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Academic Standards and Related Procedures - J.D.


A. Individualized Plans to Concentrate Studies in a Special Area

Students who wish to concentrate studies in a special area entailing more than two courses (six semester units) of study outside of the School of Law must make written application for permission to a Vice Dean. The application shall state:

  1. The area of concentration, and the particular courses that the student will take outside of the School of Law in furtherance of the concentrated study; and
  2. The student's reasons for wanting to undertake such a plan of concentration.
    1. The application shall bear the written approval of a faculty member certifying the merit of the plan of study, and further certifying that the outside courses supplement each other and supplement other law study completed and contemplated by the student.
    2. The limit on credit for outside courses under this program is 12 semester units of law (equal to 18 quarter units). That limit includes, and is specifically not in addition to, the present general rule on outside course credit set forth in Section II.G herein.  The outside units must be taken during a regular session (No Summer School or Extension work) at UCLA.
    3. Unit credit: No law unit credit will be given for outside courses unless completed with a grade of “B-” or better.
    4. Students participating in this program cannot receive law unit credit for a full-time externship. The application will not be approved if a full-time externship has been taken previously for unit credit.
    5. Approval of the application shall rest in the discretion of the Vice Dean. The Vice Dean is authorized to amend the working details of the program to carry out its purposes.

B. Foreign Legal Study

  1. Students interested in foreign legal study must first apply to the Graduate Studies Coordinator. To be eligible to study law abroad, a student must normally be a J.D. student in good standing, with a minimum GPA of 3.0, who will be in his/her third, fourth, or fifth semester of study at UCLA at the time of the proposed foreign legal study. Exchange students will have obtained at least one full year of credit at UCLA School of Law. The application for foreign study must be submitted no later than March 15 for foreign study in the following Fall Semester or October 15 for study in the following Spring Semester. The application consists of a letter in which the applicant must:
    1. Specify an academically challenging and coherent course of study that focuses on a particular sub-field of law. Examples of such a sub-field include Japanese law, EU law, international business law, public international economic law, international environmental law, comparative feminist approaches to law, or international human rights law, among other possibilities.
    2. Demonstrate that the student has a bona fide interest in the sub-field of law to be studied. Such interest may be demonstrated by, inter alia, a record of prior work or study in the proposed field, a statement of interest and intent by the applicant in his/her application for admission to the UCLA School of Law, or successful completion of appropriate international or comparative law courses at the UCLA School of Law.
    3. Set forth the courses that the applicant proposes to take and show that satisfactory completion of the proposed courses should entitle the student to at least 13 units of course credit at UCLA School of Law.
    4. Specify the means by which the student’s performance in each course will be evaluated by the foreign university and the UCLA School of Law.
    5. Demonstrate that the applicant possesses the language skills necessary for successful completion of the proposed course of study.
  2. Applicants must also submit their official UCLA Law transcript and two letters of recommendation. Reference letters must include: (1) a strongly favorable letter of support from a UCLA School of Law ladder faculty member (Professor or Acting Professor), indicating that faculty member’s approval of the student embarking on the proposed course of study; and (2) a strongly favorable letter of reference from a second person (preferably a scholar) who knows the applicant’s intellectual capacity. Lecturers, Adjuncts and Directors (having no other Professor title) do not count as ladder faculty. Letters of recommendation should be addressed to the International Curriculum Committee.
  3. Foreign study will normally be for no more than one semester, but may be for as long as two semesters under exceptional circumstances. The applicant is solely and completely responsible for applying to the foreign program, complying with and fulfilling all of the foreign university’s requirements associated with the courses and program in which s/he is registered, and obtaining any appropriate visa and related documents.
  4. Except as provided in paragraph B(7), foreign study will be approved only at foreign law schools with which UCLA School of Law has an exchange agreement in effect during the period in which the foreign study is to take place. Under no condition may more than four UCLA law students study at any one foreign school in any one semester, nor may more than twelve UCLA law students study at any one foreign law school in any consecutive three year period.
  5. During the semester in which foreign study is to take place, the UCLA law student must register at the UCLA School of Law for Law 596 (International Exchange Program). Thirteen (13) units of course credit will be awarded on a pass/unsatisfactory/no credit basis for successful completion of a one semester program. Courses offered online or via distance learning or the foreign university are not eligible for credit. Upon completing the foreign course of study, the applicant is responsible for providing the Dean of Students and the Records Office with evidence of successful completion of the program and the means of evaluating the student’s performance that was specified in the application, typically in the form of an official transcript issued by the foreign university.
  6. Applications that do not meet the criteria set forth in these rules, or that are rejected by the designated FLSEP coordinator, may be submitted to the Standards Committee for its consideration.
  7. The following rules on tuition, fees, and expenses shall apply:
    1. Students who engage in foreign study are responsible for paying all UCLA School of Law tuition fees for the semester in which foreign study occurs. Students will not be required to pay tuition or fees at foreign law schools with which the UCLA School of Law will have an exchange agreement in effect for the period in which the student will engage in foreign study
    2. A UCLA law student who has qualified for financial aid for the period in which s/he will study abroad may contact the Law School Financial Aid Office to request an adjustment to his/her living expense budget
    3. All other costs associated with foreign study (including but not limited to travel, room, board, health insurance, and supplies) must be borne entirely by the applicant.
  8. If a student wishes to engage in foreign study at a law school with which the UCLA School of Law will not have an exchange agreement in effect for the period in which the student wishes to engage in foreign study, then the student must take a leave of absence from UCLA School of Law during that period. In such cases, the student will receive transfer course credit for the foreign study only in exceptional circumstances, to the extent approved by the Standards Committee, and provided that the foreign law school is of the highest repute in the sub-field of study, the student’s proposed subfield of study is unavailable at UCLA School of Law and all partner schools, and the student meets the terms and conditions set forth in Paragraphs (B)(1), (2) and (3) above. The Dean of Students will normally serve as the academic advisor for students pursuing study abroad at a non-partner institution.

C. Other International Studies

The Dean of Students shall grant up to 13 units of transfer credit to any student who meets all the following criteria

  1. While maintaining a GPA equivalent to, or better than, a 2.85 average, the student has completed all requirements for earning a master's or doctoral degree from any one of the following institutions:
    1. Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University;
    2. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University;
    3. School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University; or
    4. Woodrow Wilson School of International Studies, Princeton University.
  2. Prior to enrolling at one of the above schools in connection with the transfer credit, the student must have:
    1. Obtained, in writing and from a voting faculty member of the School of Law, approval of a plan to study at one of the above schools, which approval shall list the courses to be completed at the other school; and
    2. Provided a copy of that approval to the Dean of Students by the end of the Spring semester preceding the academic year in which the student first enrolls at the other school.
  3. After completing the course of study, the student must obtain, in writing and from a voting faculty member of the School of Law, approval of the course of study actually completed. Such approval shall be forthcoming so long as the student has in good faith attempted to complete the course of study initially approved
  4. For all semesters of legal study completed prior to enrolling at one of the above schools, the student must have been in good academic standing at the School of Law. The student must have completed two semesters at the School of Law before beginning the course of study for which such transfer credit is sought.

D. MLS Elective Courses

A JD student may enroll in a course designated as an MLS elective if it has been approved by the Curriculum Committee and the faculty for JD enrollment. No JD student can enroll in more than two such MLS electives, and a JD student may not use independent study credits to take an MLS elective. Units earned in an MLS elective shall not count toward the 64 semester units a JD student must earn in regularly scheduled law class sessions in order to graduate. A JD student may not enroll in an MLS elective if that JD student has already completed a law school course with substantially similar course content. Likewise, a JD student may not enroll in another law school course if that student has already completed an MLS elective with substantially similar course content.