While many students elect to pursue their degree in three years, Albany Law School is happy to offer a more flexible four-year option for students that need the extra time to complete the requirements. A student should follow all of the application requirements for the three-year program and then follow the following steps.
Election of a Program
Applicants accepted into the first-year class will be given the option of selecting either a three- or four-year program of study.
Applicants interested in the four-year program must submit the required request form to the assistant dean of admissions and financial aid prior to the first day of the academic year to be enrolled in that program.
Applicants who do not submit a written request for the four-year program will be assigned to the three-year program.
Four-Year Program Enrollment Request Form
Students may switch between the three- and four-year programs. Such a change must occur prior to the beginning of an academic year. The Program Change Request form is available in the Registrar's Office.
Students who enroll in the four-year program for their first year but want to graduate in three years must switch to the three-year program prior to the beginning of their third semester or their first summer session, whichever comes first. A student who switches in this manner must enroll as a three-year student in at least one summer session and must successfully complete at least five credits in that summer session and must also successfully complete four semesters as a three-year student.
To graduate from Albany Law School, a student must complete a total of 87 credits. Thus, students in the three-year program must complete an average of 29 credits per year, and students in the four-year program must complete an average of 22 credits per year.
Students in the four-year program normally take eight to 12 credits each semester. Students in the three-year program normally take 30 credits their first year, from 14 to 17 credits each semester of their second year and from 12 to 17 credits each semester of their third year. Administrative approval must be obtained to take either an underload or an overload. Contact the Registrar's office for the proper form.
Students in the three-year program pay 100 percent of tuition costs for six semesters while students in the four-year program pay 75 percent of tuition costs for eight semesters. These amounts are not affected by the number of credits in which a student may be enrolled in a given semester. All students attending summer session pay tuition costs according to the published rate for that summer.
In order to meet the residency requirements of the ABA and the New York Court of Appeals, students in the three-year program must register for a minimum of 10 credits and pass at least nine credits in each of their six semesters. Students in the four-year program must register for a minimum of eight credits and pass at least eight credits in each of their eight semesters.
In the fall semester of 1995, Albany Law School published a new method of determining residency. Basically, students enrolled in the three-year program earn 1.00 residency credit per semester and .50 residency credit per summer session. Students enrolled in the four-year program earn .75 residency credit per semester and .375 residency credit per summer session. Students who accelerate or switch programs must make sure that they earn 6.00 residency credits (5.99 residency credits are not sufficient to graduate).
Students enrolled in the four-year program may not earn more than .75 residency credits for any semester in which they continue to be enrolled in the four-year program regardless of the number of credits enrolled in or passed in that semester.
Prior to their first summer session, a student may select in writing to substitute two summer sessions at Albany Law School for the final semester of law study. This acceleration option requires students in the three-year program to earn 12 credits over two summer sessions, with no less than five credits in each summer session. Students in the four-year program must earn at least nine credits over two summer sessions, with no less than four credits in each summer session.
American Bar Association residency requirements prohibit quicker acceleration. Summer school students should be aware that while this program is designed to meet the requirements of the New York State Court of Appeals, other states may impose different requirements for admission to the Bar.
Students in both the three- and four-year programs receive a grade-point average each semester. Students are ranked at the end of each semester, provided they are enrolled in a minimum of 10 credits in the three-year program and eight credits in the four-year program. Students expecting to earn their J.D. from Albany Law School will receive a cumulative rank at the end of each semester.
ABA standards do not restrict the number of hours that students in the four-year program may be employed. However, the ABA requires that full-time students in the three-year program work no more than 20 hours per week in their part-time jobs.
Albany Law School strongly discourages first-semester, full-time students from engaging in any employment and accordingly such students are not eligible for on-campus employment. Full-time, first-year students in the three-year program who earn a GPA of 2.50 or more in the first semester may be employed on campus a maximum of 10 hours per week during their second semester.
Albany Law School recognizes that a student may have exceptional circumstances that may require deviation from the standard policies. Requests for such deviation from policy must be in writing and approved by the Associate Dean of Student Affairs.
Students in the four-year program who have been awarded a scholarship by the Admissions Committee will receive 75 percent of their award each year as long as the student continues to maintain the necessary academic qualifications.
A change in programs results in a change in tuition charges. Financial aid, including Albany Law School grant funds and Federal Perkins Loan funds, is adjusted accordingly. Students must carry a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester to be eligible for funds through the New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP). A minimum of six credit hours is required for Summer School TAP.