Academic Programs

Frequently Asked Questions

Who should apply to the Semester-in-Practice Program?

The Semester-in-Practice Program is designed for students with well-defined career and academic goals.

Back to Top

What types of organizations qualify as possible placements?

The externship can be at a government, judicial, or public interest organization. Placements may also be in the in-house counsel department of a corporation. Law firm placements are allowed but only if you work exclusively on pro bono projects. Wherever the placement, you must work on projects typically handled by an attorney, and your supervisor must be an attorney.

Back to Top

Should I participate as a 2L or 3L?

Although the Program is technically open to 2Ls and 3Ls, most students participate their 3L year. We recommend you spend your 2L year laying a coursework foundation and solidifying your career goals. While there are no formal prerequisites, a list of recommended classes can be found here.

Back to Top

How many credits will I receive?

You will receive 12 credits: 10 credits (ungraded) for working full-time at your field placement; and 2 credits (graded) for submitting journals, for completing assigned readings, and for writing a research paper. The fieldwork requirement is 65 days of full-time work.

Back to Top

Can I satisfy the professional responsibility requirement by taking a course at another law school during my semester away?

No. You will be way too busy during your semester away to fit in another class. In addition to working full-time (and having a commute), you will be writing a research paper and journals. If you are interested in doing the SiP Program your last semester in law school, you must plan ahead and take professional responsibility first.

Back to Top

What contact will I have with BU Law while I'm away?

During your semester away, you will have regular contact with the Office of Clinical Programs, to whom you will submit weekly timesheets and your journals. You will also work closely with a faculty sponsor. The faculty sponsor will oversee the academic portion of your semester (i.e. your journals and research paper).

The faculty sponsors are as follows: Professor Susan Akram (Geneva Externship); Professor Sean Kealy (Government Lawyering Externship); Professor Tracey Maclin (Death Penalty Externship). If you participate in the Independent Proposal Externship, you will choose your own faculty sponsor.

Back to Top

A potential placement supervisor has asked me what is required on their part. What should I tell them?

You may tell the supervisor that you require supervision by an attorney, enough meaningful work to keep you busy full-time, and solid feedback on assignments. We will also ask the supervisor to meet with us for a brief site visit. The supervisor should sign the supervisor agreement, found on the SiP "How to Apply" page. Please let the supervisor know how much we value their participation.

Back to Top

Where will I live while I am away? Will BU Law help me find housing?

Participating students are responsible for arranging their own housing.

Back to Top

How do I apply?

For the application and detailed instructions, click here.

Back to Top

What criteria will be used to evaluate my application?

The Application Committee will examine your professional and academic goals and the degree that the externship will support those goals. The Committee will also examine the quality of the externship opportunity, including the degree of supervision you will be receiving. There is no maximum limit on the number of students; therefore, you are not competing against other students.

Back to Top

Is there a minimum GPA to apply?

There is no minimum GPA. The Application Committee makes a case-by-case determination whether it is appropriate for a student to spend a semester away.

Back to Top

If I participate in the Semester-in-Practice Program, can I also participate in a part-time externship program a different semester? How about a study abroad program?

It depends. Students may receive a maximum of 16 non-GPA credits during their time at BU Law. Students wishing to exceed the 16 non-GPA credit maximum may petition the Academic Standards Committee for approval. The Semester-in-Practice Program awards 12 non-GPA credits. Other activities for which you receive non-GPA credits include: study abroad programs, part-time externships, working on a journal, and credit for a class at another school in BU (such as a class at the Graduate School of Management), to name a few.

Back to Top