Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.D.)
All students who have received a baccalaureate degree from an approved college or university will be granted the Doctor of Jurisprudence degree upon completion of the school’s degree requirements. Prior to matriculation, all entering students will receive the Student Handbook, which contains a detailed description of degree requirements and academic regulations.
Students are required to complete a total of 90 credit hours for graduation. Other graduation requirements include the following:
- A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.3 on a 4.0 scale
- Completion of all curricular requirements
- Completion of a substantial research paper
- Completion of the equivalent of six semesters of full-time resident study or eight semesters of part-time resident study
- Completion of all degree requirements within 84 months of matriculation
Upon completion of the degree requirements, students will be certified as eligible for the bar examination in the state in which they intend to practice. Applicants should be aware that the bar requirements of most states include character and fitness qualifications. Information supplied on law school applications is relevant to those qualifications and is considered by the law school in its certification of a candidate’s eligibility for admission to the bar. If any doubt exists about meeting bar requirements, applicants should contact the board of bar examiners of the appropriate state for specific information.
The following courses are required:
- Civil Procedure I and II
- Contracts and Sales I and II
- Criminal Law
- Constitutional Law
- Legal Analysis, Research, and Communication I, and II
- Legal Research*
- Professional Responsibility
Students must also satisfy the following requirements:
- Students matriculating in the fall of 2009 and earlier must enroll and complete LARC III in their second year.
- Students matriculating in the fall of 2010 and later must, after completing all basic required courses, enroll in and complete one of the following skills courses:
- Litigation Drafting, or
- Contract Drafting, or
- Lawyering Practice, or
- Appellate Clinic, or
- Civil Practice Clinic, or
- Criminal Defense Clinic, or
- Disability Clinic, or
- Wrongful Conviction Clinic, or
- Advanced Legal Research, or
- Advanced Persuasive Writing and Oral Advocacy, or
- Interviewing and Counseling, or
- Public Policy Mediation within State Government, or
- Trial Practice
Full-time day students are required to register for the full load of 31 credit hours in their first two semesters and must complete all basic-level required courses before registering for advanced courses. Students enrolled in the part-time division and attending evening classes may, in their second year, take upper-level courses while completing the required first-year offerings.
All students must complete an advanced research and writing requirement. Students may satisfy this requirement through a paper written for Supervised Research, a paper written in a course or seminar, or a paper written for one the school’s three law reviews. The Student Handbook contains details concerning the advanced research and writing requirement. The Handbook is available online, or in hard copy in the Student Affairs suite.
*Required for students who have not completed LARC III prior to the fall semester, 2010.
The faculty also recommends that J.D. students take the following elective courses, each of which is important to the breadth of knowledge for all lawyers.
- Administrative Law
- Closely Held Business Organizations
- Criminal Procedure: Investigations
- Family Law
- Income Tax
- Trusts and Estates
Additionally, the faculty recommends that J.D. students take at least one advanced elective course in each of the following five subject areas: commercial law, constitutional law, federal statutory law, property, and torts.
Although there is no required sequencing of advanced-level courses, the above-listed elective courses are considered part of the law school core curriculum and should be taken at the earliest opportunity. Similarly, many advanced-level courses carry prerequisites, and students are encouraged to enroll in the prerequisite courses early to enhance scheduling opportunities.
Limits exist on the number of credits attainable in clinics, law reviews, and other activities. Students should consult the Student Handbook and the Office of Student Affairs for a complete list and explanation of these limits.
Each summer the faculty offer selected required and elective courses. Students who wish to accelerate their studies may do so by attending summer sessions. Students in the part-time division must attend three summer sessions to complete degree requirements in four calendar years. The school matriculates first-year students in the fall semester only.