JD Degree Requirements

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Students enrolled in the JD program must earn 87 law credits to graduate. Those 87 credits must be comprised of the following:

  • The eight prescribed first-year courses:
  • Ethics Requirement:  A two-credit course in ethics and professional responsibility.  Courses that satisfy the Ethics requirement are identified in the Course Browser by using the JD Course of Study drop-down menu and searching for "JD - ethics."
  • JD Upper-Level Writing Requirement:  One faculty-supervised research paper for a minimum of two credits.  This may be fulfilled by way of a seminar or an independent study.  The ULWR paper must be a solo project; group projects may not be used to fulfill the requirement.  The student's engagement in a ULWR project must be registered with the Registrar's Office no later than the end of the drop/add period of the student's fifth semester.  Courses that satisfy the ULWR are identified in the Course Browser by using the JD Course of Study drop-down menu and searching for "JD - upper level writing."
  •  Professional Skills/Experiential Learning Requirement:
    • Students who entered law school in 2015 or earlier must earn a minimum two credits in professional skills.  Courses that satisfy the Professional Skills Requirement are identified in the Course Browser by using the JD Course of Study drop-down menu and searching for "professional skills."
    • Students who entered law school in 2016 or later must earn a minimum six credits in experiential learning.  Courses that satisfy the Experiential Learning Requirement are identified in the Course Browser by using the JD Course of Study drop-down menu and searching for "experiential learning."
  • Regularly-Scheduled Courses:  A minimum 64 of the 87 credits must be earned in courses that require attendance in regularly scheduled classroom sessions or direct faculty instruction.
    • Regularly-scheduled law school courses include
      • Law School courses and seminars, including courses cross-listed at the Law School but originating in another school or department at the University.
      • Law School clinics
      • Regularly-scheduled courses completed at another ABA-accredited law school, including through the inter-institutional agreement with UNC and NCCU and transfer credits for students who completed the first year at another law school or who visited away at another law school.
      • Credits from an approved study abroad program.
    • Regularly-scheduled law school courses do NOT include
      • Independent study
      • Non-law courses
      • Externships
      • Research tutorials
      • Ad hoc seminars

All students are responsible for monitoring their compliance with the graduation requirements.

Interested in taking a course outside the Law School?

The Registrar’s Office publishes a list on the Registration Portal of classes available at Fuqua, along with links and resources for other Duke courses and offerings at nearby law schools UNC and NCCU.

View courses outside Duke Law