Levin College of Law

Roadmap Terminology

Curriculum Roadmap

This curriculum roadmap is like a guide to the terrain, but it doesn’t choose your route for you. So with roadmap in hand, you may also want to consult one of the listed faculty members who is available to offer academic counseling, or an alumnus or employer whose opinion and judgment you trust. These individuals can help you determine which route will be best for you based on factors unique to you. Only you know what destination you want to reach. And just as each student’s desired destination is different, the paths you follow will be as well. Few if any students interested in Environmental and Land Use Law will take every course listed on this roadmap, and few if any career paths would require such depth in focus. But, whatever your destination within the realm, this roadmap will help you identify some of the key landmarks and points of interest you may want to visit.

Foundation Courses

These are courses that are in some sense the “basic” courses in the field. If you want to be broadly prepared to practice in this field, you should seriously consider taking at least some of these courses, and perhaps even all of them. If you are wondering which courses among all the substantive courses listed here (foundation and specialized electives) to take first, the foundation courses are a good place to start. In some cases, the specialized electives have prerequisites; in others, you may get more out of an elective after you have had at least one related foundation course. However, there is no rigid order you have to follow (except in the case of courses with prerequisites). This means you have flexibility to develop a plan for your curriculum and then adapt that plan, depending on the offerings in a given semester, schedule conflicts with other courses you want to prioritize, and other factors.

Specialized Electives

These are courses that offer you the opportunity to go into more depth on a specialized topic within this field or practice area. Depending on the particular practice setting or type of practice you want to pursue, some of these electives may be a good stop to include on your path and others may not. The decision which electives to take may depend on your particular interest in the subject, the type of practice you want to pursue, and how much of your curriculum you want to devote to this field of law. You can learn more about what these courses cover by reading the course descriptions, talking to the professor who teaches them or consulting one of the academic advising resources listed below.

Cross-Cutting/Highly Supportive Courses

Some courses could be said to be in a separate field or not strictly speaking a course in this field or preparing you for directly for practice in this area, but they are quite relevant for a significant number of practitioners in the field. The faculty and alumni practicing in this field who helped to develop this roadmap identified some courses as falling in this category. So beyond the more standard specialized electives, they designated some courses as highly supportive. Depending on your career goals, courses in this category may be as important as or more important than some of the specialized electives. If you don’t know which would be relevant, talk to an advisor to determine whether your interests tend towards a practice in which any of these would have relevance.

Skills & Clinics

Some skills courses teach skills that are of relevance to almost any litigation practice — for example trial practice and pretrial practice — and some courses teach skills that are common to almost any law practice — like legal research, legal drafting, interviewing, counseling and negotiation. The skills courses listed here were highlighted by the alumni practitioners and faculty with expertise in this area of law because the skills they teach are of particular relevance to a majority of practitioners in this field. In some cases, a listed course is designed to teach skills in the context of the substantive law of this field. Depending on your career interests and goals, there may be other basic skills and clinical experiences you want to pursue.