Really? I have never heard of a law student who couldn't graduate on time because he/she was unable to satisfy the number of required courses.
Yes, it really can happen! At the very least it adds a lot of unnecessary stress and frustration by making it difficult to ensure graduation on time. This is U of A, not Osgoode, U of T, or whatever other school. There are 176 students in each upper year right now so about 352 total that need to take 6 required courses within 2 years. There are also an additional 10-20 NCAs, plus a few exchange students also taking the same courses each semester.
I am going to use Corporations Law as an example. In Fall there was 1 section of 60 students and 1 section of 48. A third section of 48 was cancelled. So there were a theoretical 108 spots in Fall for Corporations Law.
In Winter there is 1 section of 60 people. This is a total theoretical number of 168 spots for this year for Corporations Law. Some of those spots are wasted because people drop out later in the term, some fail so have to re-take, and some drop it at the last minute right before the add/drop deadline without anyone being able to fill it.
This year there are 190 1Ls. Let's assume next year about 200 students including NCAs want to take Corporations in their second year to get it done with as soon as possible. This will not be possible as there were only 168 spots this year. That makes about a 30 spot deficit. If some 2Ls leave off Corporations for their third year (due to overlapping course scheduling and time conflicts) then that deficit will be even higher. This deficit has occurred this year and it repeats itself over multiple of those 6 required courses mostly being Admin, Evidence, Corporations, and Civil Procedure, since those only have one or two lecture sections each semester. The lectures tend to be capped at 60 but can be significantly lower depending on the room. Normally there should be 3 sections each semester for required courses, but like I said this year they were cancelled and there were either 2 or 1 each semester.
Sometimes they marginally increase course enrollment or add additional sections last minute as they did this year with an emergency Admin law section just added for Winter of exactly 23 spots. Those are probably a bunch of 3Ls who complained and would not have been able to graduate otherwise, since initially there was only one full 60 person Admin law class in the Winter and one cancelled 70 person section. Keep in mind that the required classes are often scheduled at the same time as other required courses so scheduling conflicts exist when trying to take more than one or two a semester (besides them being instantly full) and there are 6 required courses to take in 2 years.
In the next 2 years about 400 students will be trying to take each of Admin, Evidence, Corporations, and Civil Procedure when this year there were only about 180 spots for each course (about 360 spots over two years). Even with perfect scheduling without conflicts there is still a deficit in the total yearly section spots offered. I'm not even going to discuss the number of electives that were also cancelled. But at least tuition is still frozen.
Edited by StudentLife, 28 December 2016 - 12:21 AM.