• Home
  • Academics
  • Degrees
  • Juris Doctor
  • J.D.
  • Degree Requirements

Degree Requirements

The degree Juris Doctor (J.D.) is conferred on candidates who have:

  • completed a minimum of 90 credit hours;
  • achieved a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 2.0 (C) during the semester in which they complete 90 credit hours;
  • taken and completed all required courses;
  • satisfied the “in residence” requirement;
  • satisfied the writing requirement;
  • satisfied the professional skills requirement; and
  • completed all requirements within five years of initial enrollment.

Required Courses

To qualify for the J.D. degree, a student must have completed satisfactorily the following:

  • All first-year courses listed in the School of Law Courses section
  • Commercial Law: Secured Transactions or Commercial Law: Payment Systems
  • Evidence
  • Professional Responsibility

Professional Responsibility must be completed by the time the student finishes 60 hours of law school credit. Upper-level required courses should be taken in the second year of law school. Waiting to take these courses until the third year will cause class conflicts between these required courses and courses traditionally taken by third-year law students.

Writing Requirement

Each student must satisfy the upper-level writing requirement by:

  • the successful completion of 2 hours of independent research;
  • the successful completion of a 2- or 3-hour course that involves close faculty supervision of writing, as certified by the faculty member; or
  • publication of a student note or comment in the Law Review or Journal, or completion of a paper publishable in the Law Review or Journal, as certified by the editor-in-chief and by the faculty adviser.

All written work must be of at least C quality to satisfy the upper-level writing requirement.

Professional Skills Requirement

Each student who began his or her J.D. degree during or after the Summer 2008 term must satisfy the professional skills requirement by successfully completing one of the following courses:

  • Any law school-sponsored clinic or externship;
  • National/International Moot Court Competitions;
  • International Law Moot Court Competitions;
  • A course that, within the determination of the law school, includes substantial instruction in professional skills.*  

To satisfy the professional skills requirement, the student must obtain a grade of C or better in graded courses and a grade of CR in courses graded Credit-No Credit.

*Enrollment materials each semester will contain a list of courses that satisfy the professional skills requirement. Although this list may vary, courses that currently satisfy the requirement include:

  • Advanced Legal Ethics
  • Advanced Litigation
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Business Planning Seminar
  • Corporate Transactions:  Process and Issues
  • Criminal Practice in Kansas
  • Deposition Skills Workshop
  • Estate Planning:  Practice
  • Federal Tax Procedure
  • Introduction to Copyright in Literary and Artistic Works
  • Law and the Arts
  • Pretrial Advocacy
  • Practice in Kansas
  • Trial Advocacy

Course descriptions

Find a complete list of graduation requirements: Policies


Melanie Wilson
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Professor of Law

Vicki Palmer

Why KU
  • One-third of full-time faculty have written casebooks used at U.S. law schools
  • 2 KU law faculty were U.S. Supreme Court clerks
  • KU’s Project for Innocence: 28 conviction reversals since 2009
  • 7,300+ alumni live in all 50 states and 18 foreign countries
  • Routinely ranked a “best value” law school
  • 12 interdisciplinary joint degrees
  • 26th nationwide for lowest debt at graduation. — U.S. News & World Report
  • 23rd nationally among public law schools. “When Lawyers Do the Grading,”
    —U.S. News & World Report
  • 70 percent of upper-level law classes have 25 or fewer students
  • 37th: for number of law graduates who are partners at nation’s largest law firms