JD Concentrations

Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law offers three concentrations that focus on specific fields of legal study.  In the Spring of the first year of law school, students may choose to apply for a concentration in Business Law, Intellectual Property Law, or Health Care Law.  Upon acceptance, your curricular requirements will include certain core courses, and you will be required to select additional courses related to your concentration from a list of options.  The precise requirements for each concentration are listed below.

Students interested in any of these concentrations must apply in the Spring of 1L year

The Business Law Concentration (BLC) is a competitive program designed to ensure that enrolled students have (1) a strong foundation in the fundamentals of business law; and (2) the skills necessary to successfully begin a career in business law. The six courses that constitute the core curriculum—Business Organizations, Corporate Finance, Securities Regulation, Accounting for Lawyers, Introduction to Federal Taxation, and Survey of Business Tax—lay the groundwork for students to master more specialized corporate law offerings in areas such as mergers and acquisitions, investment management, and securities litigation. In addition, the BLC program expands the educational experience beyond the traditional classroom by requiring students to attend Law School programming—such as invited speakers, panels, and symposia—throughout the academic year. In these events, BLC students hear about cutting-edge legal issues from practicing lawyers who are experts in their practice areas.

BLC students will then put their legal knowledge to work in the “real world” in each of their 2L and 3L years, through an externship in a variety of field placements and by representing actual clients in the Law School’s Law and Entrepreneurship Clinic.  BLC students continue to refine their writing and analytical skills through several required advanced writing classes that are focused on business law, such as “Business Planning.”

The BLC would be helpful for students interested in careers in all areas of corporate law, including corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions, capital formation (public and private securities offerings), restructuring and bankruptcy, investment management, securities enforcement and litigation, and shareholder actions.  

Core Curriculum:

Required Courses:

Students in the Business Law Concentration are required to take the following six core courses:

  • Business Organizations (4 credits) (must be taken in Fall of 2L year)
  • Securities Regulation (4 credits)
  • Corporate Finance (3 credits) (must be taken in Spring of 2L year)
  • Accounting for Lawyers (3 credits)
    • This requirement is waived for students who have taken more than two accounting courses in their undergraduate course of study.
  • Introduction to Federal Taxation (3 credits) (must be taken in Fall of 2L year)
  • Survey of Business Taxation (2 credits) (must be taken in Spring of 2L year)
Total for Core Curriculum Courses: 18 credits

Additional Required Courses

Students in the concentration are required to take two of the following menu of courses:

  • Bankruptcy (3 credits)
  • Compliance (3 credits)
  • Corporate and White Collar Crime (3 credits)
  • Business Ethics (3 credits)
  • Insurance Law (2 credits)
  • Intellectual Property (3 credits)
  • International Business Transactions (3 credits)
  • Law of Investment Management (2 credits)
  • Mergers & Acquisitions (2 credits)
  • Regulation of Financial Institutions (2 credits)
  • SEC Enforcement (2 credits)
  • Secured Transactions (2 credits)
Total for Additional Required Courses: 4-6 credits

Required Writing Courses:

  • Legal Writing 3 (2 credits): Students are required to take Legal Writing 3 - Transactional Writing Skills
    • BLC students who join the Moot Court Board may instead take Legal Writing 3 - Litigation
  • Practical Writing Requirement (3 credits): Students are required to satisfy the Practical Writing Requirement by taking Business Planning in the Fall of 3L year, which is a capstone course for the Business Law Concentration
  • Research Paper Requirement (2-3 credits): To satisfy the Research Paper Requirement, students are required to select a business law topic for their research papers.  The topic must be approved by one of the Business Law Concentration's faculty advisors. Students can enroll in any research paper class (or directed research course) to satisfy this requirement.
Total for Required Writing Courses: 7-8 credits

Experiential Learning Requirement (6 credits):

  • Students are required to have a relevant externship (or enroll in the Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic) in each of the 2L year and the 3L year.  At least six experiential credits are required for the concentration.
    • Externship experience must be in an area relevant to business law.  A relevant externship includes placements with organizations with which the Law School has a formal externship relationship, such as Pepper Hamilton (through the Law & Entrepreneurship externship) and Wawa. It also includes organizations that have traditionally placed Villanova students, but with which the Law School does not have a formal arrangement, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission.  In addition, students can create their own externships with corporations, law firms, or appropriate government agencies.  
    • Please note that most judicial externships will not meet the Business Law Concentration requirement because they are not focused on business law.  Exceptions would be clerkships with a federal bankruptcy judge, Delaware Chancery Court, or state or local business courts.
    • An externship must be a minimum of three credits.  You are permitted to participate in an externship that awards more than three credits.  Most students will probably participate in an externship during the academic year, but you can also meet the requirement through a summer externship.

Business Law Concentration Approved Events:

Each semester, students are required to attend three events (of their choice) that have been approved by the concentration administrators.  Students will not receive academic credit for these events.  Examples of BLC Approved events include:
  • Any program sponsored by the Law School's Center on Law, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation
  • Certain events sponsored by student organizations (if the topic is relevant);
  • The Corporate Law Society's annual CLE event
  • Conferences and symposia offered at the Law School (if the topic is relevant)
  • Speakers presenting at the Villanova School of Business (if the topic is relevant)

Financial Literacy Module Fellows

3L students in the Business Law Concentration will be required to assist the Module's practicing attorney faculty in the administration of the 1L Financial Literacy Module.  As "Financial Literacy Module Fellows," the 3L students will help the 1L students work through the "Deal Week" problems.

GPA Requirement

To successfully complete the Business Law Concentration, students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.3 or above in the courses required by the concentration (the six core courses, the two additional business law courses, and the three writing courses) at the time of graduation.

Alumni Mentors

Upon acceptance into the concentration, each student will be assigned an alumni mentor in the business law area.

Other Graduation Requirements:

To graduate, you will need a minimum of 91 credits. The concentration consists of 37-43 credits, depending on whether you select electives of two or three credits and depending on whether you participate in the Entrepreneurship Clinic, as opposed to participating in an externship. That means you will have to take an additional 5-11 credits of electives to reach the graduation requirement of 91 credits. If you are on a journal or on the Moot Court Board, remember that you will receive a total of four credits that count towards your electives.

For more guidance, take a look at this sample schedule for a student in the Business Law Concentration.

The Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law IP concentration allows students to show their breadth and depth of IP experience. The concentration includes course requirements in core IP areas including patent and copyright, requires additional coursework in other areas, such as trademark or trade secrets, and offers the freedom to take related classes such as sports law, entertainment law, and internet law. There is a strong writing requirement: both a research paper and a practical writing course focusing on issues in IP law are required. Finally, the concentration allows students to practice using their new skills. Students must complete experiential learning in a clinic or in externships, and they attend some bar functions throughout their coursework.

For more information about this concentration, contact Michael Risch or  Brett Frischmann

Core curriculum

Required Courses

Students are required to take the following courses:

  • Intellectual property survey (3 credits) (must be taken fall of 2L year)
  • Patent law (2 credits)
  • Copyright law (2 credits)
  • Advanced Intellectual Property research seminar (2-3 credits) (must be taken when offered during 3L year)

Additional required courses:

Students are required to fulfill the following requirements with a choice of courses:

  • One Practical writing course in IP (2 credits): Can be satisfied by
    • Patent Prosecution
    • Trademark Practice
    • Other practical writing classes with the approval of IPLC advisors
  • One additional IP class (2-3 credits): Can be satisfied by
    • International IP
    • Trademark law
    • Trade secret law
    • Design law
    • Patent litigation
    • Patent trial practice
    • Other IP classes as offered
  • One ancillary class (3 credits): Can be satisfied with
    • Internet Law
    • Sports Law
    • Entertainment Law
    • Other IP-related classes with the approval of IPLC advisors

Experiential Learning Requirement (6 credits):

Students are required to take at least six credits of relevant experiential classes, including classes in both the second and third years. The entrepreneurship clinic is an option, but students should be advised not to rely on clinics, as they can fill up.

Extracurricular requirement

  • IPLC students are required to attend at least two sessions of the Ben Franklin Inns of Court throughout their three years (the school pays for floating memberships)
  • IPLC students are expected to join and participate in the Intellectual Property Law Society
  • IPLC students are encouraged to participate in moot court, law meet, and writing competition activities.

GPA Requirement

To successfully complete the Intellectual Property Concentration, students are required to have a cumulative GPA of 3.3 or above in the courses required by the concentration.

Alumni Mentors

Upon acceptance into the concentration, each student is assigned an alumni mentor in the IP area.


Health lawyers practice at the intersection of law, policy, business, and compliance.  Villanova’s health law concentration offers students a basic understanding of an industry that accounts for nearly a fifth of domestic gross product in the U.S.  In the health law arena, business relationships, payment mechanisms, liability theories, human needs, and governmental programs evolve daily at warp speed. 

Fundamental courses (Health Care and the Law, Health Finance Law, Business Organizations, Administrative Law and Medical Malpractice) provide a jumping off point for students who elect to investigate one of the many practice areas found under the umbrella of “health law.”  These include compliance, white collar crime, employee benefits, health insurance, bioethics, elder law, and business transactions, among others.  Experiential learning characterizes Villanova’s health law concentration.  Students must successfully complete multiplehealth law related experiential learning courses, and devote a writing course to a health law topic.  Employment opportunities for health lawyers can be found in law firms of varying sizes, and with government regulators, health care providers, and health insurers.  An added benefit from a study of health law is a deeper understanding of a byzantine system that impacts all of us, our friends, and our families. 

For more information on this concentration, contact Michael Campbell

Core Curriculum:

Required Courses:

Students in the Health Law Concentration would be required to take the following core courses:

  • Health Care and the Law (2 Credits) - (should be taken in Fall of 2L year)]
  • Health Business and Compliance (2 credits) - (should be taken in Spring of 2L year)
  • Medical Malpractice (2 credits) (3 credits)
  • Business Organizations (4 credits)
  • Administrative Law (3 credits)
  • Health Law Related Externship (3 credits)
  • Health Law Clinic (6 credits) OR a second Health Law Related Externship (3 credits)

Additional Required Courses:

Students in the concentration are required to take an additional six credits from among the following courses:

  • Administrative Practice (3 credits)
  • Antitrust (3 credits)
  • Bioethics and the Law (2 credits)
  • Corporate and White Collar Crime (2 credits)
  • Elder Law (2 or 3 credits TBA)
  • Employee Benefits (2 credits)
  •  (2 credits)
  • Insurance Law (3 credits)
  • Law of Drugs and Biologics (2 credits)
  • Law and Psychology (2 credits)
  • Mergers and Acquisitions (2 credits)
  • Privacy (3 credits)
  • Workers' Compensation Law (2 credits)

Extracurricular Requirements:

  • Concentration students are encourage to participate in the Health Law Society
  • Concentration students are encouraged to join the American Health Lawyers Association

Writing Requirement

To successfully complete the Health Law Concentration, students must complete the seminar writing paper on an approved health law topic or successfully complete a health law related course which meets the law school's practical writing requirement.

Alumni Mentors

Upon acceptance into the concentration, each student will be assigned an alumni or other experienced practitioner mentor in the Health Law area.