Honors Program

For students who have demonstrated exceptional ability and achievement before coming to law school, Roger Williams University School of Law offers an Honors Program, which involves a three-year program of roundtables, special elective course offerings and other unique academic and social experiences. The Honors Program provides every incoming first year honors student a substantial scholarship.

Entering Class of 2020 Honors Program Profile

75th Percentile1583.9
25th Percentile1553.4

Honors Scholarships

All applicants to the School of Law are considered for the Honors Program based upon their academic record and achievements, scores on the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT), and recommendations.

All incoming first year Honors students receive substantial merit scholarships of at least 75% off our tuition. 

The Honors Program enrolls approximately 20-30 students each year.

A separate application is not required.

Contact Information

For information about selection to the Honors Program and scholarships, please contact the Admissions Office at (401) 254-4555.

For information about the activities of the Honors Program, please contact Faculty Director of the Honors Program, Professor Michael Yelnosky at myelnosky@rwu.edu

Program Outline

First Year

The main component of the first year Honors Program is the Roundtable Series.  First year Honors students are required to attend six roundtable sessions throughout the academic year (three each semester).  Prominent lawyers, judges and other members of the legal community are selected as roundtable speakers.  In the past, RWU Law has offered the following roundtables:

  • Injustices of the American Healthcare System: Will They Be Fixed by Obamacare? – Constance Howes, Executive Vice President, Care New England Health System
  • Clerking After Law School – Kim Ahern, RWU Class of 2009, Special Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, Rhode Island Office of the Attorney General
  • Courtroom/Courthouse Communications and Etiquette – The Honorable Alice Gibney, Presiding Justice, Rhode Island Superior Court
  • Killer Show: Litigation Lessons from the Station Nightclub Fire – John Barylick, Principal, Wistow, Barylick, Sheehan & Loveley
  • What You Won’t Learn in Law School About the Practice of Law and What You Can Do About It – The Honorable Bruce Selya, Senior Judge, First Circuit Court of Appeals
  • The Challenges of Representing a Client Charged with Murder – Robert Mann, Partner, Mann & Mitchell

Roundtables provide a terrific opportunity for students to discuss interesting topics with practitioners and members of the legal community who they otherwise may not have the opportunity to meet.

Throughout the year, first year Honors students are also invited to participate in a range of other academic and social events.

Second and Third Year

Honors students take special Honors Perspective Courses in their second and third years.  Registration in these courses is limited to Honors students.  Students must complete three Honors Perspectives Courses to fulfill the requirements of the Honors Program.

Honors Perspectives courses recently offered include: September 11 Litigation, U.S. Supreme Court Cases, Torture and American Lawyers, Election Law and Campaign Finance, The Nature of the Judicial Process, Southern Slavery and the Law, The Tea Party and Popular Constitutionalism, and Voice of the Child.

As in first year, upper level Honors students are also invited to participate in a variety of other academic and social events with faculty and members of the bench and bar.

Upon graduation and successful completion of the Honors Program, students receive an Honors certificate and enjoy a special graduation reception in their honor. A note of completion is also placed on their law school transcript.

Close Course Type Descriptions

Course Types

We have classified RWU Law classes under the following headers. One of the following course types will be attached to each course which will allow students to narrow down their search while looking for classes.

Core Course

Students in the first and second year are required to take classes covering the following aspects of the law—contracts, torts, property, criminal law, civil procedure, and constitutional law, evidence, and professional responsibility.  Along with these aspects, the core curriculum will develop legal reasoning skills.


After finishing the core curriculum the remaining coursework toward the degree is completed through upper level elective courses.  Students can choose courses that peak their interests or courses that go along with the track they are following.


Seminars are classes where teachers and small groups of students focus on a specific topic and the students complete a substantial research paper.


Inhouse Clinics and Clinical Externships legal education is law school training in which students participate in client representation under the supervision of a practicing attorney or law professor.  RWU Law's Clinical Programs offer unique and effective learning opportunities and the opportunity for practical experience while still in law school.