About the
News & EventsAlumni
& Giving
Make a Gift
Admissions & Financial Aid

First–Year Curriculum Overview

Rutgers–Newark’s curriculum ensures the development of professional skills and values within a theoretical framework that promotes intellectual growth and a commitment to social justice. The required first-year curriculum gives students a solid foundation in the essential conceptual and analytical methods needed to be effective lawyers in complex professional environments.

One of our hallmarks of our first-year curriculum is the small section program, which allows students to work closely with faculty members and to bond as a group. A small section consists of approximately 28-30 students.

Full-time Day Program

The first-year program consists of six doctrinal courses: Contracts, Torts, Property, Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, and Criminal Law (4 credits each) and two semesters of Legal Analysis, Writing, and Research Skills - LAWRS - (2.5 credits in the fall, 2.5 credits in the spring) for a total of 29 credits. Three doctrinal courses and LAWRSI will be taught in the fall for a total of 14.5 credit hours. Three doctrinal courses and LAWRS II will be taught in the spring for a total of 14.5 credit hours.

A typical day consists of two classes in the morning, a break in the mid-afternoon, and one or two classes in the afternoon. Classes are scheduled five days a week, but no classes are scheduled after 2:20 pm on Friday. Classes begin at 9:30am and generally conclude by 3:45pm, Monday through Thursday, and 9:30am to 2:20pm on Fridays.

Part-time Evening Program

Students in the part-time evening program will take the same first-year curriculum required in the day program but spread out over three semesters plus one required summer. In the fall, you will take two 4-credit courses, Contracts and Torts, each taught twice a week from 6 pm – 8 pm for a total of 8 credits. One course will meet Monday and Wednesday and the other on Tuesday and Thursday. Because we understand evening students must meet the demands of law school in addition to an already full professional and personal life, we limit the fall semester to two courses to ease the transition.

In the spring semester, two more 4-credit courses will be taught, Civil Procedure and Criminal Law, and Legal Analysis, Writing, and Research Skills - LAWRS I - (2.5 credits) is added for a total of 10.5 credits. The daily schedule will mirror the fall term, with the addition of LAWRS I two nights a week starting at 8:10 pm. The class will be sectioned into small groups for LAWRS. Depending on your group, LAWRS may meet Monday and Wednesday, or Tuesday and Thursday.

The first summer is the only required summer semester. You will complete the second semester of LAWRS (2.5 credits) and have the option to take an additional course, either Professional Responsibility or Legal Profession.

The remaining two 4-credit courses, Property and Constitutional Law, will be completed in the fall with the same schedule (Monday through Thursday, 6 pm – 8 pm). Part-time students complete 29 required credits, same as the full-time students.

After you complete the required coursework, as a part-time student you can take up to 11 credits but no fewer than 8 credits each semester. The entire upper-level curriculum is available to you, from 9:30 am to 9:40 pm. There are upper-level courses offered in the summer in the evening and you will find intensive courses during winter break, on Saturdays and during our spring break. Depending on your work schedule, you may be able to take advantage of these course offerings.

For information about transferring between full-time and part-time after the completing the required first–year curriculum, click here.