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Course Information

  • Where do I find information on newly added courses or class scheduling changes?

    The Course and Schedule Updates page is where you can find newly added courses and information on schedule changes.

  • Is there a place I can find course evaluations?

    Course evaluations can be found in the course catalog within Helios.

  • Where can I find the course descriptions?

    The public facing HLS course catalog or the course catalog link in Helios is your best resource for reviewing course descriptions.


  • In addition to the first-year required courses, are there specific courses I need to take as part of my JD requirements and can I take these courses as a 1L?

    In addition to the 1L required courses, all JD students must complete a course satisfying the negotiation/leadership requirement, a course satisfying the international/comparative requirement, and a legal profession course.

    The following January Experiential Term and Spring Term elective courses available to 1L students will satisfy the negotiation/leadership requirement:

    • January Experiential Term courses
      • Leadership Fundamentals
      • Negotiation Workshop
      • Pathways to Leadership Workshop for the Public Sector
    • Spring Term elective courses:
      • Mediation
      • Negotiation Workshop
      • Process of International Negotiations

    The following Spring Term elective courses available to 1L students will satisfy the International/Comparative course requirement:

    • Climate Change and the Politics of International Law
    • Comparative Law: Why Law? The Experience of China
    • Federal Indian Law
    • Gender and Political Economy
    • International Criminal Law
    • International Human Rights
    • International Law of the Sea
    • International Trade Law
    • Laws of War
    • Legal History: Continental Legal History
    • Public International Law
    • Regulation of International Finance

    The following Spring Term Legal Profession courses with open seats are available to 1L students:

    • Legal Profession (Prof. Jamie Wacks)
    • Legal Profession: Public Interest Lawyering (Prof. Jamie Wacks)

    Please make sure to review the section course list to confirm which of the above Spring Term elective courses are available to your section. You will not be able to take a course that conflicts with your required 1L courses.

  • Should I try to fulfill one of these course requirements in my 1L year?

    The January Experiential Term courses are structured to teach different skills sets, and we recommend selecting a course that aligns with the skills you’re interested in learning about and engaging in at the start of your time at HLS.  The same applies to your Spring Term elective. This course is an opportunity to explore a topic or area in a field that you are already interested in or that you would like to being to explore. Spring Term elective courses also provide opportunities to engage in different modes of learning and assessment. We recommend that in the registration process you select courses that teach skills and content you’re most interested in. During each of your upper-level years, there will be several opportunities to complete your professional responsibility, leadership/negotiation, and international/comparative course requirements.

  • What are my credit requirements? How do the credits from my first year apply toward my degree?

    All students have an individualized Degree Audit, available in HeliosThe first year of your program is prescribed with the required 1L curriculum plus one upper-level spring elective course. It is important to note that your 1L courses, including your 1L spring elective course, do not count toward your upper-level credit requirements. For more information about upper-level requirements, see the Handbook of Academic Polices.

  • What is the residency requirement?

    Attendance at Harvard Law School is full-time for a period of three academic years. Minimum enrollment in your first year is the required first year courses, including LRW, a JET course, and a spring elective of 2-4 credits. For more information about upper-level requirements, see the Handbook of Academic Polices. Your first year is prescribed for you. You are in control of your two upper-level years. For each fall and spring term of your upper-level years, you must be enrolled in a minimum of 10 credits (and a maximum of 16 credits) to meet residency. Of those 10 credits, 8 must be HLS credits and 4 must be HLS classroom or clinical credits. For your upper-level winter terms, you must be enrolled full-time in a minimum of 2 credits and a maximum of 3 credits. During the upper-level years, you must be enrolled in a minimum of 24 credits for the full academic year in order to meet residency.

  • Do I have to register for the 1L JET winter term?

    Yes. During your first year, you are required to be enrolled in a 1L January Experiential Term course.

1L January Experiential Term

  • Can I substitute a 1L January Experiential Term course for another similar course at the Law School or another Harvard School?

    No. Students must submit preferences for all 1L January Experiential Term courses during the 1L January Experiential Term course selection period. Only courses listed as a 1L January Experiential Term course during registration are considered a part of the First Year curriculum and cannot be substituted for another winter course regardless of similarities between it or another course.

  • Can I add myself to the waitlist of another 1L January Experiential Term course or spring upper-level elective?

    Yes, you can add yourself to the waitlist for another 1L January Experiential Term course or spring elective once registration results are released.

  • Can I drop my 1L January Experiential Term or spring elective course?

    You may drop your JET or spring elective course if you can add into another open class that satisfies the requirement.

Spring Upper-Level Elective

  • How many spring upper-level elective preferences can I submit?

    We require that you submit a minimum of 6 classes with a maximum of 12.

  • If I applied for a by-permission course and I have not yet heard anything about my acceptance into the course, what should I do?

    We recommend that you submit preferences for spring elective courses even if you are interested in applying for a by-permission course. If you later learn you are admitted to the by-permission course, you can drop the course you are enrolled in and we will register you for the newly admitted by-permission course. In this case, we also ask that you remove yourself from any additional waitlists. Note that if you do not participate in spring elective registration and do not receive a seat in a by-permission course, you will be able to enroll only in open spring elective courses or add yourself to the waitlist for a course available to your section.

  • If a by-permission class is listed on my Spring Elective Section List and I know it is scheduled at the same time as my 1L class, can I still apply for it?

    No.  If you know a course has a schedule conflict, do not attempt to register for it or apply for permission, since you cannot enroll in courses with conflicting schedules of any type.

  • I did not get into one of my higher choices during the 1L January Experiential Term round; will this mean I am also not going to do well in the spring elective round?

    At the start of each registration round the system randomly assigns registration IDs to all students.  The random IDs are what determine the sequencing of the lists which are processed by the algorithm.  Essentially, the number you were assigned for the 1L January Experiential round will not be the number you are assigned in the spring elective round.

Choosing and Submitting Preferences

  • Why do I see more classes in Helios then I do on my Section list for my spring upper-level elective?

    Helios will display every spring elective course which is available for a 1L student to preference.  HOWEVER, you must only preference the courses listed on your Spring Upper-level Elective Section list.

  • I am in Helios and I cannot see where I submit my preferences?

    Under Courses, you will see REGISTRATION.  It is within this area you will have the ability to submit preferences.

  • Is there any advantage to submitting my bids early?

    No, there is no advantage to submitting your bids early.  The key thing to remember is not to miss the deadline.

  • Can I rearrange my preferences once I submit them?

    Yes.  As long as you are within the registration window, you can rearrange your bids and resubmit multiple times.  It will be the last set of bids submitted which will be processed.

  • What happens if I incorrectly enter a course not on my Section List into my preferences?

    The system will not prevent you from entering a course during preferencing. There is no schedule check at the time of submitting preferences. If you submit a class that conflicts your required courses, you will not receive a seat in the class. Please review your Section List to ensure you do not enter bids for courses you could not take due to scheduling conflicts.

  • How can I ensure I am preferencing the correct courses?

    Using the Spring Upper-Level Elective Section List as a reference guide will ensure you are submitting bids for the correct courses.

Post Submission of Preferences

  • How do I know my bids are submitted?

    When you click the submit button, you will see a green message box appear in the top right corner displaying “Course Preferences Successfully Submitted.”

  • Will I see an email confirmation after I submit my bids during the registration window?

    No. The only confirmation you receive is the Confirmation of Bids email which is sent after the registration window is closed.

  • What is the Confirmation of Bids email?

    The Confirmation of Bids is an email which is sent by a member of the Registrar’s Office approximately one hour after the deadline to submit preferences for a particular round.  This email provides you a list of the final set of preferences you submitted for that round.

  • When will I hear more about the waitlist process?

    We will send more detailed information about the waitlist process after the registration window has closed.  For now, we want you to focus on registering for your JET and spring electives.

  • There are courses for which I was waitlisted and I no longer have an interest in taking. What can I do?

    We strongly encourage students to remove themselves from any waitlist they are no longer interested in taking.  By doing so, you are helping your classmates who may be waiting for a seat in a course.