JD Graduation Requirements (effective with entering class of Fall 2017)

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 88.

  • At least 70 of the 88 credits must be letter-graded on the A/B/C/D/F grade scale. Only 18 credits earned on either the H/P/L/F or P/F scale may count towards the 88 total credits needed to graduate. List of all courses graded PF/HPLF.
  • At least 82 of the 88 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 in 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 required to remain in good academic standing is 2.1. The minimum cumulative GPA required to graduate is 2.0.

Upper Division Writing Requirement

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

  • Successful completion of a graded writing course after the first year. See Academic Rule I.H.1 for what constitutes a graded writing course. Courses that will fulfill this requirement are designated with "Requirement(s): Writing" in the course description or with "Law-Upper Division Writing" 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 Journalor Journal of Contemporary Legal Issues for publication upon certification of the approving faculty member.

Experiential Course Requirement

Students must satisfy the experiential course requirement by completing one or more experiential course(s) totaling at least six credits. Experiential course electives are designated by the Dean's Office. A course will be included on this list if it is a simulation course, a law clinic or a field placement and if it meets the requirements encompassed in ABA Standard of Approval for Law Schools 303(a)(3). Courses that meet these requirements are designated with "Requirement(s): Experiential" in the course description or with "Law-Experiential" under "Attributes" in the class schedule.

Required courses

Student must take and pass (receive a grade of 1.1 or above) all required courses:

Courses Required in the First Year* Credits
Civil Procedure 4
Constitutional Law I 4
Contracts 4
Criminal Law 4
Property 4
Torts 4
Legal Writing and Research I and II 4
Experiential Advocacy Practicum I and II 2
Total 30
Courses Required Beyond the First Year Credits
Professional Responsibility 3
Tax I 3 (or 4)
Multistate Bar Exam Review** 4
Total 10 (or 11)
Total Required Courses 40 (or 41) ***

*Part-time students take two of these courses in their second year.
**This requirement is waived for students who complete their second year (or third year, for part-time students) with a GPA of 3.3 or above.
***Students who complete their first year with a GPA of 2.80 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 88 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.

Elective Limitations Maximum Credits
Independent Supervised Research 2
Independent Supervised Research, Journals, and Moot Court Combined 6
Non-USD or Non-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 was published in October 2017 and 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.