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Public Interest Law Course Requirements
Fall 2013 and Later

Course Requirements

To earn a Public Interest Law Certificate, a student must (1) complete at least 9 units of course work selected from the list of approved Public Interest Law Certificate elective courses; (2) complete a practicum requirement and community service related to public interest law; and (3) complete an Upper Level Research and Writing Requirement analyzing an issue related to public interest law.

Note: the curriculum below is subject to change and not all courses are offered every year.

Courses Units
Administrative Law 3
Advanced Constitutional Law 3
Advanced Criminal Law / Litigation     3
Contemporary Issues of Race and Law course title may vary slightly each semester 3
Class Action Law      3
Cyber Law 3
Death Penalty Law 3
Deportation Defense & Rebellious Lawyering Skills  3
Domestic Violence Litigation & Ethics      3
Elder (Exploitation, Abuse & Related Issues) Law 2
Employee Benefits (ERISA) 3
Employment Discrimination 3
Employment Law 3
Employment Law Seminar 3
Energy Law 3
Environmental Law 3
Eviction Defense,  Ethics, & Litigation Skills     3
Family Law 3
First Amendment & Free Speech 3
Health Law 3
Immigration Law 3
Information Privacy Law 3
International Human Rights                3
Introduction to Race Law 3
Juvenile Law 3
Labor Law 3
Land Use Law 3
Legal Issues and Terrorism 3
Local & State Government Law      3
Non Profit Organizations 3
Poverty Law 2
Predatory Lending Law & Practice 2
Sexuality Law 3
Water (& Natural Resources) Law 3
Work, Gender & the Law 3


Students in the Public Interest Law Certificate Program must complete a minimum of 150 hours of supervised legal work in a public interest or qualifying government organization. This requirement may be satisfied through participation in one of the following clinical programs:

 The following clinics do not count towards the Public Interest Law Certificate Elective Units
Portion of Practicum It Satisfies
Criminal & Juvenile Justice Clinic
Employment Law Clinic
International Human Rights Clinic
entire practicum requirement
Internet & IP Justice Clinic
Investor Justice Clinic
Mediation Clinic     
partial practicum requirement

Community Service

Students must complete a minimum of 50 volunteer hours with organizations on projects that benefit the public. Community service hours may be completed with legal or non-legal organizations. Projects may include work you perform through the Law In Motion Service Program, the Law Student Pro Bono Project or work that you individually, or as part of your student group, have performed with an organization in the community.

Writing Requirement

To earn the certificate, a student must complete a substantial research paper analyzing an issue relevant to public interest law. The paper must demonstrate the ability to identify, describe, and analyze the subject matter, and, if possible, propose a resolution. The paper must meet the standards for an Upper Level Research and Writing Requirement project and may be used to satisfy that requirement and/or the requirements of a course taken for credit.

Scholastic Requirements

Public Interest Law recipients must achieve a grade of C+ or higher in each course applied to meet the requirements for the certificate and achieve a cumulative grade point average of 2.700 or higher for all courses applied to the certificate.

A student achieving a cumulative grade point average of 3.500 or higher for all courses applied to meet certificate requirements is awarded the certificate with honors. All course work for the certificate must be taken for a letter grade except for any approved elective course in which credit/no credit grading is mandatory. For any course in which a letter grade is not provided, a "credit" must be achieved in order for the course to be applied to meet the certificate requirements

Transfer Units

All course work must be taken at USF with the exception of one elective course (for a maximum of three units of credit). If a student wishes to apply a course taken at another law school to meet the requirements of the Public Interest Law Certificate, prior approval must be obtained by the assistant dean for academic services. The student must take the course for a letter grade and earn a grade of C+ or higher for credit to be applied to the certificate.

Applying for the Certificate

To be eligible to receive a Public Interest Law Certificate, a student must submit an application to the USF School of Law Office of the Registrar. Applications will not be accepted until the student's second-to-last semester. Applications must be submitted on or before the last day to drop classes in that semester.

Students may obtain only one certificate. No student will be awarded more than one certificate upon completion of the JD degree, even if such student completed the requirements to more than one certificate program.

It is each student's responsibility to ensure that all requirements for the Public Interest Law Certificate are satisfied in a timely manner.