Credit Hour Maximum per Semester & Course Enrollment Limitations
Credit Hour Maximum Per Semester
During Fall and Spring semesters: Full-time students at MSU Law are allowed to enroll in a maximum of sixteen (16) credit hours without approval. (The ABA will only allow full-time students to enroll in seventeen (17) credits maximum during the academic year.) Part-time students can only enroll in a maximum of twelve (12) credits. NOTE: To be eligible for financial aid, during the regular semester (fall or spring) students must be enrolled for five (5) credits minimum, and a minimum of three (3) credits for the summer session.
During Summer session: Full-time and part-time students are allowed to enroll in a maximum of seven (7) credit hours without approval. (The ABA will only allow full-time and part-time students to enroll in a maximum of eight (8) credit hours during the summer session.)
International Students: International students must register for a minimum of twelve (12) credits during the regular semester.
Any student with an irregular and/or overload schedule (example: over 16 credits in the Fall/Spring semester OR over 7 credits in the Summer session) must obtain the permission of the Associate Dean for Student Engagement prior to enrollment.
Limitation on Study Outside Classroom
ABA Standard 304(b) mandates that law students have at least 45,000 minutes of "regularly scheduled classes at the law school" in order to graduate. The application of this standard to MSU College of Law graduation requirements is as follows:
- one credit = 50 minutes/week x 14 weeks = 700 minutes
- 45,000 minutes divided by 700 minutes = 65 credits (rounding up)
Therefore, students must ensure sixty-five (65) credits of the eighty-eight (88) credits required for the J.D. degree must be "regularly scheduled classes at the law school." Transfer credits in "regularly scheduled courses" taken at another law school are counted.
Non-regularly Scheduled Classes
For purposes of this requirement, credit hours completed in the following and/or other similar courses and/or programs are NOT regularly scheduled classes:
- Moot Court;
- Law Review;
- Non-law school courses in a dual-degree programs;
- Externships programs.
Online Course Enrollment (Limitation on Distance Education)
Distance education is an educational process characterized by the separation, in time or place, between instructor and student. It includes courses offered principally by means of technological transmission; audio or computer conferencing; videocassettes or discs; or correspondence. Distance education presents special opportunities and unique challenges for the maintenance of educational quality. As a complement to regularly scheduled class sessions at the College that form the core of instruction in the J.D. program, distance education courses have the potential to support the College’s educational mission. The College is committed to developing and offering distance education opportunities for J.D. students that conform to the ABA Standards for Approval of Law Schools, or approved variances from the Standards, as set forth in the policies set forth below:
- Credit toward the J.D. degree for study offered through distance education is awarded only where the academic content, the method of course delivery, and the method of evaluating student performance are approved as part of the school’s regular curriculum approval process. Credit is awarded in a manner consistent with the ABA Standards.
- The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs works closely with instructors to ensure that distance education courses provide:
- ample interaction with the instructor and other students both inside and outside the formal structure of the course throughout its duration such that students in distance education courses have opportunities to interact with instructors that equal or exceed the opportunities for such interaction with instructors in a traditional classroom setting; and
- ample monitoring of student effort and accomplishment as courses progress.
- The Associate Dean for Library and Technical Services, together with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, ensures that the College has the training and technological capacity, staff, information resources, and facilities required to provide the support needed for instructors and students to participate effectively in the College’s distance education courses.
- In any term, the College will not grant a student more than the permitted number of distance education credit hours as set forth in the ABA Standards for Approval of Law Schools, or as set forth in approved variances from the Standards. Students may not enroll in more than four credit hours of distance education without approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. No more than a cumulative total of 12 credit hours will be granted toward the J.D. degree for distance education courses.
- No student may enroll in distance education courses qualifying for credit under this policy until that student has completed instruction equivalent to 28 credit hours toward the J.D. degree.
- The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and the Registrar are responsible for maintaining an effective process to verify the identity of students taking distance education courses and to protect student privacy.
- No credit may be given toward the J.D. degree for non-law distance education graduate level courses or for law courses that are developed only for non-J.D. programs and not approved for J.D. credit.
- In compliance with federal regulation, for F-1 students no more than the equivalent of one distance education class or three credits per term may be counted toward the full course of study requirement if the class does not require the student's physical attendance for classes, examination or other purposes integral to completion of the class.
Amended February 12, 2014