Academic Information


Frequently Asked Questions

Credit For Outside Courses

Other Credit Issues

Can I take outside courses at Boston University for credit even if I'm not in a dual-degree program?

Yes, as long as they are graduate-level or, if they are open to both undergrads and graduate students, if students obtain the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs' permission (room 1070H) and if the professor certifies to the Law School Registrar's Office (in writing) that you will be held to graduate-level performance. Also, the other school must allow you to take the course as a guest student. If you are not in a dual-degree program, you may apply up to 12 credits total for graduate-level, non-law work at BU, and may apply no more than four credits for any one outside course in a semester.

**Please note: that when determining how many credits the Law School can grant toward the J.D. degree for an outside course, we must follow ABA requirements which mandate 700 minutes of in-class time per credit. To calculate credits, we multiply the number of hours per week that an outside course meets times the number of weeks of instruction and then divide by 700. If that calculation results in, e.g., 3.2, we only give 3 credits for the course toward the J.D. (We do NOT round up).

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How do I get the outside course listed on my law schedule and transcript?

Because the Law School has a registration system separate from the University's system, to register for a non-law, BU course, you must follow the registration procedures of the other BU school/department, PLUS you must fill out a paper add form at the Law School Registrar's Office to have that course put on your Law schedule and transcript. You cannot use Web-Reg to get the outside course listed on your Law schedule.

Again, to comply with American Bar Association accreditation requirements, please be sure to confirm with the Law Registrar's Office how many Law credits you may receive for a non-law course, since the number may differ from what the other school grants for credit.

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Can I take undergraduate courses at Boston University for credit toward my JD?

Not unless the course is level 500 or above. If you are still interested in taking an undergraduate course at Boston University (i.e., a physical education class or a foreign language class), your tuition covers up to 18 credits per semester; as long as you don't exceed 18 credits in a semester, you can take an undergraduate course but you won't receive JD credit for it. Students who exceed 18 credits in a semester will be responsible for the additional tuition charges.

Note that some undergraduate courses, such as gym classes, may require that you go to every class or else you will fail the class. If that is a problem, you may want to audit the class; however, audited classes are counted toward the 18 credit maximum that your tuition covers. For the procedure for auditing classes at BU, check with our Registrar's Office.

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Can I take law courses at another law school in the Boston area for credit?

Possibly. BU Law has an arrangement with Boston College Law School whereby our students can take selected courses at BC Law School. See Article IV, section 3.a. of our Academic Regulations for the procedure to follow.

To take courses at Boston-area law schools other than Boston College Law School, students must comply with Article IV, section 3.b. of our Academic Regulations.

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Will the grade for an outside course be included in my BU Law grade point average?

The grade for an outside course for which you receive BU Law credit is listed on your BU Law transcript; however, that grade is NOT factored into your BU Law grade point average.

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Can I get credit for law-related outside work during a semester if I am not paid for that work?

The only way students currently may receive credit for outside work is through one of our clinical programs, including the Legal Externship Program. The reason is that it is hard to monitor the quality of outside work experience, plus the faculty wants to ensure that students receive faculty supervision.

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If I volunteer for a firm, government agency, or judge over the summer, can I get credit?

This is governed by Article IV, section 7. With advance approval of the Dean or Dean's designate (Associate Dean Gerry Muir in this case), students can receive up to 2 credits per summer for certain externship experiences if he/she does not get paid. However, those credits may not reduce the minimum credits required for a semester or year, nor will they count toward the 84 credit requirement for graduation. The reason is that summer externships are not faculty supervised, and they vary tremendously in terms of supervision and the type of work experience that students receive.

See Dean Muir in the Student Affairs Office, for details if you are interested in doing this.

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Can work that I did for a journal be used for seminar or independent study credit?

No. Faculty policy prohibits independent study or seminar credit for work that is done as part of a student's journal responsibilities.

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