College of Law > Academics > JD > JD Degree Requirements

JD Degree Requirements

Degree Requirements

Law School Full-Time Day and Evening Program Options

The College of Law has both a full-time day and an evening program option. At the end of their first year, students may change from the evening program to full-time day or vice versa by filing a program change request form with the Office of Student Affairs. The form is available on the College of Law website under Registration. Students may only change their status once while they are enrolled in law school.

Students are advised that a program change may affect their financial aid. For financial aid information, they should see a financial aid counselor in the Office of Financial Aid on the 9th floor of the DePaul Center.

Note that, after JD Day students complete their first-year required courses and after JD Evening students complete their first three semesters of required courses, students may take day or evening courses, regardless of the student's program.

Credit Hour Requirements

Graduation with a JD requires that the student complete 86 credit hours. Under the College of Law's semester system, one credit hour is granted for 50 minutes of classroom or direct faculty instructional time per week, multiplied by 15, and at least 120 minutes of additional out-of-class student work each week, or an equivalent amount of work for other courses and activities, multiplied by 15. The standard course extends over a fourteen-week semester, followed by a  final examination period. Courses or other credit-bearing activities that occur over a different time period must incorporate the same total amount of instructional time and additional assigned work per credit hour as a standard course. At a minimum, students must complete 42.5 hours for 1 unit of credit; 85 hours for 2 units of credit; 127.5 hours for 3 units of credit; and 170 hours for 4 units of credit.

Credit is earned if a student receives an A through a D, or PA grade. 

Time to Degree Limitation

JD Day students are expected to complete the degree in three years. JD Evening students are expected to complete the degree in four years. The maximum time to complete the JD program, if a student takes an approved leave of absence, is five years. Students who are unable to complete the degree within this time frame are required to confer with the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs in the College of Law. ​Pursuant to the American Bar Association Standards of Accreditation, all JD students must complete their degree no later than 84 months after commencing law study. 

Maximum and Minimum Credit Hours

First-year JD Day students take 14-15 credit hours per semester. First-year JD Evening students take 9-10 credit hours per semester.

Upper level JD Day students may register for a maximum of 16 credit hours per semester. After their third semester, JD Evening students may register for a maximum of 12 credit hours per semester.​

JD Day students must take a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester except that JD Day graduating seniors in their final semester need only take the number of credit hours necessary for them to graduate. JD Evening students must register for a minimum of 9 credit hours per semester except that graduating seniors need only take the number of credit hours necessary for them to graduate. ​

No Credit for Course Work Taken Prior to Matriculation in the JD Program

The American Bar Association Standards provide that credit for a JD degree shall only be given for course work taken after the student has matriculated in a law school. A law school may not grant credit toward the JD degree for work taken in a pre-admission program.

Core Required Courses

Course Title Semester Hours
LAW 101APPLIED LEGAL SKILLS *1
LAW 105CONTRACTS *4
LAW 112LEGAL ANALYSIS RESEARCH AND COMMUNICATION I *2
LAW 115LEGAL ANALYSIS RESEARCH AND COMMUNICATION III3
LAW 119LEGAL ANALYSIS RESEARCH AND COMMUNICATIONS II *3
LAW 120CIVIL PROCEDURE *4
LAW 130PREPARING TO PRACTICE I *0
LAW 131PREPARING TO PRACTICE II *0
LAW 140CONSTITUTIONAL LAW *4
LAW 160PROPERTY *4
LAW 170TORT LAW *4
LAW 481LEGAL PROFESSION3
LAW 506CRIMINAL LAW *3
*

Courses that are counted toward the BA for students in the 3+3 (BA/JD) program.  These courses will be completed in the combined final year of the undergraduate degree and first year of the law degree.

Experiential Education Requirement 

Students must complete at least six credit hours of experiential education courses from the list of approved courses below. Most, but not all, courses are offered for three credit hours. 

Course Title Semester Hours
Select at least six credit hours of the following:6
LAW 213
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PRACTICUM
LAW 238
TRANSNATIONAL CIVIL LITIGATION DRAFTING
LAW 246
PATENT & TRADEMARK SEARCHING
LAW 286
INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW PRACTICUM
LAW 287
ADVANCED INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW PRACTICUM
LAW 290
ANATOMY OF A DEAL: FROM INCEPTION TO CLOSING
LAW 312
TRIAL ADVOCACY II
LAW 319
PROSECUTING & DEFENDING CRIMINAL CASES
LAW 363
RESTORATIVE JUSTICE
LAW 369
LITIGATION LAB
LAW 400
BUSINESS TRANSACTIONS AND DOCUMENTATION
LAW 419
LITIGATION STRATEGY: PRE-TRIAL, CIVIL
LAW 429
LEGAL CLINIC I
LAW 438
MEDIATION
LAW 450
TRIAL ADVOCACY I
LAW 453
COMMERCIAL ARBITRATION
LAW 460
BUSINESS PLANNING
LAW 469
LITIGATION STRATEGY: INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
LAW 475
NEGOTIATIONS
LAW 514
LEGAL CLINIC II
LAW 524
EXTERNSHIP PROGRAM
LAW 538
NATIONAL TRIAL TEAM
LAW 548
ADVANCED MEDIATION: LAWYER AS MEDIATOR
LAW 555
ADVANCED LEGAL RESEARCH
LAW 564
EXTERNSHIP SEMINAR
LAW 566
FIELD CLINIC SEMINAR
LAW 567
FIELD CLINIC PRACTICE
LAW 641
PRACTICAL LEGAL RESEARCH
LAW 712
THE PRACTICE OF HEALTH CARE LAW
LAW 751
HEALTH LAW MOOT COURT

Advanced Writing Requirement

Course Title Semester Hours
Select one of the following:
LAW 250
SENIOR RESEARCH SEMINAR
LAW 227
CHILDREN'S HUMAN RIGHTS UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW
LAW 258
WOMEN'S HUMAN RIGHTS UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW
LAW 379
TAX RESEARCH AND WRITING
LAW 427
APPELLATE TECHNIQUE
LAW 428
INDEPENDENT STUDY
LAW 429
LEGAL CLINIC I (Advanced Criminal Appeals)
LAW 455
LEGAL DRAFTING
LAW 514
LEGAL CLINIC II (Advanced Criminal Appeals​)
LAW 559
FOREIGN EXCHANGE: MADRID, SPAIN (Master's Thesis)

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Requirement

JD students matriculating Autumn 2022 or later must complete one course from the list of approved courses below.  These courses include substantial engagement with the legal system's relationship with social inequality, racism, and/or other forms of bias; and/or include substantial opportunities for students to learn about and practice skills in cross-cultural competence.

Courses that meet both the Diversity Requirement and the Experiential Education Requirement can be counted for both requirements.  Courses that meet both the Diversity Requirement and the Advanced Writing Requirement can be counted for both requirements.

Course Title Semester Hours
Select at least one of the following:2-3
LAW 202
EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION
LAW 206
SEX, GENDER, AND THE LAW
LAW 213
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PRACTICUM
LAW 227
CHILDREN'S HUMAN RIGHTS UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW
LAW 232
CATHOLIC SOCIAL JUSTICE & THE LAW
LAW 250
SENIOR RESEARCH SEMINAR (Critical Race Theory; Citizenship; Crimmigration; Feminist Jurisprudence; When Justice Fails; or other approved topic)
LAW 258
WOMEN'S HUMAN RIGHTS UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW
LAW 286
INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW PRACTICUM
LAW 301
SPECIAL TOPICS IN LAW ( Trauma-Informed Lawyering; Human Rights in Latin America; Transnational Criminal Law; Reproduction and the Law; or other approved topic)
LAW 313
JUVENILE JUSTICE
LAW 321
ADOPTION LAW
LAW 363
RESTORATIVE JUSTICE
LAW 372
ELECTION LAW
LAW 378
ANTISEMITISM, THE HOLOCAUST, AND THE LAW
LAW 390
POST-CONFLICT JUSTICE
LAW 429
LEGAL CLINIC I (Asylum and Immigration Law; Civil Litigation and Health Law; Civil Rights; Croak Civil; Croak Criminal; Criminal Appeals)
LAW 434
PUBLIC HEALTH LAW
LAW 449
PREDATORY LENDING
LAW 477
FIRST AMENDMENT: FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND RELIGION
LAW 482
INTERNATIONAL PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS I
LAW 487
HOUSING LAW
LAW 498
EDUCATION LAW & POLICY
LAW 501
RACE, RACISM AND UNITED STATES LAW
LAW 502
HATE CRIME LAW
LAW 503
CIVIL RIGHTS
LAW 514
LEGAL CLINIC II (Asylum and Immigration Law; Civil Litigation and Health Law; Civil Rights; Croak Civil; Croak Criminal; Criminal Appeals)
LAW 516
IMMIGRATION LAW AND POLICY
LAW 517
ASYLUM AND REFUGEE LAW AND POLICY
LAW 523
MISSION-BASED LAWYERING: LEGAL PRACTICE IN THE NON-PROFIT SECTOR
LAW 529
CHILDREN & THE LAW
LAW 546
POVERTY LAW
LAW 561
COMMUNITY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
LAW 567
FIELD CLINIC PRACTICE (Family Law)
LAW 583
STUDY ABROAD: MADRID, SPAIN
LAW 585
STUDY ABROAD: HEREDIA, COSTA RICA
LAW 587
GLOBAL GOVERNANCE DURING TIMES OF CRISIS
LAW 588
STUDY ABROAD: BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA
LAW 593
STUDY ABROAD: HAVANA, CUBA
LAW 702
ELDER LAW
LAW 706
HEALTH POLICY AND THE LAW
LAW 709
HEALTH EQUITY AND THE LAW
LAW 716
DISABILITY LAW

Electives

Elective courses are open to all students who meet the prerequisites for the course in question. For information on specializations, see the section on Certificates.​​​​

Credit Hour Limitations

Non-Classroom Credit Hours: 12-Credit Limit

With the exception of students enrolled in the Third Year in Practice (3YP) program, a JD student may earn a maximum of 12 credit hours for non-classroom (indirect instruction) courses. Courses that count toward the 12-credit non-classroom limit include the following:

Course Title Semester Hours
Limit of 12 credit hours of the following:12
LAW 114
LEGAL ANALYSIS RESEARCH AND COMMUNICATIONS TEACHING ASSISTANTS
LAW 204
LAW REVIEW
LAW 217
JOURNAL FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE
LAW 223
JOURNAL OF WOMEN GENDER & THE LAW
LAW 224
ASP TA
LAW 236
JOURNAL OF SPORTS LAW AND CONTEMPORARY PROBLEMS
LAW 298
GENERAL TEACHING ASSISTANT
LAW 303
BUSINESS AND COMMERCIAL LAW JOURNAL
LAW 336
JOURNAL OF ART TECHNOLOGY & INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY EDITORIAL BOARD
LAW 411
GUIDED RESEARCH
LAW 428
INDEPENDENT STUDY
LAW 436
JOURNAL OF HEALTH CARE LAW EDITORIAL BOARD
LAW 524
EXTERNSHIP PROGRAM
LAW 536
NATIONAL MOOT COURT COMPETITION
LAW 537
INTERNATIONAL MOOT COURT COMPETITION
LAW 539
INTERSCHOLASTIC COMPETITION
LAW 567
FIELD CLINIC PRACTICE
LAW 961
INTENSIVE FIELD PLACEMENT
LAW 962
ADVANCED INTENSIVE FIELD PLACEMENT

​Distance Education Credit Limit 

American Bar Association rules specify that JD students may earn a maximum of 28 credit hours toward the JD degree for distance education courses. The College of Law offers both fully online and hybrid courses. A hybrid course is a course in which some, but not all, of the instructional time is online. All fully-online courses, and some hybrid courses, qualify under the ABA rule as distance education courses. ​​ ​

Third Year in Practice (3YP) Program

The Third Year in Practice Program (3YP) provides qualifying students with a unique third-year experience engaging in the actual and simulated practice of law. Students admitted to the 3YP program are required to complete 24 credit hours of experiential courses, including an Intensive Field Placement of 5-9 credit hours and the Third Year in Practice Seminar. In addition, students will be able to choose from an array of professional skills, practicum, legal drafting and clinic courses to create a fully immersive third year in practice.

Required Courses for 3YP Students

Course Title Semester Hours
LAW 9603YP SEMINAR2
LAW 961INTENSIVE FIELD PLACEMENT5-9

Optional Courses for 3YP Students

Course Title Semester Hours
LAW 962ADVANCED INTENSIVE FIELD PLACEMENT5-9
LAW 963ADVANCED INTENSIVE FIELD PLACEMENT TUTORIAL1

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First-Year Curriculum

Explore sample schedules for the full-time and part-time JD programs.