DePaul University College of Law > Academics > JD Programs > JD Degree Requirements

JD Degree Requirements

Law School Full-Time and Part-Time Options

The College of Law has both a full-time and a part-time option. At the end of their first year, students may change from part-time to full-time 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 full-time students complete their first-year required courses and after part-time students complete their first four semesters of required courses, students may take any course, regardless of the student's part-time or full-time status.

Credit Hour Requirements

Under the College of Law's semester system, the unit of credit is one credit hour granted for 50 minutes of instructional time and at least 120 minutes of additional assigned work each week, or an equivalent amount of work for other credit-bearing activities. 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. Credit is earned if a student receives an A through a D, or PA grade. 

Graduation with a JD requires that the student complete 86 credit hours. Graduation with an LLM requires that the student complete 24 credit hours. Graduation with an MJ requires that the student complete 30 credit hours, or 24 credit hours if granted a waiver based on substantial professional experience of at least 12 months' duration in a relevant field of interest. Full-time students are expected to complete the requirements for the JD degree in three years. Part-time students are expected to complete the JD degree in four years. The maximum time to complete the JD program, if a student takes a leave of absence, is five years. 

Maximum and Minimum Credit Hours

Upper level full-time students may register for a maximum of 16 credit hours per semester.  After their third semester, part-time students may register for a maximum of 12 credit hours per semester.

Full-time students must take a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester except that full-time graduating seniors in their final semester need only take the number of credit hours necessary for them to graduate. Part-time 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 and LLM Programs

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.​​​​

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