Course Descriptions

Syracuse University College of Law prides itself on its dedication to teaching, and the personal attention our faculty gives to every student.

Our faculty has broad and deep expertise in the law. This is reflected in our rich curricular offerings that allow students not only to build foundational skills but also to take an array of elective courses in areas of interest. 

With a low student-to-faculty ratio, Syracuse Law offers small classes that enable every student to get personal attention and build relationships with faculty. 

During the first year of study, students learn the basics of public and private law. The following courses are required for all first-year students to provide them with the necessary grounding in fundamental legal concepts: Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Legal Communication and Research I and II, Property, Torts, and Professional Responsibility.

All courses taken in the first year are one-semester.


After the first year, students have only four prescribed course requirements to fulfill: Constitutional Law II, Professional Responsibility, a Professional Writing Requirement, and a course in Administrative Law or legislation and statutory interpretation.

The remaining coursework toward the degree is completed through elective upper level courses, clinical and externship experiences for credit, co-curricular activities for credit, and/or graduate-level coursework approved for credit toward the Juris Doctor degree.

In addition, law students may take as many as six credits in graduate coursework to apply toward the Juris Doctor degree from other Syracuse University colleges with prior approval.


LL.M. students must complete 24-credits (minimum 12 credits per semester) in the academic year to qualify for graduation, but may enroll for up to an additional four credits a semester. Each student must earn a cumulative grade point average of 2.2 on a 4.0 scale. Learn more about our LL.M program.

The College of Law’s course offerings are divided primarily on a semester basis (fall and spring) constituting one full academic year.

In the first semester, LL.M. students are required to enroll in three courses designed for the LL.M. program; Introduction to American Legal Studies, U.S. Legal Writing for LL.M. Students, and the International LL.M. Skills Course. Students must also enroll in Professional Responsibility in either the fall or spring semester. In addition, each student must fulfill a writing requirement in either semester.

This requirement allows the LL.M. student to engage deeply with a faculty member to produce a significant research paper and can be accomplished through one of our many seminar classes or by an independent study.Candidates to the LL.M. in American Law program may choose among four program options to pursue their studies. Our LL.M. students are encouraged to enroll in the core, common law first-year classes such as American Constitutional Law and Contracts as well as to use their electives to explore an array of course offerings and specializations.


The College of Law understands the significance of hands-on experience for lawyers in training. Residencies—offered multiple times per year—give students valuable skill-building experience, the opportunity to work alongside peers, and a chance to visit Dineen Hall to interact with faculty, students, and alumni.