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Course Information

  • Where do I find information on newly added courses or class scheduling changes?

    The Course and Schedule Updates page is where you can find newly added courses and information on schedule changes.

  • Is there a place I can find course evaluations?

    Course evaluations can be found in the course catalog within Helios.

  • Where can I find the course descriptions?

    The public facing HLS course catalog or the course catalog link in Helios is your best resource for reviewing course descriptions.


  • What are my credit requirements? How do the credits from my first year apply toward my degree?

    The first year of your program is prescribed with the required 1L curriculum plus one upper-level spring elective course. It is important to note that your 1L courses, including your 1L spring elective course, do not count toward your upper-level credit requirements. In the remaining two upper-level years, students are required to complete a minimum of 52 credits. Of these required credits, no fewer than 36 must be Law School classroom credits (a category that includes courses, seminars and reading groups, but not writing, clinical, or cross-registration credits). Students may earn the remaining required 16 credits by completing written, clinical or additional classroom work and by completing courses taken through cross-registration. Keep in mind written work, clinical and cross-registration credits do not count toward the law school classroom credit minimum.

  • What is the residency requirement?

    Attendance at Harvard Law School is full-time for a period of three academic years which consists of the fall, winter and spring terms. In order to maintain full-time residency during each of these terms, you must meet the credit load minimum requirement. Your first year is prescribed for you. You are in control of your two upper-level years. For each fall and spring term of your upper-level years, you must be enrolled in a minimum of 10 credits (and a maximum of 16 credits) to meet residency. Of those 10 credits, 8 must be HLS credits and 4 must be HLS classroom or clinical credits. For your upper-level winter terms, you must be enrolled full-time in a minimum of 2 credits and a maximum of 3 credits. During the upper-level years, you must be enrolled in a minimum of 24 credits for the full academic year in order to meet residency.

  • Do I have to register for all three winter terms?

    YES. During your 1L winter you are enrolled in a required 1L January Experiential Term course. In the upper-level winter terms, you will register for classes and must be enrolled in a minimum of 2 credits. Upper-level winter term can also be satisfied through a winter clinic or winter writing.

1L January Experiential Term

  • Can I substitute a 1L January Experiential Term course for another similar course at the Law School or another Harvard School?

    No. Students must preference for all 1L January Experiential Term courses during the 1L January Experiential Term preference registration. Only courses listed as a 1L January Experiential Term course during registration are considered a part of the First Year curriculum and cannot be substituted for another winter course regardless of similarities between it or another course.

  • Can I add myself to the waitlist of another 1L January Experiential Term course or spring upper-level elective?

    Yes, you can add yourself to the waitlist for another 1L January Experiential Term course or spring elective once registration results are released.

  • Why do I need to take a 1L January Experiential Term course?

    You are required to have successfully completed a 1L January Experiential Term course as part of your JD degree requirements.

  • Can I drop my 1L January Experiential Term or spring elective course?

    You may only drop in your JET or elective course if you are certain you can add into another open class that satisfies the requirement.

Spring Upper-Level Elective

  • How many spring upper-level elective preferences can I submit?

    We require that you submit a minimum of 6 classes with a maximum of 12.

  • Is there a different between the 1L January Experiential Term Negotiation Workshop and the Negotiation Workshop that is available for preferencing in the Spring Elective round?

    There is no difference in the course content and expected workload between the two Negotiation Workshops.

  • If I applied for a by-permission course and I have not yet heard anything about my acceptance into the course, what should I do?

    We recommend that you submit preferences for additional spring elective courses.  There is no guarantee that you will be admitted into a by-permission course so you will need a plan B.  If you later learn you are admitted, you can drop the course you are enrolled and we will register you for the newly admitted by-permission course.  We also ask that you remove yourself from any additional waitlists.

  • If a by-permission class is listed on my Spring Elective Section List and I know it is scheduled at the same time as my 1L class, can I still apply for it?

    No.  If you know a course has a schedule conflict, do not attempt to register for it or apply for permission, since you cannot enroll in courses with conflicting schedules of any type.

  • If I was admitted into a by-permission course do I need to submit spring elective preferences?

    No.  If you are admitted into a spring by-permission course and you have committed to taking that course, you do not need to participate in the spring elective round of registration.  The Registrar’s Office will receive a list of names from each faculty member of their approved list and we will register you into that course.

  • I did not get into one of my higher choices during the 1L January Experiential Term round; will this mean I am also not going to do well in the spring elective round?

    Not necessarily.  At the start of each registration round the system randomly assigns registration IDs to all students.  The random IDs are what determine the sequencing of the lists which are processed by the algorithm.  Essentially, the number you were assigned for the 1L January Experiential round will not be the number you are assigned in the spring elective round.

Choosing and Submitting PreferencesPREFERENCES

  • Why do I see more classes in Helios then I do on my Section list for my spring upper-level elective?

    Helios will display every spring elective course which is available for a 1L student to preference.  HOWEVER, you must only preference the courses listed on your Spring Upper-level Elective Section list.

  • I am in Helios and I cannot see where I submit my preferences?

    Under Courses, you should see REGISTRATION.  It is within this area you should have the ability to submit preferences.

  • Is there any advantage to submitting my bids early?

    No, there is no advantage to submitting your bids early.  The key thing to remember is not to miss the deadline.

  • Can I rearrange my preferences once I submit them?

    Yes.  As long as you are within the registration window, you can rearrange your bids and resubmit multiple times.  It will be the last set of bids submitted which will be processed.

  • What happens if I incorrectly enter a course not on my Section List into my preferences?

    The system will not prevent you from entering a course during preferencing.  There is no schedule check at the time of submitting preferences.  There is only schedule conflict checking during the registration algorithm and during live add/drop.  We provide you with a Section List to ensure you do not enter bids for courses you could not take due to scheduling conflicts.  If you purposely enter a course not on your list or incorrectly include a course, you will essentially be wasting a bid.

  • How can I ensure I am preferencing the correct courses?

    Using the Spring Upper-Level Elective Section List as a reference guide will ensure you are submitting bids for the correct courses.

Post Submission of Preferences

  • How do I know my bids are submitted?

    When you click the submit button, you will see a green message box appear in the top right corner displaying “Course Preferences Successfully Submitted.”

  • Will I see an email confirmation after I submit my bids during the registration window?

    No. The only confirmation you receive is the Confirmation of Bids email which is sent after the registration window is closed.

  • What is the Confirmation of Bids email?

    The Confirmation of Bids is an email which is sent by a member of the Registrar’s Office approximately one hour after the deadline to submit preferences for a particular round.  This email provides you a list of the final set of preferences you submitted for that round.

  • When will I hear more about the waitlist process?

    We will send more detailed information about the waitlist process after the registration window has closed.  For now, we want you to focus on spring electives.

  • There are courses for which I was waitlisted and I no longer have an interest in taking. What can I do?

    We strongly encourage students to be good citizens by removing themselves from any waitlist they are no longer interested in taking.  By doing so, you are helping your classmates who may be waiting for a seat in a course.