but the credits will not count towards the 27 credits required to graduate.

Please follow these steps to register for a class outside of the Law School in any unit/department of the University but Booth:

(1)        Go to my.UChicago and click on the Class Search link.
(2)        Choose a department from the list and set the course career to “Graduate.”
(3)        Review the list of classes offered by the department and select a graduate level class that you would like to take.
(4)        Email the instructor of the class in which you seek to enroll.  In some cases you will need the professor’s approval to register, and you should establish with the professor whether you will be taking the class Pass/Fail or for a letter grade.
(5)        Complete the online petition to take a non-Law School class for credit.  The petition is available on the Law School website at: http://www.law.uchicago.edu/students/petitions/nonlawcourse.
(6)        Petitions may be submitted through the end of the first week of class. Petitions submitted thereafter will not be considered.
(7)        After your petition is submitted, you will receive either an approval or denial from the Office of the Registrar via email.
(8)        If the petition is approved, the Assistant Registrar will enroll you and notify you once that process is complete.

The process and procedures for Law School students to take a class at Booth are established and implemented by Booth.  If you are interested in taking a class at Booth, please follow the instructions detailed on the Law School website at http://www.law.uchicago.edu/students/petitions/nonlawcourse/booth.  Please also review the Booth website at https://www.chicagobooth.edu/programs/taking-courses-at-booth. Credits for Booth classes count toward the twelve credit limit and the maximum of six credits of non-Law School classes per quarter.

As soon as the Booth registration is completed (during the first week of Booth classes), you will receive an email confirmation of your registration status. If you decide not to take the Booth class for which you registered, you must immediately notify Booth and the Law School Registrar (in no case later than the end of the third week of classes). Booth registration, course attendance, and grading are governed by all applicable Booth rules.

Booth registration information for non-Booth students, including links to course information, syllabi, exam schedules, and deadlines, is available at:

Booth requires that students taking a Booth course who would like to elect Pass/Fail grading must complete the Pass/Fail Request form in the Booth Dean of Students’ Office (typically by the Friday of the fourth week of the quarter). After this deadline, no changes can be made to a Pass/Fail request.  If you intend to take a Booth course Pass/Fail, make certain that it is permitted, as some professors do not allow the Pass/Fail option.

For additional information on taking classes across the Midway, please visit http://www.law.uchicago.edu/students/acrossthemidway.

Adding/Dropping Courses

For classes not governed by the rules applicable to limited enrollment classes, students must complete all adds or drops to their class schedule by the third week of the quarter. The deadline is strictly enforced. After the third week, there can be no changes in a student’s enrollment except in extraordinary circumstances. A student who fails to complete a class and who drops a class after the deadline will receive a “W” (up to the last day of classes) or a failing grade (after the last day of classes) on his/her transcript for that course. Permission to drop a class after the deadline will not be granted (even with a W) if (1) the class was included in the bidding process and oversubscribed at the time of registration; (2) the student has received 50% or more of the final grade; (3) the professor objects to the drop; (4) the student will have less than nine credits for the quarter; (5) the student has begun the final exam; or (6) the request fails to meet the aforementioned “extraordinary circumstances” condition. Failure to read and follow the directions for adding or dropping a course or to take note of the applicable deadline is not considered an extraordinary circumstance.

Additions after the first week require the permission of the professor.  In light of ABA requirements concerning class attendance, faculty generally do not allow students to add a course after the first week.

These rules also apply to compressed schedule courses and multi-quarter courses, unless explicitly contravened in the course description.

Conflicts Between Classes

Pursuant to ABA requirements, students may not register for two classes if there is a time conflict with any portion of any of the time slots (including pre-scheduled make-up time slots) or if travel time between classes would make the student late for the second class. There are no exceptions to this rule.

Similar Classes

Certain courses will cover substantially similar material. Accordingly, students may not receive credit for both classes. Examples of such overlapping classes include the following (this is not meant to be an exhaustive listing of such classes):

  • International Law and Public International Law
  • Trial Advocacy and Intensive Trial Practice Workshop
  • The same course taught by different professors (or the same professor), e.g., Corporate Finance at the Law School and at Booth.

It is impossible to list all of the potentially similar classes outside the Law School. Students who note similarities in the course descriptions should contact the Office of the Registrar to determine whether both classes may be taken.  The burden to avoid overlapping classes falls on the student.


For actions outside the usual procedures, petitions are available online at http://www.law.uchicago.edu/students/academics/petitions

Petitions are required to do the following:

Registration Restrictions

Students may not register for classes beyond their first quarter if they:

  • Have registration restrictions placed by any office of the University (such as the Bursar’s Office, the Financial Aid Office, etc.);
  • Have not satisfied the State of Illinois immunization requirements; or
  • Have not furnished the Office of the Registrar with an official transcript of their undergraduate work or of graduate work done before matriculation at the Law School. The transcript(s) must be sent directly from the other institution(s) to the Law School and must bear the degree earned.

Additional restrictions pertaining to specific quarters/classes/students are listed online at http://www.law.uchicago.edu/students/registration.

[1] In order to assist students with identifying which classes are counted as one of these three, a new key (l - Lecturer-taught seminar/simulation class) has been added to the course descriptions page available at http://www.law.uchicago.edu/courses.

[2] This section of the Student Handbook does not apply to non-law students taking classes at the Law School, who are limited to six credits, governed by other Law School policies, and should consult the Law School Registrar.