JD/LLM in International & Comparative Law Degree Requirements

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Please note: The degree requirements outlined below apply to JD/LLM students who matriculated in or after the Fall 2020 semester. Students who matriculated prior to Fall 2020 were subject to different credit requirements for the JD/LLM dual-degree program. Please contact Dean Lacoff with questions about past graduating classes.


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Academic Advisor:  Dean Lacoff

Students enrolled in the JD/LLM in International and Comparative Law (JD/LLM-ICL) program must earn 87 JD credits and 24 LLM-ICL credits, calculated as follows:

  • 87 credits for the JD
  • 24 credits for the LLM-ICL
    • Ten of these credits will also be counted toward the 87 JD credits.  The applicable courses are:
      • Comparative Law (3 credits)
      • International Law (3 credits)
      • Research Methods in International & Comparative Law (1 credit)
      • Any approved ICL elective courses(s) (3 credits)
      • The remaining 14 credits are in addition to the 87 credits required for the JD and include the credits earned in the Duke-Leiden Institute
  • Total coursework: 101 credits

JD/LLM-ICL credits must be comprised of:

  • The prescribed first-year courses:

  • Three prescribed ICL courses:
  • JD Ethics Requirement:  A two-credit course in ethics and professional responsibility.
  • JD Substantial Research and Writing Project Requirement (SRWP):  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 SRWP paper must be a solo project; group projects may not be used to fulfill the requirement.  The student's engagement in a substantial research and writing 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 SRWP are identified in the Course Browser by using the JD Course of Study drop-down menu and searching for "JD - substantial research and writing project."
  • ICL writing requirement:  A minimum four credits of upper-level writing on topics relating to international and comparative law.  This assignment may be fulfilled by way of seminars or a combination of seminars and independent study.
    • If two credits of the ICL writing requirement also complies with Rule 3-31, the student may also use this assignment to satisfy the JD substantial research and writing project (SRWP), described above.  No additional JD credit will be awarded.
  • JD Experiential Learning Requirement:  A minimum six credits in simulation courses, clinics and/or externships.  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."
  • ABA Standard 303(c) Requirement: At least one upper-level course providing education on bias, cross-cultural competency, and racism. Courses meeting this standard are identified in the Course Browser by using the JD Course of Study drop-down menu and searching for "Standard 303(c)." Alternatively, students may fulfill this requirement by writing a paper for a seminar or independent study that is certified to meet the Standard. This requirement applies to students matriculating in Fall 2023 or later.
  • Professional Development Requirement: All students entering law school in Fall 2018 or later must complete two non-academic professional development credits. Please note that these credits do not count toward the minimum credit requirement for your degree.
  • ICL Summer Institute: Completion of study at the Duke-Leiden Institute in Global and Transnational Law during the summer between 1L and 2L year.
  • ICL Elective Credits: A minimum of an additional 11 credits in courses approved for ICL elective credit, identified in the Course Browser by using the JD/LLM in International & Comparative Law drop-down menu. Three of these elective credits will count towards both the JD and LLM degrees.
  • Regularly-Scheduled Courses:  A minimum 64 of the 101 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 the ICL Summer Institute
      • 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
      • Bass Connections

Recommended, but not required:

  • Foreign Language:  Students in the JD/LLM-ICL program are no longer required to provide the Law School with evidence of competency in a foreign language.  However, because foreign language skills are often an important part of professional practice in the field, students may choose to continue their study of foreign language while enrolled at Duke Law.  JD/LLM-ICL students are permitted to take up to three courses outside the Law School, some or all of which can be foreign language courses. Undergraduate-level courses (below the 500 level) may not count toward either the JD or LLM degree.
  • JD/LLM Seminar:  The JD-LLM-ICL program does not offer a mandatory seminar. In some academic years, the program will include an exclusive curricular offering for JD-LLM-ICL students, the type of which will vary depending on faculty availability and research interests.

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.