Colorado Law allows students to graduate a half-year early (in December rather than in May) so long as all graduation requirements have been met. Graduating in 2.5 years allows you to enter (or re-enter) the workforce more quickly and possibly save some tuition money. All it takes is some planning to make sure you are on track to meet all the credit (and degree) requirements. In a nutshell, graduation requires the completion of 89 credits consistent with any applicable caps, including all required first-year courses, evidence, legal ethics, and a seminar course numbered 8000 or higher.
After you read the information below, we encourage you to think carefully about whether graduating in 2.5 years is right for you. Keep in mind that you can still complete 89 credits in five semesters, but you do not have to graduate in December. For example, you could do an externship in the spring of your third year in order to gain more work experience prior to graduating.
How Graduating in 2.5 Years Works
Typically, students take 30 credits during their first year (16 in the fall and 14 in the spring) and about 15 credits per semester during their second and third years. To graduate in 2.5 years, students must earn these credits more quickly. Here are some options for earning credits at an accelerated rate:
Click on the tabs below to learn more about graduating in 2.5 years:
Below are a few examples of schedules that enable you to graduate in 2.5 years. Remember, these are samples only; they are intended to give you a better sense of what your law school schedule may look like. Other variations are also possible. The most important thing is that you complete the required 89 credit hours.
|Sample Schedule A: Without Summer Classes||Sample Schedule B: Without Summer Classes & With Intersession Classes All Three Years||Sample Schedule C: With Summer & Intersession Classes|
|1st Semester (1L Fall): 16 credits
2nd Semester (1L Spring): 15 credits (includes a 1-credit elective)
Externship during first summer: 2 credits
3rd Semester (2L Fall): 18* credits
Wintersession: 1 credit
4th Semester (2L Spring): 18 credits
Second summer off for work experience
Fallsession: 1 credit
5th Semester (3L Fall): 18 credits
By December graduation (2.5 years): 89 credits
1st Semester (1L Fall): 16 credits
1st Semester (1L Fall): 16 credits
*Please note that students may not take more than 18 credits per semester per ABA rules.
**Note that summer tuition tends to be higher per credit hour. Get more information about tuition and fees.
Intersession courses are courses offered in the week immediately prior to the start of the traditional fall (“fallsession”) and spring (“wintersession”) semesters. The number of courses during each intersession may vary, depending on the availability of professors. Each intersession lasts for a week, and the courses typically meet for approximately three hours a day during that week.
Both fallsession and wintersession courses and electives are included as part of your tuition. You will not be charged extra.
Taking Intersession Courses and Electives During 1L Year
First-year students can take up to one elective during wintersession and/or up to one elective during the spring semester. There are a number of wintersession courses that are pre-approved for 1Ls (see above), and there are a number of spring semester electives that are pre-approved and open to 1Ls only. (1Ls are permitted to enroll in upper level electives (any second or third-year course except for seminars) only upon approval by the instructor and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.)
If you have any questions about intersession courses or electives, email the registrar’s office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are interested in graduating in 2.5 years, it is best to start planning during registration for spring electives, which happens in November of each year. If you have not already done so, we ask that you email email@example.com to let the registrar’s office know that you are planning to graduate in 2.5 years. It is your responsibility to ensure that you meet all graduation requirements.
Questions? Read the frequently asked questions about the 2.5 year program.