​General Information

Selection Process

The educational mission of the University of San Diego embraces a commitment to academic excellence, individual dignity and the development of the knowledge, values and skills that will prepare students for service to their professional, global, civic, and faith communities. As a Roman Catholic institution, USD has a moral and theological commitment to educating a diverse student body. Accordingly, USD welcomes and respects those whose lives are formed by different traditions, recognizing that diversity of viewpoint, background and experience (including race, ethnicity, cultural diversity, gender, religion, age, socioeconomic status, disability and sexual orientation) among the student body is essential to the full and informed exchange of ideas and to the quality of legal education USD seeks to provide.

While LSAT scores and undergraduate GPAs are important elements, other factors can also be significant in the admissions decision. These factors include: other graduate study; work experience and community or professional service; awards and distinctions; personal recommendations; maturity and character; geographical background; undergraduate and graduate institutions and major; length of time elapsed since completion of undergraduate work; demonstrated motivation, discipline, and leadership ability; demonstrated success in completing a demanding educational program or activity; demonstrated success in overcoming hardship, discrimination, a social or economic disadvantage, or physical disability; and demonstrated evidence of future promise, including the capacity to contribute to the legal profession and society.

The goal of the admissions committee, which serves in an advisory capacity to the dean of the School of Law, is to consider all of the qualitative factors of each applicant that are demonstrative of the applicant's ability to successfully study law and serve as a member of the legal profession. In choosing from among the pool of qualified candidates, the admissions committee—cognizant of the educational mission of the university, the critical role students play in educating one another and the diverse needs of the legal profession—considers the diversity of the class as a whole. The admissions process is highly selective—the School of Law receives over 3,000 applications for 230 available spaces in its entering class.

Notification of Decision

Regular Admission

The admissions office begins considering completed applications in late fall. Since over 3,000 applications are individually reviewed, it may take several weeks or months for a completed application to be considered. Once the admissions committee has made a decision, applicants are advised promptly of the decision as an offer of admission, an offer of a place on the wait list, or a denial of admission. Because the admission process includes an evaluation of the overall achievements of each applicant relative to those of other applicants, many admission decisions are not finalized until the bulk of applications have been reviewed. Applicants who are in the wait list category may not receive a final decision until late summer. Due to confidentiality concerns, admission decisions are generally not communicated by telephone, nor is information on an applicant released to anyone other than the applicant. If an offer of admission is extended, the admitted student needs to send a deposit to the admissions office by the specified date in order to secure a position in the entering class. The offer of admission will be withdrawn if the required deposit is not received when due.

Early Decision Program

The admissions office will begin to review early decision applications in late fall. Applicants will be advised of the decision no later than January 6. The criteria used to evaluate applicants under this program will be the same as the criteria and selection process employed for regular admissions. Applicants who are not offered admission under the early admission program will be rolled over and considered with all applicants under regular admission. This is a binding admission process; you will have until January 15 to confirm your place in the entering class by submitting the required seat deposit.

Commitment to Diversity

The University of San Diego embraces a commitment to academic excellence, individual dignity and the development of the knowledge, values and skills that will prepare students for service to their professional, global, civic and faith communities. USD has a moral and theological commitment to educating a diverse student body. Accordingly, USD welcomes and respects those whose lives are formed by different traditions, recognizing that diversity of viewpoint, background and experience (including race, ethnicity, cultural diversity, gender, religion, age, socioeconomic status, disability, and sexual orientation) among the student body is essential to the full and informed exchange of ideas and to the quality of legal education USD seeks to provide.

The School of Law is an active participant and supporter of the DiscoverLaw.org campaign. For more information on the LSAC's Discover Law campaign, please visit DiscoverLaw.org.

We accept applications that are prepared and submitted via the Law School Admission Council's web application. This service allows you to use your computer to efficiently fill out applications for all ABA-approved law schools. The preferred method of submitting your application is online via the web application.

If you are unable to apply online and would like a hard copy of the application, please contact our office at (619) 260-4528 or jdinfo@sandiego.edu.

Applications submitted to LSAC for transmission to this law school will be considered postmarked on the day they are electronically submitted.

If you experience any technical difficulty, please call the LSAC Help Desk at (215) 968-1393.

General Information

Character and Fitness

Applicants who intend to practice law should be aware that admission to the bar in all states involves character, fitness and other qualifications. Applicants are encouraged to determine what those requirements are in the state(s) in which they intend to practice by consulting the National Conference of Bar Examiners website.

Official Transcript Requirement

Admitted students must provide an official transcript from all degree-granting institutions indicating that a degree has been conferred. Copies of transcripts provided with the CAS report are not sufficient to meet this requirement unless they include a conferral of degree. Official transcripts need to be on file in the admissions office prior to the day of registration.

Personal Statement

The admissions committee views the personal statement as an opportunity to evaluate the writing and thinking ability of applicants and learn more about their interests, personal background and concerns. Applicants should describe and discuss the aspects of your background, qualifications, experiences, activities, perspectives, etc. relevant to the criteria for selection set forth above. You may also wish to address:

  • why you wish to study law, setting forth your special qualifications
  • how you plan to use your legal training
  • any additional information you deem important for the admissions committee to consider

Standardized Test Requirements

All applicants for admission are required to take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), which is given four times a year at various test centers throughout the world, including San Diego. The test application form needs to be received by LSAC at least four weeks prior to the desired test date. The test is usually given in February, June, September or October, and December of each year. LSAT application forms and information may be obtained from the LSAC website, Law Services, Box 2000, Newtown, PA 18940-0998, or from most universities and law schools.

Applicants whose native language is not English need to establish competency in English by successfully completing the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and must send the results of their TOEFL to the Law School Credential Assembly Service.

Credential Assembly Service (CAS) Registration and Transcript Requirements

All applicants need to register with the Credential Assembly Service, Box 2000, Newtown, PA 18940-0998. This service collects and analyzes academic data and transcripts on behalf of most United States law schools and sends both the report and copies of the received transcripts to the designated school. Applicants need to request that all colleges, universities and law schools previously attended send official transcripts directly to CAS. Transcripts for work completed prior to registering with CAS should be sent to CAS, not to the USD School of Law. Applicants need to designate the USD School of Law (code 4849) as a recipient of the CAS report. Applicants should allow approximately six weeks for the CAS process.

Applicants whose undergraduate degree was earned outside the United States need to apply to CAS for the JD Credential Assembly Service for Foreign-Educated Applicants. They must also send their foreign transcripts to CAS.

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation are welcomed but not required by the School of Law. If applicants wish to have letters of recommendation included in their file, the letters need to be submitted through the CAS service. The directions and forms can be found in the LSAT/CAS registration and information book. Letters will be forwarded to USD with an applicant's CAS report. Letters of recommendation should be from professors or individuals who can evaluate some significant aspect of the applicant's academic background and/or work experience.

Financial Aid

All applicants are automatically considered for USD Law's merit scholarships. Please refer to the Financial Aid section of this website for more information and instructions on applying for other types of financial aid.

Reactivating Admission Files

Applicants who have applied for admission and either were not admitted or were unable to accept admission at the time may reactivate their applications the following year. To reactivate an admission file, applicants need to follow all the steps of a normal first-time applicant.

Disqualified Students

Students who have attended USD Law and have been academically disqualified must wait one year before applying for re-admission to USD Law. Students who have attended another law school and have been academically disqualified must wait two years before applying to USD Law.