J.D. Degree

The J.D. curriculum provides a strong foundation that has proven to be fundamental to the practice of law in every American jurisdiction, while giving students the opportunity to tailor coursework to particular career aspirations.

To earn a J.D. degree, students must:

  • Successfully complete a minimum of 90 credit hours, at least 70 of which must be earned in regularly scheduled classes taught in the law school.
  • Successfully complete the courses required in the first year
  • Engage in full-time law study for six semesters in residence. Each student shall be required to take at least 14 hours in every semester in order to qualify for status as a full-time student.
  • Achieve a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.000.

See Article 4 of the Hoynes Code for details about the J.D. Program, or Choosing Your Curriculum, prepared by our faculty.

First Year

The curriculum in the first year is required, demanding, and consists of 15 required credits fall semester and 13 required hours supplemented with one elective course in the spring semester. The Law School registrar schedules first-year courses for first-year students. Course and semester hours are as follows:

Fall Semester   Spring Semester  
Torts 4 Constitutional Law 4
Contracts 4 Elective ++ 3
Civil Procedure 4 Legal Writing 1
Legal Research 1 Property 4
Legal Writing 2 Criminal Law 4
Total Credits 15 Total Credits 16

++ The appropriate associate dean, after consultation with faculty teaching electives, shall publish a list of electives from which first-year students may choose. A student’s grade in the first-year elective course shall not count toward eligibility for journal membership.

Second and Third Years

In addition to first-year courses, students must successfully complete the courses listed below prior to graduation:

  • One or more courses totaling at least 3 hours that provide substantial instruction in legal ethics
  • Jurisprudence (3 hours)
  • An upper-level skills course
  • Upper-Level Writing Requirement: Students must complete this requirement before enrolling in their final semester.
  • One or more experiential courses totaling at least six credit hours. Experiential courses include simulation courses, law clinics, and field placements.

Before the start of registration for any semester, the appropriate associate dean shall publish a list that identifies all of the courses that will be offered during that semester that will satisfy the legal ethics requirement and the upper-level skills course requirement.