Character and Fitness
Applicants who intend to practice law should be aware that admission to the bar in all states involves character, fitness and other qualifications. Applicants are encouraged to determine what those requirements are in the state(s) in which they intend to practice by consulting the National Conference of Bar Examiners website.
In order to apply and gain admission to the Juris Doctor program the following is required:
- A Bachelor’s degree from a college or university of approved standing prior to law school matriculation (no required discipline of study).
- A valid LSAT score less than five years old.
- A completed application of admission, submission of application fee, and CAS Report provided by LSAC.
- The School of Law follows a rolling admission policy.
- Admission is for the fall semester only for first-year students.
- The filing date for Early Admission is December 15. All materials must be received by this date to be considered for early admission.
- It is the responsibility of applicants to ensure that the School of Law admissions office receives all application materials.
- All applicants are required to take the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT).
The educational mission of the University of San Diego embraces a commitment to academic excellence, individual dignity and the development of the knowledge, values and skills that will prepare students for service to their professional, global, civic, and faith communities. As a Roman Catholic institution, USD has a moral and theological commitment to educating a diverse student body. Accordingly, USD welcomes and respects those whose lives are formed by different traditions, recognizing that diversity of viewpoint, background and experience (including race, ethnicity, cultural diversity, gender, religion, age, socioeconomic status, disability and sexual orientation) among the student body is essential to the full and informed exchange of ideas and to the quality of legal education USD seeks to provide.
While LSAT scores and undergraduate GPAs are important elements, other factors can also be significant in the admissions decision. These factors include: other graduate study; work experience and community or professional service; awards and distinctions; personal recommendations; maturity and character; geographical background; undergraduate and graduate institutions and major; length of time elapsed since completion of undergraduate work; demonstrated motivation, discipline, and leadership ability; demonstrated success in completing a demanding educational program or activity; demonstrated success in overcoming hardship, discrimination, a social or economic disadvantage, or physical disability; and demonstrated evidence of future promise, including the capacity to contribute to the legal profession and society.
The goal of the admissions committee, which serves in an advisory capacity to the dean of the School of Law, is to consider all of the qualitative factors of each applicant that are demonstrative of the applicant's ability to successfully study law and serve as a member of the legal profession. In choosing from among the pool of qualified candidates, the admissions committee—cognizant of the educational mission of the university, the critical role students play in educating one another and the diverse needs of the legal profession—considers the diversity of the class as a whole. The admissions process is highly selective—the School of Law receives over 3,700 applications for 270 available spaces in its entering class.
Students who have been disqualified at another accredited law school are not eligible for admission to the USD School of Law.
Notification of Decision
Notification of Decision: Regular Admission
The admissions office begins considering completed applications in early December. Since over 3,700 applications are individually reviewed, it may take several weeks or months for a completed application to be considered. Once the Admissions Committee has made a decision, applicants are advised promptly of the decision as an offer of admission, an offer of a place on the wait list, or a denial of admission. Because the admission process includes an evaluation of the overall achievements of each applicant relative to those of other applicants, many admission decisions are not finalized until the bulk of applications have been reviewed. Applicants who are in the wait list category may not receive a final decision until late summer. Due to confidentiality concerns, admission decisions are generally not communicated by telephone nor by email, nor is information on an applicant released to anyone other than the applicant. If an offer of admission is extended, the admitted student needs to send a deposit to the admissions office by the specified date in order to secure a position in the entering class. The offer of admission will be withdrawn if the required deposit is not received when due.
Notification of Decision: Early Decision Program
The admissions office will begin to review early decision applications on December 1. Applicants will be advised of the decision no later than December 31. The criteria used to evaluate applicants under this program will be the same as the criteria and selection process employed for regular admissions. Applicants who are not offered admission under the early admission program will be rolled over and considered with all applicants under regular admission. This is a binding admission process; you will have until January 15 to confirm your place in the entering class by submitting the required $500 seat deposit.
Official Transcript Requirement
Admitted students must provide an official transcript from all degree-granting institutions indicating that a degree has been conferred. Copies of transcripts provided with the CAS report are not sufficient to meet this requirement. Official transcripts need to be on file in the admissions office prior to the day of registration.
Commitment to Diversity
The University of San Diego embraces a commitment to academic excellence, individual dignity and the development of the knowledge, values and skills that will prepare students for service to their professional, global, civic and faith communities. USD has a moral and theological commitment to educating a diverse student body. Accordingly, USD welcomes and respects those whose lives are formed by different traditions, recognizing that diversity of viewpoint, background and experience (including race, ethnicity, cultural diversity, gender, religion, age, socioeconomic status, disability and sexual orientation) among the student body is essential to the full and informed exchange of ideas and to the quality of legal education USD seeks to provide.
The School of Law is an active participant and supporter of the DiscoverLaw.org campaign. For more information on the LSAC’s Discover Law campaign, please visit DiscoverLaw.org.