Advanced Standing JD

The Advanced Standing JD program will be discontinued after Fall 2018

This program allows students and graduates with transfer credit from law schools outside the United States to obtain a U.S. JD degree in two years. Students are admitted as the equivalent of second-year transfer students and undertake the regular course of study for U.S. JD students, including all required courses and other graduation requirements.

Eligibility and Application Requirements

The program is open to current students and graduates of non-U.S. law schools with which USD law school has a cooperation agreement. Applicants must obtain a recommendation from their home school and submit an application to the USD School of Law Advanced Standing JD Program. Official law school transcripts must be evaluated by the Law School Credential Assembly Service (CAS). CAS requires that official transcripts from all schools attended be sent directly to them. For more information regarding CAS, please visit the LSAC website. In addition to an official law school transcript, applicants must provide official documentation detailing the institution's policies on grading and credit conferral (e.g. the number of hours of classroom time per credit) to the Admissions Office. If the applicant's native language is not English, the applicant must submit the results of the TOEFL or IELTS English proficiency tests. Applicants may submit scores from the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) but are not required to do so if their application otherwise demonstrates outstanding ability and likelihood of success in law school. Advanced standing applicants should follow the same application process as first-year applicants.

Please notify the Admissions Office if you intend to apply to the JD Advanced Standing program via e-mail at

Details regarding the application process are available on the USD School of Law website and through the Admissions Office at

Admission and Standing

Students admitted through this program will be considered as admitted to the regular JD program and will be treated as ordinary JD candidates. Students may transfer up to 28 credits from their prior law study toward the 86 credits required for a USD law degree. Students will initially have the standing of second-year law students and will typically complete their degree within an additional two years (assuming a course load of 29 credits per year).

Required Courses and Other Requirements

Students admitted through the advanced standing program will be required to complete all courses required for the JD degree and comply with all applicable graduation requirements set forth in the USD School of Law academic rules. Currently, the required courses include 28 credits ordinarily taken by JD students in their first year, as follows:

  • Civil Procedure I (4 credits)
  • Constitutional Law I (4 credits)
  • Contracts (4 credits)
  • Criminal Law (4 credits)
  • Property (4 units)
  • Torts (4 credits)
  • Legal Research and Writing (two semester-long courses of two units each)

Students admitted through the advanced standing program will be required to take each of these courses in their first year at USD law school.

Further, currently two courses are required beyond the first year:

  • Professional Responsibility (3 credits)
  • Tax (3 credits)

In addition, as a requirement of graduation, USD JD students are currently required to take a:

  • Writing course
  • Professional skills course

Students admitted through the advanced standing program will be required to take each of these courses in their second year at USD law school.

Upon completion of all of the coursework and satisfaction of all graduation requirements, students admitted through the advanced standing program will be awarded the JD degree. The degree will be exactly the same degree awarded to three-year U.S. students with no special notations or limitations.