The first-year curriculum consists of a series of required courses taught in a specific sequence. Course work can be completed in either the full-time (day) or part-time (evening) program. Typically, the day program enrolls 180 students; the evening program has 70 students. One of the hallmarks of Rutgers School of Law–Newark is the small section. The day class is divided into six sections, each with 30–32 students. One course in the fall semester is taught in a small section; other courses are two or three sections (60 or 90 students). Legal Research and Writing sections are 15–16 students total. Similarly, the evening class is also divided into two smaller groups. One course in the fall is taught in the small group.
The fall semester consists of five courses and 16 total credits: Contracts, Property, Torts (4 credits each), Criminal Law (3 credits), and Legal Research and Writing I (1 credit). Final exams are at the end of the semester. The spring semester has three required courses, plus a required elective. The required courses are Constitutional Law, Civil Procedure (5 credits each), Legal Research and Writing II (2 credits), and an elective chosen from a select group of courses. The elective can be 3 or 4 credits. Total credits earned are 15 or 16, depending on the elective.
In the fall, you will have 16 hours of class time spread out over a five-day week. Students have the option to be placed in either an “early” or “late” track. For the early track, classes begin at 8:30 am and finish by 3:45 pm on most days. The late track starts at 9:55 am and concludes at 5:30 pm on most days. On Fridays, all classes are done no later than 2:20 pm. Tracking takes place in the summer and you will be asked whether you prefer an early or late track. In most cases, your request can be honored.
A typical day consists of two classes in the morning, a break in the mid-afternoon, and one or two classes in the afternoon. You will not have more than two classes in a row. It is important to have some down time between classes to meet with classmates informally or to look over your notes and prepare for the rest of the day.
Spring semester is a bit different. Constitutional Law and Civil Procedure will meet four times a week – one class will take place in the morning and the other in the afternoon. Legal Research and Writing will continue to meet at the same time as it did in the fall. The elective courses will be scheduled during the other class times.
Students in the part-time, evening program take the same first-year curriculum but in a different sequence and over three semesters. Fall semester consists of Contracts and Torts, each 4 credits. Classes meet Monday through Thursday evenings, 6:30–8:30 pm. Only one class is taught per night. For example, Contracts may meet Monday and Wednesdays; Torts on Tuesdays and Thursdays. One of these classes will be taught in a small section, as in the day program.
Civil Procedure (4 credits) and Criminal Law (3 credits) are in the spring semester along with Legal Research and Writing I (1 credit). The Monday through Thursday schedule continues but classes are from 6–8 pm. Legal Research and Writing I meets once a week after Criminal Law.
The first summer is the only required summer semester. Legal Research and Writing II must be completed during this summer. However, students have the option to take Professional Responsibility or Legal Profession as well.
The remaining two required courses are completed in the fall: Constitutional Law and Property (4 credits each). The class schedule is the same: Monday through Thursday, 6–8 pm. The first-year elective is taken in the spring along with upper-level courses.
After the required coursework is completed, part-time students can take up to 11 credits but no fewer than 8 each semester and the entire curriculum from 8:30 am to 10 pm is available to you. There are upper-level courses offered in the summer sessions.
For information about transferring between full-time and part-time after completion of the required first–year curriculum, click here.