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Charleston School of Law Academic Program

The Charleston School of Law offers a full-time and part-time course of study leading to a Juris Doctor  degree.  It is expected that students enrolling in the full-time division will graduate in three years and those in the part-time division in four years.

  • Full-time course load:  The standard course load for full-time students is 13-17 credit hours per semester.
  • Part-time course load: The standard course load for part-time students is 8-12 credit hours per semester.

Pursuant to Standard 311 of the American Bar Association's Standards of Approval for Law Schools, all graduation requirements must be completed no earlier than 24 months and, except in extraordinary circumstances, no later than 84 months after a student has commenced study at the Charleston School of Law or at a law school from which the School of Law has accepted transfer credit.

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Course Load

The standard course load for full-time students is 13-17 credit hours per fall or spring semester; for summer standard session, the standard course load is 12 credit hours.  Consistent with Standard 311(c) of the American Bar Association’s Standards of Approval for Law Schools, students may not take more than 17 credit hours in a semester. 

The standard course load for part-time students is 8-12 credit hours per fall or spring semester; for summer standard session, the standard course load is 9 credit hours. To enroll in fewer than eight credit hours in the part-time division, students must first apply for and receive written permission from the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.   Absent extraordinary circumstances, such approval will not be granted.

For reporting purposes, 13 credit hours is considered full-time, 10-12 credit hours is considered three-quarter time, and 7-9 credit hours is considered half-time during the fall and spring semesters.   

Change in Student Status

For tuition purposes, the permanent status of a student is ordinarily determined at the time of the student’s admission to the School of Law. Students seeking to change their tuition status from full-time to part-time or part-time to full-time, or to enroll in fewer than eight credit hours in the part-time division, must first apply for and receive permission from the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs may require the student to submit additional information and/or to receive financial aid counseling, academic counseling or other counseling. The approval or disapproval of an application for change of status is committed to the sound discretion of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs who may allow, deny, or defer a change of status application.

  • Full-time to Part-time. When a full-time student elects to take a reduced course load in a given semester, this does not alter the student’s tuition status and, therefore, does not obviate the student’s obligation to pay full-time tuition. To pay part-time tuition, students must apply for and receive permission from the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs to change to part-time program status.
  • Part-time to Full-time. Part-time students are enrolled in nine credit hours per semester for their first two semesters and in twelve (12) credit hours for subsequent semesters. After the end of two semesters of enrollment and at least eighteen (18) credit hours of first-year courses, part-time students with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher are eligible to apply to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for a change to full-time status.
    • Taking Fewer than Eight Credit Hours in a Fall, Spring or Summer Standard Semester. Any student in the part-time division who wishes to enroll in fewer than eight credit hours in a fall, spring or summer standard semester must obtain the written approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Absent extraordinary circumstances, such approval will not be granted.