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University of Pittsburgh    
2017-2018 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  Jul 18, 2024
2017-2018 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog [Archived Catalog]

School of Law

The essential mission of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law is to help lawyers and legal institutions to meet the demands of a rapidly changing legal and professional environment.  Pitt Law excels in teaching the next generation of diverse legal professionals; producing research of impact and contributing to society through public service.

In serving its students, the school is committed to an active and inclusive spirit of community and to the effective, efficient, and congenial provision of service. In teaching, research, and public service, the School of Law aspires to conduct all of its programs at a nationally prominent level of quality that adds luster to the legal and business communities of Pittsburgh; that makes the school relevant to the key needs of this region’s private, public, and nonprofit sectors; and that distinguishes it as one of the finest public urban law schools in the United States.

For more than 110 years, the School of Law has prepared students to become excellent attorneys and leaders in both the legal profession and in society. Today, Pitt Law builds on this proud history by training lawyers to take on the opportunities and challenges of 21st century legal practice in the United States and around the world.

At Pitt Law we turn out practice-ready lawyers by providing students with both traditional law school classroom experiences designed to develop and hone analytical and communication skills and with experiential learning opportunities in one of our six clinics, which range in subject area from Environmental Law to Family Law to Health Law. Students who wish to focus their studies can enjoy the numerous benefits of enrolling in one of our five certificate programs, with their opportunities for international externships, instruction in litigation skills by teams of top practicing litigators, or membership on an intellectual property moot court team. Seven joint degree programs, including two partnerships with Carnegie Mellon University, permit students to craft discipline-bridging courses of study in areas including public health, business administration, and international affairs. And Pitt Law students can serve as editors at the award-winning website JURIST, the world’s only Web-based, student-powered legal news source, which is viewed weekly by 100,000 viewers and is based right here at the School of Law.

Among its first-professional degrees, the School of Law offers the Juris Doctor (JD) degree; a number of joint degree programs with other schools of the University and Carnegie Mellon University, leading to both a JD and a master’s degree; and LLM degrees for foreign law graduates as well as several certificate programs. The School of Law also offers graduate programs leading to a Master of Studies in Law (MSL) and a Doctor of Jurisprudence (SJD) degree. For further information on the graduate programs, see the School of Law-Graduate Programs section of this bulletin.

Contact Information

Financial Aid and Admissions are located in the same office at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

Office of Admissions and Financial Aid
Barco Law Building
3900 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15260


General Information: (412) 648-1413
Admissions Information: (412) 648-1805
Financial Aid Information: (412) 648-1415
Fax: (412) 648-1318

Email Admissions:
Email Financial Aid:

Office Hours:  8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday

Walk in appointments are available during office hours; however, scheduling an appointment is encouraged. To schedule an appointment, please email or call our office.


Pitt Law is highly competitive, and we base admissions decisions on many factors. Our admissions committee will carefully evaluate your graduate work, professional experience, and undergraduate GPA and make a decision on a rolling basis, or you may request a priority decision within 14 business days.  Each program, degree and certificate has various requirements.  Please see each program’s requirements.

Qualifications for Admission to the Bar:  In addition to a bar examination, there are character, fitness, and other qualifications for admission to the bar in every U.S. jurisdiction. Applicants are encouraged to determine the requirements for any jurisdiction in which they intend to seek admission by contacting the jurisdiction. Addresses for all relevant agencies are available through the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

Transfer Students

The University of Pittsburgh School of Law will accept transfer students after those students have successfully completed the first year of academic study at another law school. Applicants must complete the law school application and submit the following:

  • Application fee
  • Official LSDAS report
  • Letter of good standing from the current law school dean
  • Certified law school transcript
  • Letter of recommendation from a current law school professor
  • Final official undergraduate transcript

The deadline for submitting an application is June 1st of every year. Decisions made on transfer students depends on the number of seats available at Pitt Law, the QPA from the current law school and the competitiveness of the current law school.

If admission is granted, the transfer student’s completed law school work will be evaluated for transfer credit in light of the curricular offerings at Pitt Law. Only up to 32 transfer credits will be accepted. However, only up to 29 credits will be accepted in the case of (1) a transfer student admitted from a U.S. law school that is not approved by the American Bar Association, (2) a transfer student who is a graduate of a foreign law school and who is admitted after completion of the Pitt Law LL.M. program, or (3) a transfer student who has not completed the Pitt Law LL.M. program and who is a graduate of a foreign law school for law school work done outside of the United States. All transferred credits must comply with the restrictions in ABA Standard 505.

In keeping with the requirements of The Order of the Coif, students are eligible for Coif membership only if they complete at least 75% of their law studies in graded courses. For transfer students, any credits transferred without grades will not count toward this requirement. 

Visiting Students

A student may apply to visit at Pitt Law if he/she has completed two years of law study at another law school and has the permission of the dean of their current school. Applicants must complete the law school application and submit the following:

  • Application fee
  • Copy of your LSDAS report
  • Letter from the dean stating the third year at Pitt Law will count toward a degree from the previous school
  • Certified law school transcript.  

The deadline for submitting an application is June 1st of every year. Decisions made on visiting students depends on the number of seats available at Pitt Law, the QPA from the current law school and the competitiveness of the current law school.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

All admitted students are reviewed for merit scholarship awards at time of admissions to Pitt Law.  The merit scholarships are renewable for the second and third years of law school provided the recipient maintains a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 in their legal studies.  Scholarship renewal review is conducted at the end of the academic year.  Students whose scholarship is not renewed may request to have their scholarship reinstated at any time based upon earning the cumulative 3.0 grade point average in their legal studies.

Approximately 70 percent of the student body receives scholarship funds from the School of Law in the form of merit or need-based scholarship awards.  The Law School offers various merit scholarships at the time of admissions.  Some scholarship require an additional application and others are based on the materials submitted in your admissions application.  If admitted, you will be emailed any scholarship application that requires additional materials.

Please visit the Pitt Law website for more details on available scholarships or contact the Financial Aid office.


For most students the major portion of law school costs are met through the Federal Stafford Loan, Federal Graduate PLUS Loan, and alternative educational loan programs.

Generally, to be considered for an educational loan as a law student, you must:

  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  • Be a U.S. Citizen, permanent resident, or other eligible non-citizen
  • Enrolled at least half-time in a degree program
  • Registered with the Selective Service, if required
  • Not owe a refund on a federal grant or be in default on a prior federal loan
  • Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress.

Loan Counseling

Before federal loan funds can be released, all incoming students must complete a Stafford Loan Entrance Counseling session, regardless of whether they have borrowed in the past. This counseling session is a federal requirement for all students to insure that they understand their rights and responsibilities as a borrower. Loan counseling can be completed online at  

All students who have borrowed through the Stafford Loan Program are required to attend a Stafford Loan Exit Counseling session before they graduate or drop below half time. The counseling sessions will be schedule in April for all third year students. All third year students will receive notification of the time of the counseling sessions. The counseling sessions informs students of their rights and responsibilities as a borrower as well as giving students information on their repayment options.

Flex-time Program

The flex-time program is offered to students whose outside obligations necessitate a more flexible program of study than is traditionally available.  All classes are still held during the daytime; however, hours may be planned according to personal needs and interests.   The pace is intended to be less strenuous than the regular program.   Course loads are optimally designed to result in graduation in four years rather than three with no fewer than 10 credits per semester.   The option to accelerate is also available to flex-time students after the first year of study.  Flex-time students are still required to pay full tuition.  Applicants to the flex-program must include a letter with their application explaining their individual circumstances.  The application process is otherwise the same.

Please note that flex-time is not a part-time program.

Academic Standards

The School of Law Policy on Written Work for Credit, its Standards of Academic Integrity, the Grading Guidelines, and other academic policies of the school are included in the Academic Rules section of the School of Law’s web site.

Professional and Career Development

The Office of Professional and Career Development is dedicated to providing students and graduates with the information and tools necessary for successful career development and advancement. Our office assists students and graduates in their pursuit of careers in a wide variety of settings, including private law firms, public interest organizations, government agencies, corporate and business environments, judicial clerkships, academia, and non-traditional careers. 

Through an extensive array of services including individual counseling, educational programming, interviewing opportunities, printed and online resources, job posting databases, and a substantial alumni network, the OPCD helps educate students and graduates for a lifetime of successful career management. 

The OPCD also serves as an intermediary between prospective employers and law students. By posting job vacancies, scheduling on-campus interviews, sponsoring programs, and participating in and promoting off-campus job fairs, we provide a range of employment prospects. Through ongoing outreach, the OPCD Staff endeavors to create ever-increasing employer interest in Pitt Law students and graduates.

Each student will meet with a Career Counselor during their first year and is encouraged to meet with the counselor as often as needed.  As a students begins to develop his or her legal career path they are able to work with an OPCD counselor whose background mirrors the student’s desired path.  Our office is open Monday- Friday 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Additionally, OPCD has daily walk-in hours and hosts “Facetime” in the student lounge.


Barco Law Building
Second Floor
3900 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
(412) 648-1411 / Phone
(412) 624-4843 / Fax

Programs and Course Offerings

For detailed term-specific course descriptions, please go to the Schedule of Classes Course Lists on the Law School web site.

Other Courses

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