After your first year, you have the opportunity to choose from a wide range of elective courses to fulfill the remaining credits needed for graduation. Please refer to the JD graduation requirements for information on what you must complete in order to graduate. In addition to the required courses, there are other courses and opportunities to consider when developing your academic schedule.
In order to be licensed to practice law in a particular state you must pass that state’s licensing or “bar” exam. Most of the courses you took in your first year are covered on bar exams across the country. However there are additional subjects that are covered on the bar exam that are not required, but that students are strongly encouraged to take as electives. For the California Bar, these courses include:
- California Civil Procedure (3 credits)
- Community Property (3 credits)
- Constitutional Law II (3 credits)
- Corporations (4 credits)
- Criminal Procedure (3 credits)
- Evidence (4 credits)
- Remedies (3 or 4 credits)
- UCC Sales (3 credits)
- Wills and Trusts/Trusts and Estates (3 credits)
Many students come to law school with a particular practice area in mind for their future career or quickly develop a special interest. USD offers concentration options in ten key practice areas. Each concentration requires between 18-20 credits. Please refer to the concentrations website for more information.Students ready to focus their study after the first year can immediately start taking courses to count towards a concentration. For those who do not know in which area of law they would like to practice, the concentration curriculum can be used as an informal guide for shaping their education or enhancing their career preparation. If you meet the specific requirements for a concentration, you will receive a transcript notation and Certificate of Concentration. For assistance in planning your schedule to meet the requirements for a concentration, contact Irene Meloney, Director for Law Student Affairs.
In addition to the suggested bar courses and the path to a concentration, there are several other elective options to consider. Check out the Course Descriptions database to see what is offered for each semester. Law school is your chance to explore many areas of law and to find out where your passion lies. When looking at the course offerings, ask yourself "What interests me?" We recommend that you use your elective credits to explore various areas of law and get to know the professors teaching those courses.
While USD offers a wide variety of substantive law courses, there are also many other opportunities to earn academic credit that you should consider exploring:
- Judicial Externships
- Field Placements
- Washington, D.C. Externship Program
- Advocacy Programs (Mock Trial, Moot Court, Transactional Law Team, Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot)
- Law Review and Journals
- Study Abroad
Supervised Independent Research
After your first year of law school, you may earn up to two pass/fail credits during your law school career for supervised independent research. For more information on selecting a topic and faculty advisor, and to obtain a form, please contact the Office for Law Student Affairs.
If you need assistance with constructing your semester schedule, please contact the Office for Law Student Affairs to meet with an academic advisor. Prior to your meeting with an academic advisor, please refer to and fill out Your Personal Academic Plan.