J.D. Academic Guidance

In addition to the required first year curriculum, you are required:

    • in your second or third year, to successfully complete a course that fulfills the Professional Responsibility requirement — see the schedule of classes for potential classes
    • before you graduate (though it is strongly recommended as a 1L-year Spring elective), to successfully complete Constitutional Law 220.6
    • by the first semester of your 3L year, to successfully complete the Writing Requirement
    • completion of one or more experiential course(s) totaling at least six units (class of 2019 and beyond) – see the schedule of classes for potential classes

(Please be sure to refer to the Academic Rules for all graduation requirements. At the beginning of your third year, use the 3L Degree Worksheet to track your progress. Answers to 3L requirements can be found on our 3L Requirements FAQ.)

How you choose to organize your classes beyond those requirements is largely up to you.  Given the number of choices we have at Berkeley Law, deciding how to structure your 2L and 3L years can be daunting. However, there are a number of resources available to help you when making decisions about your course selection. Please keep these in mind:

  • Review the Schedule of Classes and the Two Year Curriculum Plan (Cal Net ID required), so that you can see when classes are offered and how you might organize your schedule to take all the classes that interest you.
  • You may set up an individual appointment with Dean Hirshen to discuss your schedule. To schedule an appointment, contact the Student Services Administrator, Levi Cohen.  You may also set up an individual appointment with the Senior Director of Student Services, Kyle Valenti, or the Director of Accessible Education, Student Services, Chelsea Yuan, to discuss your schedule.
  • Seek out your professors–they are a good source of advice for making decisions about what courses to take and when. 
  • Speak to practitioners about what courses they felt were valuable during law school.
  • Speak to second and third-year students who can share with you their experiences here at Berkeley Law.
  • While not required, you should keep in mind the second and third year courses that cover subjects tested on the California Bar Examination. (Bar courses are listed below)
  • You should review the J.D. Requirements.
  • You should review the Academic Rules and the Honor Code which govern your academic life here at Berkeley Law.
  • Click through the Schedule of Classes to the webpage for a particular class to read the course description for any prerequisite information.
  • Talk to Sue Schechter, Field Placement Program Director, about field placement and externship opportunities.
  • Talk to the Clinic Directors about the work done in their Clinics.
  • If you are planning to do an independent study, you must sign up for theses units by completing the Add/Drop Petition through the Registrar’s Office.  These units require a faculty supervisor’s signature.  Students wanting to add 297-299 must use a separate add form.  The Registrar’s Office will assign you a course control number based on the information you provide. 


Non-1L Courses Tested on the California State Bar Exam:

  • Constitutional Law
  • Business Associations
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Evidence
  • Community Property
  • Remedies
  • Estates and Trusts
  • Professional Responsibility*

* Professional Responsibility is tested both on the California Bar examination and through the Multi State Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE) which can be taken during your second or third year. Professional Responsibility is a required course.


Certificate Programs

  • Certificate in Clean Technology Law
  • Certificate in Environmental Law
  • Certificate in Law and Technology
  • Business Law Certificate
  • International Law Certificate
  • Public Interest and Social Justice Certificate


Class Attendance
The instructor has the authority to refuse permission for you to take the final examination if you fail to attend class regularly.


Final Examination Schedule
Each semester, students are reminded of the limitations on examination rescheduling. Exams are not rescheduled to accommodate travel plans, employment, or other personal obligations.  An in-class final exam will be rescheduled only if a student has: 1) two in-class final exams scheduled for the same exam period; 2) two in-class final exams scheduled for two consecutive exam periods (e.g., two exams on the same day, or one exam in the afternoon and another the following morning); or 3) three in-class final exams scheduled on three consecutive days. Although students may indicate a preference as to which exam is rescheduled, rescheduling decisions will be made at the discretion of the Dean of Students and the Director of Student Services. Rescheduled exams will not be given earlier than the original exam date. 


Please note that, under Academic Policy 3.05, students who receive an Incomplete in a first-year course required for graduation must make it up before they can enter the second year.  Students who receive an Incomplete in a second- or third-year course may make it up as follows: for courses requiring an exam, students must meet an approved timeline as determined by the Dean of Students. For courses requiring a paper, students must meet the timeline determined by the instructor.


Order of the Coif
To qualify for the Order of the Coif, (1) your GPA must place you in the top 10% of your class, and (2) 75% of your units must be taken in letter-graded courses.  More information can be found on the Order of the Coif webpage.