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Academic Standards and Related Procedures - LLM

URL: https://libguides.law.ucla.edu/academicstandardsllm

A. Procedure for Adding a Course(s)

The deadline for adding a School of Law course to one’s study list is the end of the first week of the semester.  The Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs (hereinafter “Dean of Students”) may permit a student to add a course within three weeks after the deadline, provided that the student presents, in writing, a reasonable (in the sole discretion of the Dean of Students) explanation for not having met the deadline, and has instructor consent.  In the case of late-starting courses, the Dean of Students will have discretion to approve schedule changes through the end of the third week of the late-starting course.  Students who wish to add a course after the relevant deadline has elapsed shall be referred to the Standards Committee.  The Standards Committee will grant such petitions only upon a showing of unusual circumstances.  

B. Procedure for Dropping a Course(s)

Any LL.M. student, by written notice in the form of a drop petition submitted to the Records Office, may drop any of his/her non-clinical or non-experiential courses (subject to the restrictions enumerated herein), so long as dropping the course does not reduce his/her course load below 8 units, which is the minimum number of units all LL.M. students must undertake per semester.  Unless an earlier date is specified by the professor, a non-clinical or non-experiential course may be dropped through the last day of instruction, or before submission of any required interim course work that comprises a portion of the final term grade. A clinical or experiential course may not be dropped after the first class meeting unless the student obtains instructor consent.

C. First Year and Clinical & Experiential Courses

Courses in the first year curriculum (those in the “100” series) and clinical and experiential courses may only be taken with instructor consent, and subject to space availability. If a student has secured admission to a course in the first year curriculum, he or she may not switch to a different section of the same course taught by another professor after classes have begun. 

An “experiential course” is:  a clinic, simulation course or other course that may include a combination of live client and simulation instruction, or an externship or field placement.  A clinic is a course in which students work on actual client matters or serve as a third party neutral and are supervised by a faculty member. A simulation course uses simulated exercises that provide students with the experience of a lawyer advising or representing a client, or engaging in other lawyering tasks. An externship is an academic year field placement course in which you receive credit for serving as a law clerk under the direct and close supervision of a judge, licensed attorney, or other pre-approved supervisor in a government agency, public interest/non-profit organization or, in some cases, with in-house legal counsel of a corporation. For more information on specific qualifying courses, see the Clinical & Experiential Programs webpage.

D. Independent Research (Law 340/341) and Project (Law 345) Unit Rules

An LL.M. student may enroll in and receive credit for up to a combined total of four (4) Law 340/341 independent research units or Law 345 independent project units.  In Law 340 (for a semester) or Law 341 (for a full academic year), students undertake legal research under the supervision of a faculty member resulting in an original scholarly paper analyzing a particular area of law.  In Law 345, students undertake original research, usually involving empirical or field study, and produce a paper analyzing their findings.  Students seeking to enroll in a Law 340/341 or 345 course must submit a “Petition for Independent Research/Project” form to the Records Office for approval; this form requires the student to obtain prior written approval of the sponsoring faculty member, including approval of the proposed topic.  Consultation and supervision between the student and the sponsoring faculty member shall continue throughout the term(s) of enrollment.  Work may begin during the summer, if the professor agrees to this in advance, so long as a substantial portion of the work is undertaken during the term(s) in which credit is awarded.  All 340/341 units shall be graded for a letter grade, not on a P/U/NC basis.  The supervising faculty member shall determine whether Law 345 shall be graded for a letter grade or on a P/U/NC basis.

E. Courses with Time Conflicts

The American Bar Association requires the equivalent of 750 minutes of instruction for each unit of coursework.  As a result, students may not enroll in courses with overlapping class times if the 750 minutes per unit rule is not satisfied for each of the classes.   This rule applies to course overlaps with courses outside the law school as well, unless the student is not seeking credit for the outside course and attends the law course whenever there is a time conflict.  If a student can demonstrate compliance with the ABA requirement and the instructors both consent, the overlap may be permitted; however, as a practical matter, even very small overlaps usually end up being impermissible.  An overlapping course petition must be completed and submitted to the Records Office.

F. Credit for Courses Taken Outside the UCLA School of Law

  1. COURSES AT UCLA - Candidates for the LL.M. degree are permitted to take, during regular law session only, one course in a UCLA department other than the Law School for a maximum of three (3) semester units of Law School credit.  (A four unit quarter course converts to 3 semester units).  A course so taken must be supplementary to the student’s legal studies and the prior written approval of the Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies and International Student Programs must be obtained.  Additional outside courses may be taken, but will not be counted toward the LL.M. degree. 

Such outside courses must be graded on an "A, B, C, D," or "F" basis, and the grade of "B-" or better is required in order to receive units and credit toward the LL.M. degree. The outside course with the earned letter grade will appear on the transcript.  In addition, when the course is applied for law credit, the grade of "B-" or better is recorded on the academic record as a Pass and no grade points are calculated into the grade point average.

 If a student receives an outside course grade inferior to the grade of “B-”, and has petitioned for outside course credit, the following rules shall apply in determining the nature and amount, if any, of credit that will be awarded the outside course as well as the effect the grade will have for all purposes:

  1. In all outside courses, a grade of "D+" or below will be treated by the School of Law as the grade of "F" for all purposes.
  2.  In all outside courses, a grade of "C+", “C”, or “C-” will be treated by the School of Law as the grade of "D" for all purposes.

G. Courses Previously Taken at American Law Schools

An LL.M. student may not enroll for credit in a course previously taken for a prior J.D. or LL.M. degree earned at an American law school.  Exceptions to this rule require permission of the Graduate Studies Committee.

H. Credit Hours for Coursework

UCLA Law adheres to ABA Standards in determining the number of credit hours for coursework.  Each unit of credit reasonably approximates one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student preparation per week, for the length of the semester.  Students are therefore expected to prepare a minimum of two hours outside of class for each hour of class time.  Notwithstanding the above general standard, experiential field work units are calculated as follows:  1 unit of credit = a minimum of 52 hours per semester (4-5 hours per week of clinic work).