As part of the requirements of 90 hours of course work for students in the School of Law, course work will take a minimum of 18 hours that count toward the Concentration.
The specific courses which meet the requirements of the Concentration are listed below. Since not every course is offered every year and since new courses are offered on a regular basis, there is no guarantee that every course listed will be available.
However, once a student is enrolled in the Concentration, the Law School will make every possible effort to make sure that enough courses are available for the student to meet the requirements. For this reason, the current Director has the discretion to waive any requirement in this brochure and, on adequate notice, to make substitutions.
Students must pass Criminal Law (first-year required course) and Criminal Procedure (advanced required course). Additionally, we highly recommend that the student make every effort to take Texas Criminal Procedure. The Directors will work with each individual student to identify the group of courses that best match the student's goals and interests.
- Advanced Immigration Law (2 credit hours)
- Advanced Legal Research (2 credit hours)
- Appellate Advocacy (1-2 credit hours)
- Capital Punishment Clinic with Support Course (6 credit hours)
- Capital Punishment Seminar (2 credit hours)
- Caprock Reg. Public Defender Clinic I with Support Course (6 credit hours)
- Caprock Reg. Public Defender Clinic II with Support Course (6 credit hours)
- Criminal Defense Clinic I (6 credit hours)
- Criminal Defense Clinic II (6 credit hours)
- First Amendment Seminar (2 or 3 credit hours)
- Global Biosecurity Law (2 or 3 credit hours)
- Immigration Law (3 credit hours)
- Innocence Clinic I with Support Course (6 credit hours)
- Innocence Clinic II with Support Course (6 credit hours)
- International Humanitarian Law (3 credits)
- Law & Science Legal Research (2 credit hours)
- Law Office Management (2 credit hours)
- Law Office Technology (2 credit hours)
- Law Practice Technology (2 credit hours)
- National Security Law (3 credit hours)
- Negotiations Workshop (2 credit hours)
- Non-Profit Organizations (3 credit hours)
- Race & Racism (2 credit hours
- Texas Criminal Procedure (3 credit hours)
- Texas Legal Research (1 credit hour)
- Trial Advocacy (2 credit hours)
- Any newly offered criminal law-related elective (subject to change each year and approval by program director)
The student must maintain a 2.8 average in the core and elective courses taken toward credit for the Concentration.
Since the goal of the Concentration in Criminal Law and Innocence is to prepare students for practice in a criminal law setting, no student may receive the Concentration without practical work experience. This experience may be either through the Law School's Externship program (note specifications below), one of the criminal law-related clinical programs or another work experience approved in advance by the Director.
Given that externships in criminal law are subject to the real world time constraints of working attorneys and the right of other law students to participate in the Externship program, there is no guarantee that any student will be able to receive any particular placement through the Law School's Externship program, including the full semester out-of-town externships. Therefore, a student pursuing the Concentration who wishes to satisfy his or her practicum requirement through the Law School's Externship program should enroll in the Externship program at the earliest opportunity with the understanding that he or she may not be able to receive an externship placement in any specific semester. No more than 14 hours from the externship program or criminal law-related clinical programs will count toward the 18-hour minimum requirement.
Students seeking the Concentration in Criminal Law and Innocence must complete a scholarly research paper on a subject related to criminal law in (1) any course listed above as long as the paper is criminal law-related, (2) a directed research project with a member of the law faculty with the approval of the Director.
In order to be certified by the Director as complete, this paper must:
- Be a minimum of 25 pages in length, double-spaced and in twelve-point font with one- inch margins.
- Be thoroughly edited for grammar, contain a substantial number of footnotes, (which do not change the page length requirements) and be formatted according to Blue Book specifications.
- Include citation to at least one criminal law journal.
- Contain a thesis or problem in the law, which is addressed by the paper. It may not merely be a "book report" style paper about the law.
- An initial draft of the paper must have been reviewed and commented on by the professor and the final draft must receive a passing score from the professor (according to the individual professor's standards set forth in class or the project).
With the permission of the professor under whose supervision the paper is written, it may also be used to satisfy the requirements of the Law School's Upper Level Writing Requirement, if consistent with these requirements, or any individual course. However, just because a paper satisfies the requirements of a particular course or the Law School's Writing Requirement does not mean that it will automatically satisfy the requirements of the Concentration in Criminal Law and Innocence Program.
Students should consult with the Director early in the process if they have any questions.
Completion of the Program
Before the period for course registration is closed in the semester in which the student intends to graduate, he or she must submit a report to the designated Director indicating how he or she has met the requirements of the Concentration.
No student may receive the Concentration without the approval of the Director, and the Director retains the discretion to drop a student from the Concentration program for failure to comply with any of the requirements or for other good cause.
The Director shall also have authority to modify, waive or reconfigure the Program Requirements where necessary to promote equity and fairness in the event of unforeseen complications or exigent circumstances.