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Beginning in fall 2018, students can attend the College of Law without having to commit to full-time study.

The Board of Trustees in March approved the college’s request to offer a flexible schedule Juris Doctor degree.

First-year law students have traditionally been expected to complete their degree in six semesters over three years and earn between 14 and 16 hours of class credit per semester.

The new flexible schedule option allows students to take a reduced load of 10 credit hours in their first semester and 11 hours their second. Students admitted to the flexible schedule JD will take no more than 11 credit hours per semester and may take up to five years to finish their JD studies.

Dean Melanie Wilson said the option enables the College of Law to provide greater flexibility for students who have significant commitments outside of school obligations.

“We are very excited to be able to offer this opportunity to those who find themselves in a number of circumstances that make full-time study difficult—whether they are raising children, working part time, financially challenged, or otherwise unable to commit to full-time study,” Wilson said. “Being able to meet the needs of those potential students adds more diversity to our college, and we all benefit from that.”

Flexible schedule JD students can also enroll in the college’s dual degree programs, including the JD-MBA in business, the JD-MA in philosophy, the JD-MPH in public health, or the JD-MPPA in public policy and administration.

“Each emphasis is designed to accommodate students’ interests and provide them with highly marketable skills and experience while saving them time and money,” Wilson said.

UT’s College of Law, located in Knoxville, was founded in 1890. It prepares lawyers through clinical and skills training, innovative classroom teaching, legal writing, and development of professional values. The college, which boasts the longest-running legal clinical program in the country, is accredited by the American Bar Associationand is a charter member of the Association of American Law Schools.


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