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Law Student FAQs


Link to the J.D. Course Selection FAQ

Please refer to this J.D. Course Selection FAQ for more detailed guidance on course selection and enrollment.

1. How does registration in upper division classes work?

With the exception of application and experiential courses, the enrollment process for advanced students is conducted in two phases: first pass and second pass.

The enrollment times have been divided into four groups, A through D, Group A being the earliest enrollment time period and Group D being the latest enrollment time period. Students are randomly assigned to each one of the four groups during the four semesters which comprise their second and third years of law school.

The number of units for which a student may enroll on each pass is limited. Students may enroll in a maximum of 8 units during the first pass and a total maximum of 16 units during the second pass (LLM students are capped at 14 units during the second pass). Joint degree students do not have a 16-unit limit so that they may enroll into courses offered by both departments.

 Access MyUCLA during your enrollment appointment times (available in your enrollment email or on MyUCLA). Note that you share your Appointment Beginning Time with about 200 other law students. You may access MyUCLA as often as you like starting at your appointment time all the way through to the end of the Pass. Students who wish to enroll in an application course or experiential course, should follow the links on the Course Enrollment page.

2. How do “waitlists” work?

If you are on a wait list, you will be moved automatically into the class if students ahead of you drop out of the course or if the enrollment capacity is increased by the school. MyUCLA will not let you know that you have moved off the wait list, so it is your responsibility to check your wait list status, which can be done via MyUCLA. You must drop yourself from any wait list if you no longer wish to be enrolled in the class. You will receive a grade of “F” for failure to drop yourself from courses you are not attending.  WAIT LISTS WILL BE ELIMINATED AUTOMATICALLY BY THE SYSTEM AT 5:00 P.M. ON THE DATE LISTED IN YOUR ENROLLMENT EMAIL.

3. What is J-term?

January Term, or “J-term” was created to offer a wide choice of short, specialized courses that offer the opportunity to delve deeply into skills training or explore doctrinal subject matter at a depth that one cannot do in the regular semester format.  Students register for J-Term and the Spring Semester at the same time, thus your “pass” for Spring Semester will also count as your “pass” for J-Term.   For all functional purposes, the J-Term is treated as part of the Spring Semester; it is a mini-term within the Spring Semester.

The courses you take in the January Term “count” against your registration minimum for the Spring Semester.  Thus, if you decided to register for a two-credit J-Term course, you could take 10 credits in the remainder of Spring Semester and meet the minimum full-time credit load of 12 units.  At the other end of the rules regarding permissible course loads, if you take a two-credit J-Term course, you can still take up to 16 credits in the rest of Spring Semester (17 credits if you obtain the permission of the Dean of Students).  The bottom line is that J-term always helps you:  it will count toward your minimum credit loads, and not count against the maximum.

The J-Term is optional; you do not have to take a course or a minimum number of credits during the J-Term.

4. What if I want to make late schedule changes?

ADD: Generally, students may not add a class after the fifth day of instruction. Under present practice, the Dean of Students may permit a student to add a course through the fourth week of classes, provided the student has instructor permission and presents a reasonable explanation for not having met the deadline. After the fourth week, students must petition the Standards Committee for a late schedule change; the petition will only be granted if the student can demonstrate “unusual circumstances.”

DROP: Unless an earlier date is specified by the professor, a non-clinical/experiential course may be dropped through the last day of instruction of that course, the day before a take-home final is distributed (if prior to the last day of instruction), or before submission of any required interim course work that comprises a portion of the final term grade. However, you may never drop below the 12 units required to obtain residency status. General University deadlines apply to dropping non-law courses.

All late schedule changes must be processed at the Records Office. You have to fill out this form to drop your class:

5. Can I take a class outside the law school? I’m a JD student.

Yes. After their first year, JD students are able to enroll in up to six semester units of courses in other UCLA departments during fall, winter or spring quarters (not summer).  During the summer, students may study abroad through another law school or, in rare circumstances, take summer classes (not abroad) at another law school.

In order to take a class in another UCLA department, JD students should do the following:

  1. Review the class schedules and options at  
  2. Reach out to the professor of the non-law course you are interested in and ask for a permission to enroll number (PTE).  It is not guaranteed you will get one based on how impacted the class is.
  3. Email the PTE number to the Records office,  They will enroll you into the course.
  4. Fill out and turn into Dean of Students office a petition for non-law credit form.  The form can be found HERE on our MyLaw students services page under “frequently used forms”
  5. Dean of Students will review your request and approve or deny it based on the information you provide (please read the directions on the form to know exactly what you need to provide).
  6. Once the credit has been approved, Records will convert the units to law units when all grades are posted.
  7. Your law school GPA is not impacted by your grade from this course, except as indicated below:

COURSES AT UCLA—Upon approval of the Dean of Students, candidates for the Juris Doctor degree are permitted to take, during regular law session only, two courses in UCLA departments other than the School of Law for a maximum of six semester units of Law School credit. (Conversion of quarter to semester units = total number of quarter units multiplied by 2, then divide by 3). This option is not available to joint degree students, or to students on probation or subject to special requirements (see Sections V.B and V.C).A course so taken must be supplementary to a student’s legal studies and the prior written approval of the Assistant Dean for Students must be obtained.Such outside courses must be graded on an “A, B, C, D” or “F” basis, and the grade of “B-” or better in the outside course and satisfactory completion of the law course are required in order to receive units and proportional residency credit toward the Juris Doctor 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 retention and other 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.
  3. Units earned outside the School of Law during the Fall quarter apply to the law course load requirement for the Fall semester in the same calendar year.  Units earned outside the School of Law for either the Winter or Spring quarter apply to the law course load requirement for the Spring semester of the same calendar year.

In order to study abroad during the summer through another law school, or to take a law class at a United States law school during the summer, please email

6. Can I take a class on a pass/fail basis?

At UCLA, officially, pass/fail classes are graded on a Pass/Unsatisfactory/No Credit (P/U/NC) basis rather than merely “pass or fail.”  A “Pass” has no effect on a student’s GPA but an Unsatisfactory grade is treated like a “D” for GPA purposes, while a No Credit grade is treated like an “F.” There are no limits on the number of classes a student may take on a P/U/NC basis.  However, students who are seeking to graduate Order of the Coif (top 10%) must have 75% of their units earned in letter-graded classes.  In addition, classes are already designated as letter-graded or P/U/NC prior to enrollment which means a student cannot make a class pass/fail if it is designated as letter-graded (classes are what they are! ). 

7. What is the “retroactive” pass/fail option?

Students may elect to turn no more than one course (up to 4 units) during their second and third years into a P/U/NC class, after seeing their letter-grade in the class.  That is, if a student received a grade of “C” in Admiralty Law, as long as they meet the P/U/NC deadline, they can change that grade from a “C” to a “Pass.”  This option may not be used for first year curriculum courses as listed in the Academic Standards, even if a student completes one of these courses in the second or third year. The above option applies to courses in which letter grades would otherwise be assigned. If the election is exercised:

  • PASS—Grades of “C-” or above will be recorded as “Pass (P)”. Unit credit is awarded.
  • UNSATISFACTORY—Grades of “D+” or “D” will be recorded as “Unsatisfactory (U)”. Unit credit is awarded. Grades of “U” shall be assigned a grade of “D” for the purpose of calculating GPA.
  • NO CREDIT—A grade of “F” will be recorded as “No Credit (NC)”. No unit or residency credit is awarded. No credit grades shall be assigned a grade of “F” for the purpose of calculating GPA.

The Pass/Unsatisfactory/No Credit (P/U/NC) option may be elected only within the short time frame announced by the Records Office after a student has had an opportunity to see the letter grades s/he earned for the semester.  Exercise of the option shall be accomplished by submitting the Retroactive P/U/NC Form to the Records Office by the stated deadline. A retroactive P/U/NC may never be exercised for Law 340 (Independent Research) units, but it may be exercised for Law 345 (Independent Project) units.

If a grade is not available as of the deadline for election of the option, the deadline will be extended two business days after the student's last grade posts.  

Students may not obtain a transcript for the semester until they have made a decision concerning their P/U/NC option. This option once elected is irrevocable, even if hindsight proves conclusively that a different choice would have been more beneficial. This option may only be used for a course in the term most recently completed.

8. May I earn units for being a research assistant?

For students who are not hired as a Research Assistant through the UCLA Law RA program and are therefore not being paid for their work as a research assistant, a student may receive academic credit in the following manner:  Students may only earn credit (via enrollment in Law 345 – Independent Project) for creating an in-depth student directed project in which the student frames the research question and research plan in conjunction with the professor.  Students are required to submit a comprehensive end-of-semester research memo which includes the research question, research plan and an analysis of the research results.  

Students can fill out this FORM and upload professor approval to add a Law 345 to their schedule by the add deadline. 

Minimally, the workload for the Law 345 units are:

1 unit = 42.5 hours of work for the semester (at least 3.5 hours per week for 13 weeks)

2 units = 85 hours of work for the semester (at least 7 hours per week for 13 weeks)

3 units = 127.5 hours of work for the semester (at least 10 hours per week for 13 weeks)

4 units = 170 hours of work for the semester (at least 13 hours per week for 13 weeks)