The Quarter System

The quarter system is a unique part of the traditional UChicago education. It allows students to take fewer courses each quarter than a semester system, but more courses over their entire legal education. 

The quarter system during the 1L year allows UChicago Law students to take a broader range of courses than would be possible under a semester system. In Autumn Quarter, students take a unique first-year course called Elements of the Law. In addition, students take five core courses in the Autumn and Winter quarters, each for one quarter: Civil Procedure, Contracts, Criminal Law, Property, and Torts. All first-year students also participate in the year-long legal writing program under the supervision of one of the six Bigelow Teaching Fellows. 

In the Spring Quarter, each 1L takes a legislation course and a transactional course, and chooses a constitutional law elective from a group of selected courses. Finally, the quarter system allows each 1L to take an elective such as Comparative Legal Institutions, Critical Race Studies, Managerial Psychology, and Legal History of the Founding Era (to name a few). Students choose from a list of seven to nine 1L-appropriate courses, many of which provide good foundations for both upper-level coursework and summer jobs. Learn more about the first year curriculum

In the second and third years, the quarter system continues to allow students to take a wider variety of classes while taking fewer at any one time. This provides a great deal of flexibility, especially as students participate in clinics, moot court, and journals, and look at sequencing of classes based on individual interests and career goals. Learn more about the upperclass curriculum. 

Perhaps most importantly, the quarter system at the Law School is the same as the quarter system at the rest of the University of Chicago, making it simple for students to take advantage of the huge variety of courses the University has to offer. Nearly the entire University is an easy walk from the Law School, and students may take up to four classes anywhere else in the University during their second and third years. Students often take these classes in the Booth School of Business; the Harris School of Public Policy; the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice; the Pritzker School of Medicine; and a variety of graduate departments.

View Quarter System Frequently Asked Questions.