College of Law

Juris Doctor (JD)

UT Law

The Juris Doctor (JD) degree is your ultimate goal as a law student. In your pursuit of a JD, you can choose from one of our two concentrations and earn a second graduate degree through one of our dual-degree programs.

Academic Requirements

The JD will be conferred upon candidates who satisfy the following:

  • A total of 89 semester hours of credit
    • 31 hours of required first-year coursework
      • Semester 1: Civil Procedure I, Contracts I, Criminal Law, Legal Process I, Torts I
      • Semester 2: Civil Procedure II, Contracts II, Legal Process II, Property, Torts II
    • Professional Responsibility (3)
    • Constitutional Law (4)
    • Expository Writing: All students must successfully write under faculty supervision a substantial research paper in which they identify a problem or question they believe to be important and demonstrate that importance to the reader; research and analyze the response or relationship of the legal system to the issues or similar issues, with the research to include primary sources; evaluate the success or failure of efforts to deal with the problem or respond to the question, if appropriate; and propose and defend a solution to the problem or present a sensible way of thinking about the question.
    • Planning and Drafting: All students must successfully complete a substantial planning and drafting project that requires them to anticipate problems and changes in circumstances and plan for their resolution in documents that govern future behavior; and draft those documents in precise language so that the affected persons understand their future rights and responsibilities.
    • Perspective Course: All students must successfully complete one course devoted to the study of other legal systems, insights of other academic disciplines (such as history, literature, economics, philosophy, anthropology, or sociology), or other non-traditional viewpoints on legal concepts or problems.
    • Professional Skills/Experiential:
      • For students entering before Fall 2016, all students must successfully complete at least one professional skills course. To fulfill this requirement, each student must receive substantial instruction in professional skills generally regarded as necessary for effective and responsible participation in the legal profession, the course must develop the concepts and theories underlying the professional skills being taught, and the course must engage each student in professional skills performances that are assessed by the instructor, such that the student has multiple opportunities to perform tasks with appropriate feedback and self-evaluation, and reflective evaluation of the students’ performance by the faculty member.
      • For students entering in or after Fall 2016, all students must successfully complete experiential learning courses totaling at least six credit hours.  An experiential course must be a simulation course, a law clinic, or a field placement as defined by ABA Standards. To satisfy this requirement, a course must be primarily experiential in nature and must:
        • (i) integrate doctrine, theory, skills, and legal ethics, and engage students in performance of one or more of the professional skills identified in Standard 302;
        • (ii) develop the concepts underlying the professional skills being taught;
        • (iii) provide multiple opportunities for performance; and
        • (iv) provide opportunities for self-evaluation.
  • No more than 18 hours of credit in any combination of the following courses:
    • Externships (947, 948, and 949)
    • Field Placement (992)
    • Directed Research (993)
    • Independent Study (994)
    • Planning & Drafting Project (998)
    • Journals (995, 996, and 999)
    • Moot Court (989 and 997)
    • Up to 6 hours of non-law electives
  • At least 58 hours in residence at the College of Law
  • At least 64 hours in courses that require attendance in regularly scheduled classroom sessions or direct faculty instruction
  • A cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or better
  • A grade point average of 2.0 in two-thirds of the required first-year courses
  • A grade point average of 2.0 or better for courses completed during the final two semesters of coursework at the College
  • Complete degree requirements within five calendar years

It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that all graduation requirements are met.

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