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 gives our students the opportunity to enter (or re-enter) the workforce quicker and possibly save them some tuition money along the way. 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. In order to graduate within 2.5 years, a student must earn their credits at an accelerated rate. Here are some options for earning your degree faster:
- Take up to 18 credits per semester. Taking heavier loads during your second and third years leaves the summers free for work, externships, and other enriching activities.
- Take intersession courses. Intersession courses are a great way to earn additional credits without paying more tuition.
- Take summer courses here at Colorado Law or by studying abroad or in another law school’s summer courses. We encourage students to think carefully, however, before pursuing these options. Summer programs not only require additional tuition but some (especially those involving study abroad) involve additional expenses. Moreover, summer courses may require you to forego critical work experience, when the available evidence suggests that students with more work experience during law school secure post-graduate employment more quickly than those without such experience.
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