As students leave their first year of law school, they often encounter difficulties in deciding which courses to take—and when to take them—during their second and third years of law school. The University of Pittsburgh School of Law offers three ways to assist you: certificate programs, areas of concentration, and pathways. The pathways on these pages are designed to help Pitt Law students to navigate the upper-level curriculum in selected areas of the law in a logical, progressive fashion. At present, these pages contain pathways in just a few of the areas in which the Law School has curricular strength--family law, health law, and tax. In the future, we expect to include additional pathways in other areas of curricular strength.


Each pathway first contains a brief description of why students should consider studying this area of law. Below that is the pathway itself. The pathway progresses from left to right:

  • On the left is a listing of foundational courses; that is, the basic courses that students should begin with and that students are often required or recommended to take prior to registering for more advanced courses in the area.
  • Next in the progression are advanced courses; that is, courses that build on the foundational courses and that deepen students’ knowledge of the area of law.
  • Finally, the progression ends with capstone courses or experiences; that is, clinics, seminars, journals, or other experiences that can help students to draw together their learning from the foundational and advanced courses in a meaningful way.
  • Below the pathway is a list of related courses; that is, courses that are not directly within the area covered by the pathway but that enrich the learning and knowledge of someone in that area.


As illustrated in the graphic above, each course included in a pathway contains a hyperlink to the course description (from which you can link to individual offerings of the course) as well as information regarding whether it is a lecture course, seminar, clinic, or activity for credit. If you hover the cursor over the name of a course, you will also find information regarding any graduation requirements that the course satisfies, any prerequisites for the course, as well as an indication of how often the course is generally offered.


Please bear in mind that an individual offering of a course may be structured to satisfy additional graduation requirements or may have additional prerequisites or recommended courses. It is thus important to check the relevant individual offering of a course in the course catalog before attempting to register for that offering. Please also bear in mind that the indication of how often a course is offered is provided to aid in planning only. On occasion, a course may be offered less (or more) often than generally anticipated or may be offered only on a single occasion. This is yet another reason to pay careful attention to the individual offerings of a course in the course catalog.


Next to the tab for the pathway is a tab with a list of the faculty members (whether permanent, visiting, or adjunct) who teach in the area of law covered by the pathway. The final tab to the right contains a list of additional resources related to the area of law covered by the pathway. These resources will vary from pathway to pathway but may include information relating to student organizations, moot court or writing competitions, web-based resources in the area of law, or other relevant information.


We hope that you find this information helpful in planning your second and third years of law school. Of course, your faculty advisor and the faculty members listed in the pathway’s “related faculty” tab can also serve as a resource to you as you plan to take maximum advantage of your legal education at Pitt Law.