Types of Classes

Law School classes vary widely in their subject matter and in the skills they teach. Although the class schedule is arranged according to subject matter, you should understand the other ways in which classes may differ from one another. NYU Law’s classes generally fall into the following categories:


Courses are lecture-style classes. Some are quite broad, but many are focused on subfields or particular methodologies. The choices are quite varied in this respect. Some lecture courses have prerequisites (for example, Income Taxation is a prerequisite for Corporate Taxation), but most do not. Lecture courses usually require a final examination, although some professors may offer the option of or require a paper. In courses where a final examination is given, the examination format may be either in-class or take-home. Professors have different rules about the types of materials to which students may refer during examinations. Please consult the exam schedule and the course descriptions.

Seminar or Colloquium

A seminar or colloquium is a small class; some seminars may have as few as five or six students, while others may be as large as 27 students. Seminars and colloquia provide a more detailed examination of a subject than is possible in a lecture course, and class presentation entails significantly more discussion and student participation. Seminars and colloquia normally require students to write one or more papers. A colloquium differs from a seminar in that several professors (and occasionally outside guests) participate in the colloquium, preparing papers and articles to which the students in the class respond through discussion and written assignments. Sometimes a seminar is offered in conjunction with the colloquium and students may be required to enroll in both.

Simulation Course

A simulation course is a class in which students receive simulated, tangible experience in tasks and processes related to a particular area of law. They are often classes in which students draft briefs and /or memos, conduct mock arguments, mock trials, or mock negotiations. Simulation classes are subject to the same size cap (27) as seminars.


Clinics involve representation of actual clients or communities under the intensive supervision of a faculty member. Clinics have a required seminar component as well. In order to serve clients and communities as effective practitioners, each clinic requires students to master particular bodies of law (e.g., family, civil rights, or death penalty law), and to learn specific skills suited to different practice arenas (e.g., litigation, policy analysis, and/or outreach skills).

Directed Research

Directed Research is research and writing undertaken independent of a class and under the supervision of a faculty member. A Writing Credit is additional credit for writing offered in conjunction with certain classes.