The degree of juris doctor is the basic professional degree offered by the USD School of Law. The law school shapes its curriculum to meet the diverse career goals and intellectual interests of its students within the traditional educational preparation for the practice of law. Students who wish to emphasize or specialize in a particular area of law can choose electives from a broad range of courses. The law school also offers clinical and internship programs to give law students who have completed their first year an opportunity to earn academic credit while gaining practical experience.
Three years of full-time study or four years of evening study are generally required to complete the JD degree. Upon recommendation of the dean and the faculty, the JD degree is conferred upon law students who have successfully completed all academic, graduation and residency requirements.
This program is designed for students who are prepared to devote their entire time to the study of law. The School of Law strongly discourages first-year law students from engaging in any employment during the first year of law school. Full-time upper-division law students are strongly discouraged from engaging in employment for more than 20 hours per week. This program generally requires three full academic years in residence. In general, classes are scheduled Monday through Friday.
This program is designed primarily for law students who are employed and cannot attend day classes. Four years of evening study are generally required to complete the degree. In general, classes are scheduled Monday through Thursday evenings beginning at 5:30 p.m. Additional classes may be scheduled as needed. After completing the first year of the part-time program, students may take day classes or request to transfer to full-time status.
A seven-week summer program for continuing students is offered on-campus. The summer session is open to students of USD and other law schools. Completing summer sessions gives students the option of a lighter class load during a subsequent semester.