JD Graduation Requirements (effective with entering class of Fall 2012)

Maximum Time to Complete JD Degree

The maximum time for all students to complete a JD degree is six years.

Credits Needed to Graduate

The total number of credits needed to graduate with a JD degree is 86.

  • At least 70 of the 86 credits must be letter-graded on the A/B/C/D/F grade scale. Only 16 credits may be earned on either the H/P/L/F or P/F scale. List of all courses graded PF/HPLF.
  • At least 80 of the 86 total credits must be earned at the University of San Diego School of Law.
  • The Dean or his or her designate may grant exceptions to the above for students who transfer to USD from other law schools or who visit other law schools during a Fall or Spring semester.

Residency Requirements

Full-Time Students

  • Students who enter full-time must attempt and pay for six (6) full-time regular (Fall or Spring) semesters. A full-time regular semester is a minimum of 12 credits and a maximum of 16 credits.
  • Students may apply up to four (4) credits earned in a prior summer session toward the requirement of attempting 12 credits in a subsequent regular semester. However, students will still pay full-time tuition as if they had attempted 12 to 16 credits. For example, a student can take four (4) credits in the summer and apply all credits to the upcoming Fall semester and therefore only take eight (8) credits that Fall semester.
  • Students may petition to graduate in five (5) full-time semesters in limited circumstances only.

Part-Time Students

  • Students who enter part-time must attempt and pay for eight (8) part-time regular Fall or Spring) semesters. A part-time regular semester is a minimum of eight (8) credits and a maximum of 11 credits.
  • Students may petition to graduate in seven (7) part-time semesters in limited circumstances only.

Minimum Cumulative GPA

The Minimum Cumulative GPA for all students is 2.00.

Upper Division Writing Requirement

The upper division writing ("written work") requirement may be satisfied in any of the following ways:

  • Completion of a substantial, in-depth research paper of no fewer than 20 pages in length in a course of limited enrollment centered on the preparation of such in-depth research paper. Courses that will fulfill this requirement are designated with "Requirement(s) Writing" in the course description or with "Writing-CORE W" under "Attributes" in the class schedule.
    • Be aware that successful completion of a writing course is not determined by the student's grade in the course, but is separately indicated by the professor in the manner specified by the Law School's administration. If you have any questions about the writing requirement, please consult the Office for Law Student Affairs.
  • Scholarly written work submitted to the San Diego Law Review, San Diego International Law Journal or Journal of Contemporary Legal Issues for publication upon certification of the approving faculty member.

Professional Skills Requirement

Students must pass a Professional Skills elective from a list of such courses designated by the Dean's Office. A course will be included on this list if it provides substantial instruction in the professional skills encompassed by ABA Standard of Approval for Law Schools 302(a)(4). Courses that meet these requirements are designated with "Requirement(s): Skills" in the course description or with "Law Professional Skills" under "Attributes" in the class schedule.

Required courses

The required courses for all JD students can be found in the following table.

Civil Procedure I* 3
Civil Procedure II* 3
Constitutional Law I* 4
Contracts 4
Criminal Law 4
Property 4
Torts 4
Lawyering Skills I 3
Introduction to the Study of Law 1
Professional Responsibility 3
Tax I 3

*First-year Part-Time students take these courses in the second year
** Students who complete their first year with a GPA of 2.60 or below are subject to Academic Supervision and are required to take additional courses. Please see the Office for Law Student Affairs for more information.

Elective Courses

JD Students must take additional elective courses to total 86 credits. Students may select their elective courses after the first year. For more information on elective opportunities and considerations, please refer to the JD Academic Advising web page.

Limitations on Electives

These following cumulative limitations on electives apply.

Supervised Independent Research 2
Supervised Independent Research, Journals, and Moot Court Combined 6
Non-USD Law Transfer Credit 6

This JD Graduation Requirements web page is provided for the convenience of USD law students by the Office for Law Student Affairs. This web page is subject to change. This web page is not a substitute for one-on-one academic advising or the official Student Handbook, Academic Rules and Administrative Policies and Procedures of the University of San Diego. Students are encouraged to consult both the Office for Law Student Affairs and the Academic Rules before making final academic planning decisions. Students are responsible for ensuring they meet all degree requirements.