Frequently Asked Questions
What is "experiential education"?
Georgetown Law's experiential education program provides four distinct types of experiential courses –clinics, practicum courses, externships, and simulations. In all of these courses, students gain exposure to legal doctrine, theory, skills, and ethics. They have repeated opportunities to perform in a legal setting (or, for a simulation course, in a simulated legal setting) and get feedback on their performances. And they have the opportunity to reflect on their work and to engage in self-evaluation. Simply put, experiential courses allow students to experience the law in three dimensions –to use knowledge gained in the classroom to engage in the world. For a side-by-side comparison of Georgetown Law's different experiential course types, click here.
Georgetown Law's location, just steps from the U.S. Capitol, Supreme Court, and numerous other governmental and non-governmental agencies, gives our students unparalleled access to those places where the law is made and enforced. Each semester, the experiential program supports more than 1,000 Georgetown Law students who learn from our expert faculty in the classroom, fan out across Washington D.C. to engage in cutting-edge legal work, and are given the opportunity to think about how these experiences fit in with their emerging professional identities. Through this process –of studying, acting, and reflecting –participants in our experiential program develop from law students into legal professionals.
How should I structure my experiential courses over my academic
Two important considerations as you craft your course schedule are the time commitment and opportunity for direct client experience. Also take some time to think about what type of legal experiences or settings you want exposure to, and competencies you want to develop while in law school as well as your ultimate career goals. This comparison chart helps explain our experiential courses (clinics, externships, practicum courses, and simulation courses) and how they match up with these considerations.
While there is no right way to structure your experiential education at the Law Center, we have found that students who wait until their third year of law school to engage in this exciting curriculum ultimately miss an important opportunity to learn about themselves and their career goals, develop key legal competencies and skills, and connect with the practice of law. We believe these types of experiences help enlighten and refine your future course selections and learning and career goals, so we urge you to engage in them sooner rather than later!
How do I find experiential education classes?
The easiest way to search for our experiential courses is on this website, as well as in the online Curriculum Guide, which has a search feature for all experiential course types.
Is there a limit to the number of credits I am allowed to take
in experiential courses? Can I take more than one experiential course in a
At Georgetown Law we can guarantee every student the opportunity to take an experiential course in every one of their upperclass semesters, and we urge you to do so! There is no limit on the number of credits you can take in experiential coursework. However, Georgetown does have rules about how many experiential courses you can take in the same semester (see p. 2 of this chart), which are based on the intensive nature of these experiential courses and the possible conflicts of interest that can arise when representing multiple clients or working at different organizations.
Note that ALL experiential offerings count toward the 54 credits that must be completed in Law Center courses, one of the JD graduation requirements.
Am I required to take experiential courses?
Students who matriculated before Fall 2016 are not required to take any experiential courses. However, for the entering class of 2016 and all later years, students must complete at least 6 credits of experiential coursework to earn their J.D. Students can earn these credits in any combination of experiential courses, including clinics, externships, simulations, or practicum courses. Courses that meet the experiential course requirement are designated in the Curriculum Guide. A course that meets the experiential course requirement may not also meet the student's upperclass legal writing requirement or professional responsibility requirement.
Students seeking to transfer credits taken in experiential coursework at other ABA-approved law schools should email firstname.lastname@example.org for approval from the Assistant Dean for Experiential Education.
How do I sign up for experiential courses?
While many experiential courses, including most simulation and practicum courses, require no special procedures to enroll, some have special processes and requirements as outlined in the Curriculum Guide. Students interested in clinics should pay particular attention to the deadlines and details in Clinic Registration Handbook. Students should also familiarize themselves with the information on the Registrar's course registration webpage.
The following is general information about how to enroll in our experiential courses.
Type of Experiential Course
How do students enroll?
Enroll on MyAccess, unless otherwise noted in the course description in the curriculum guide.First-year Week One course seats are awarded through a special lottery in the early Fall described on the first-year Week One website.
Apply through the online clinic registration process, which takes place in the spring before the applicable school year. Please note that several of our clinics require students to have completed specific prerequisites before enrolling.
What if I need to drop a course?
Many of our experiential courses are more restrictive when it comes to allowing students to drop (or withdraw) as compared to a traditional course or seminar. Experiential courses have low student-faculty ratios, are resource-heavy, and depend on steady attendance and active participation by students for a positive classroom experience. Moreover, in the case of clinics, externships and practicum courses, there are real clients depending on you, or a team that you are a member of, for their legal representation and/or counseling. Our faculty and our institution work hard to place our students in these challenging, unique, and enriching experiences and want to ensure quality, legal work for the clients we serve and a positive reputation for future Georgetown Law students placed in these opportunities. Our policies for dropping and withdrawing from a course reflect this desire.
Please read the course descriptions provided in the Curriculum Guide carefully for the rules for each course, including the deadlines and circumstances under which you can drop or withdraw from a course. For clinics, please consult the Clinic Registration Handbook for details. If there is no specific rule set forth, then the add/drop and withdrawal provided by the Registrar's Office apply.
Important Note for Clinics: Under no circumstance may a student drop a fall semester or year-long clinic after accepting their offer in April absent special hardship and special permissions.Please consult the Clinic Registration Handbook for the spring clinic drop date.
What are the attendance policies?
There is a school-wide policy requiring regular and punctual attendance, as outlined in the Student Handbook. In addition, many of our experiential courses have mandatory attendance policies as described in the Curriculum Guide.
Faculty often require attendance because enrolled students are being relied upon, by their clients, their placement/host organizations, and their team members in cases of group projects, and a failure to attend can detrimentally impact the outcomes for these important stakeholders. Depending on the course, a student who fails to attend one or more classes may receive a lower grade, a failing grade, or be withdrawn from the course entirely (with a "W" posted on their transcript).
Please keep in mind that almost all of our experiential course offerings do not permit their courses to be recorded. Students should review the course recording policy for more information and exceptions.