Programs of Study at Harvard Law School
Aligning Courses and Practice
Harvard Law School offers more courses and seminars than any other law school in the world. This is a tremendous resource, but the large numbers of courses, across a huge range of topics and approaches, also can be daunting. The faculty encourages J.D. students to build on the foundation of the first year with both sufficient focus to pursue deep knowledge and with sufficient curiosity to explore a broad array of ideas about and approaches to law. Pursue your own passions, and also think about how to take advantage of opportunities for advanced work, clinical work, fellowships, and courses elsewhere in the university.
To guide you in pursuing deepening knowledge and progression as you move through the three years of law school and to create a tool for better coordination and collaboration between faculty members, the faculty has developed “programs of study.” Students do not sign up for any program; nor should any student feel compelled to adhere to one. Instead, the programs of study reflect the best advice from faculty about how to approach particular subjects and potential careers.
Current Programs of Study
The programs of study listed here include suggestions about how you can navigate our extensive course offerings with a sense of their relationship to different avenues of study. The programs provide opportunities to move progressively through more advanced work before graduation. Faculty are encouraged to think through the best ways of offering and combining courses as they plan their own teaching programs. J.D. and L.L.M. students then get a picture of how different courses and seminars can relate to the work of practicing lawyers and academics, and how clinical work, summer opportunities, and fellowships also enhance your learning and development.
Beyond any specific program of study, the faculty advises all students to take courses offering exposure to a variety of topics and methodologies. The faculty has long recommended that students consider taking at least one course that offers a particular perspective on the legal system or a distinct way of thinking about law. We continue to recommend such courses, whether in legal history, comparative law, law and economics, and jurisprudence and legal theory.