Duquesne University School of Law

Concentration Core Requirements

The School of Law's concentration program organizes the curriculum by grouping courses in areas of law practice to enable students to tailor their course selections to further their career objectives.

Concentrations are not required of any student; they are wholly optional.  The Juris Doctor degree does not depend upon the student fulfilling the requirements for a concentration, nor will the concentration be noted on the student's transcript or diploma.  The School of Law issues a concentration verification letter to each student who fulfills the requirements for one or more concentrations.

Common to all concentrations are the following core requirements:

  1. A "Major Concentration" requires a student to complete 14 credits and a "Minor Concentration" requires 9 credits from courses listed within a concentration.
  2. A student must prepare a professional-quality written project or the equivalent within the field of the concentration, unless a similar written work-product substitute is noted within a concentration description.

The project must attain a grade of "B" or better.  This requirement can be satisfied by any of the following:

a. the project written to satisfy the student's Upper Level Writing requirement in effect at the time the project was written, including articles written for a journal;

b. a professional-quality project of the same length and quality written for a course offered within the concentration;

c. a Directed Research project of the same length and quality;

d. or a project written for one of the Advanced Legal Writing classes that is of the same length and quality.

The topic of any project written for a concentration must be approved by a concentration advisor.  The Civil Litigation concentration permits preparation of a portfolio of litigation-centric documents in lieu of a paper; such a substitute would not relieve a student of otherwise fulfilling the Upper Level Writing requirement in some other manner.

3. A student may count only 3 credits each from a clinic, Trial Advocacy, or a summer study abroad program towards any concentration, even if the course is credited for more than 3 credits.

4. Even though grades in s summer study abroad program are not factored into a student's overall GPA, a student must receive a minimum grade of "B" to have those credits count towards the concentration credit hour requirement.  Papers prepared for such courses may not be used to satisfy a concentration requirement.

5. A student must achieve a cumulative GPA of at least a 3.00 in the courses used to satisfy the concentration; no course may count towards a concentration in which the student's grade is below a "C."

6. There is no bar to a student fulfilling more than one concentration; however, a concentration course may be used to satisfy only one concentration.

7. Each concentration has at least one faculty member appointed to serve as a Faculty Advisor.  Faculty Advisors may permit a student to substitute one comparable 2 credit or 3 credit course for one listed in a concentration but unavailable during the student's final year in residence, with the approval of the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs.

8. Students are permitted to apply up to 6 credits of course work in other graduate programs at the University towards the Juris Doctor degree and a concentration, subject to the advance approval of the concentration's Faculty Advisor.  Grades in non-law graduate courses will not count towards the student's law school GPA, but a minimum grade of "B" is required in any such course to count the credits toward a concentration.  Credits from these courses count towards the 18 credit cap for "non-classroom" credits, and will not count toward the minimum number of semester residency credits (10 credits for full-time students; 8 credits for evening and part-time day students).


There are 13 concentrations from which students may choose:

Business Law Civil Litigation
Criminal Law Energy & Environmental Law
Family Law Government & Public Interest Law
Health Law & Science Intellectual Property
International & Comparative Law Labor & Employment Law
Real Property Religion & Moral Life
Tax & Estate Planning  


Specific concentration requirements can be found on our Curriculum page under Concentrations.