College of Law > Academics > JD > JD Degree Requirements

JD 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 any course, 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 Associate 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 credit hours per semester. First-year JD Evening students take 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 and JD Part-time Day 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 and JD Part-time Day students must register for a minimum of nine 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.

Course Requirements

Core Required Courses  

​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. JD students who matriculated prior to Autumn 2016 can choose to take only one professional skills course in lieu of the Experiential Education Requirement (see the Catalog Archive for applicable courses). 

Advanced Writing Requirement

Choose one of the following:


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: 

​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. ​​ ​


Content displayed from Degree Requirements on DePaul University Catalog

First-Year Curriculum

Experience DePaul Law

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