JD Academic Advising

Academic Advising

If you need assistance constructing your semester schedule, please make an appointment online to meet with an academic advisor.  Contact the Office for Law Student Affairs if you are not able to find an appointment online.

Prior to your meeting with an academic advisor, it may be helpful to refer to and complete Your Personal Academic Plan.

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.

Bar Courses

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 covered on the bar exam that are not required for the JD degree, but that students are strongly encouraged to take as electives. For the California Bar, these courses include:

  • California Civil Procedure
  • Community Property
  • Constitutional Law II
  • Corporations
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Evidence
  • Remedies
  • UCC Sales
  • Wills and Trusts/Trusts and Estates


Many students come to law school with a particular practice area in mind for their future career or quickly develop a special legal interest. USD offers concentration options in ten key practice areas. Each concentration requires between 18 credits. Please refer to the concentrations page 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:

Director for Law Student Affairs
(619) 260-7438


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:

Supervised Independent Research

After your first year of law school, you may earn up to two total 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.