Curriculum and Requirements

Program in Criminal Litigation

IIT Chicago-Kent's Program in Criminal Litigation prepares students for careers as prosecutors or criminal defense attorneys by combining robust academic offerings in criminal law theory with intensive practice-oriented training. Students gain hands-on experience by joining our nationally ranked trial advocacy program, by representing clients in our criminal defense clinic, and by completing externships with the U.S. Attorney's Office, State's Attorney's Office or Public Defender's Office.

To earn the certificate in criminal litigation, students must complete 25 credit hours of approved course work.

Information on this page about Criminal Litigation curriculum and requirements is also available as a PDF.

Applications for the Criminal Litigation Certificate Program will come out in early spring.

Required Courses (25 credits)

Criminal Procedure: The Investigatory Process – 3 credits (1)
Criminal Defense Clinic I – 3 credits (1)
Evidence – 3 credits (1)
Criminal Procedure: The Adjudicatory Process – 3 credits (2)
Trial Advocacy I – 3 credits (Can be satisfied by Intensive Trial Ad) (3)
Criminal Litigation – 4 credits (Substitute for Legal Writing 4) (4)
Legal Writing 4 Equivalency Class – no credits (5)
Legal Externship—Criminal Prosecution or Defense – 4 credits (6)
Criminal Law Seminar – 2 (Will satisfy the Seminar requirement) (6)

(1) These courses must be completed in the fall semester of the second year, the student's 3rd semester, or in the summer semester preceding their third semester.

(2) This course may be completed in the spring semester of the second year or in either semester of the third year, the student's fourth, fifth or sixth semesters.

(3) This course must be completed in the spring semester of the second year, the student's fourth semester, or earlier.

(4) This course is taught in two segments. The first segment is a two credit course in the spring semester and the second segment is a two credit course in the subsequent fall semester. Students must complete these segments in their 4th and 5th semesters of law school.

(5) This non-credit course must be completed in the same semester that the student completes Criminal Litigation, if the student wishes to use Criminal Litigation as a substitute for Legal Writing 4.

(6) These courses must be completed in either semester of the third year, the student's fifth or sixth semesters. The criminal law seminar may include a seminar in criminal law, criminal procedure, or criminal ethics.

Elective Courses

Some would be offered every year, others when we have the available staff. One can obtain a certificate without taking any of these elective courses. Taking the courses recommended by the faculty as well as electing courses from other subject areas is necessary for a well-rounded legal education.

Advanced Criminal Law – 3 credits
Advanced Evidence – 3 credits
Ethical Issues in Criminal Litigation – 2 or 3 credits
Federal Criminal Law (or White-Collar Crime) – 2 or 3 credits
Forensic Sciences – 2 credits
Juvenile Law – 3 credits
Trial Advocacy II – 3 credits

A student must take 87 credits to graduate. Of these, 36 credits are required courses (30 credits in his/her first year plus Constitutional Law and Professional Responsibility. The remaining required courses—Legal Writing 4 and a seminar are part of the certificate program. Legal Writing 4 may be satisfied by the Criminal Litigation course and the seminar requirement by a seminar focusing on a criminal law topic.) After meeting the requirement for the certificate program (25 credits), a student will be able to take 26 credits of elective courses to meet the 87 credits required for graduation.

Sample Course Schedule

Fall semester of the second year (14 credits)

Constitution Law – 4 credits
Criminal Procedure: The Investigatory Process – 3 credits
Evidence – 3 credits
Criminal Defense Clinic – 3 credits
Legal Writing 3 – 1 credit

(In recent years, we have regularly offered Evidence and Criminal Procedure: The Investigatory Process in the summer session, so, if they wish, some students in the program may get a head start by taking one or both of those courses the summer after their first year.)

Spring semester of the second year (13 to 16 credits)

Criminal Procedure: The Adjudicatory Process – 3 credits
Trial Advocacy I – 3 credits (Can be satisfied by Intensive Trial Ad)
Criminal Litigation – 2 credits (1st segment)
Legal Writing 4 Equivalency Class – no credits
Electives – 5 to 7 credits

(Students may satisfy the Trial Advocacy I requirement by completing Intensive Trial Ad without having to enroll in Trial Advocacy II. Intensive Trial Ad is offered in the summer one week before the beginning of the fall semester and in January one week before the beginning of the spring semester. If certificate students in the program take intensive Trial Ad they will have 3 additional elective credits in the spring semester of second year.)

Fall semester of the third year (13 to 16 credits)

Legal Externship—Criminal Prosecution or Defense – 4 credits
Criminal Litigation – 2 credits (2nd segment)
Electives – 7 to 10 credits

Spring semester of the third year (13 to 16 credits)

Criminal law seminar – 2 credits
Professional Responsibility – credits
Electives – 9 to 12 credits