Degree Requirements - J.D. Program


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-intensive course requirements;
  • satisfied the experiential course requirements; and
  • completed all requirements within five years of initial enrollment (see Withdrawal and Readmission Following Withdrawal on the Academic Regulations page).

Credit-Hour Requirement

Each student must complete a minimum of 90 credit hours. Coursework in areas other than law is subject to the limitation described under Coursework Outside the School of Law.


Classroom Instruction and Direct Faculty Supervision Requirement

Students must earn a minimum of 64 credit hours in courses that require attendance in regularly scheduled classroom sessions or direct faculty instruction. Such courses include traditional courses requiring classroom attendance and other courses directly supervised by faculty, including live client clinics, simulation courses, independent research, and courses offered by the Law School in approved study abroad programs. Courses that do not qualify for the 64-credit-hour minimum include field placements, the law review or law journal, moot court and other competitions, and courses offered by other university departments or by foreign universities.


Grade Point Average Requirement

During the semester in which the student attains 90 credit hours, the student must have achieved a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0 (C) in all law school work. Grades for courses taken in areas other than law are not computed in the School of Law cumulative grade-point average.


Required Courses

To qualify for the J.D. degree, students must complete satisfactorily the following:

  1. All first-year courses listed in the School of Law Courses section of the academic catalog
  2. Three courses* from the following list:
    • Business Organizations
    • Commercial Law: Secured Transactions
    • Conflict of Laws
    • Criminal Procedure
    • Evidence
    • Family Law
    • Jurisdiction
    • Trusts & Estates
  3. 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 may cause class conflicts between these required courses and courses traditionally taken by third-year law students.

*Business Associations I and Contracts II/UCC Sales will count toward the requirement for three upper-level menu courses for students who entered law school before May 2019.

Within the context of their particular interests and career goals, the law school strongly encourages students to consider certain principles when selecting upper-class courses.

  • First, students should develop core knowledge and essential skills during the second year by taking menu-required courses to lay the foundations for taking advanced courses in the third year.
  • Second, given the importance of statutory law and regulatory systems to the modern legal system, students should take courses that focus on complex codes (including statutes, treaties, or regulations) and familiarize them with administrative and regulatory systems, also preferably during the second year.
  • Third, to provide perspective on the legal system and to be prepared to practice in the modern global environment, before graduation students should take at least one class that concerns a legal system other than the federal or state system in the United States.

To implement these principles, the School of Law encourages students to talk individually with their faculty advisors about particular courses.


In Residence Requirement

The 90 credit hours required for the J.D. degree must be earned during a course of study in residence at the School of Law extending over a period of not less than 24 months.


Upper-Level Writing-Intensive Course Requirements

Each student must satisfy the Professional Writing-Intensive course requirement by successfully completing at least two professional writing courses that require students to submit a written work product directed to the lawyer’s professional role. Such writing includes, but is not limited to, document drafting, written advocacy, correspondence, memoranda, judicial and quasi-judicial opinions, legislation, regulations, and policy analysis.

All written work must be of at least C quality to satisfy the Professional Writing-Intensive requirement.

Each student must satisfy the third required writing course by either taking a third professional writing-intensive course, or by meeting the Scholarly Writing-Intensive course requirement by successfully completing a course that satisfies the Scholarly requirement.

Below are lists of courses commonly offered for Professional Writing and Scholarly Writing credit. 

  • Note that not all of these courses are offered every year. Whether they are offered for Experiential, Professional Writing or Scholarly Writing credit in a given semester is subject to change.
  • Additional courses in these categories, beyond those listed below, may also be offered. Students are advised to review each semester's options before enrollment.
  • Appellate Advocacy
  • Conflict of Laws
  • Contract Drafting
  • Corporate Governance
  • Criminal Practice in Kansas
  • Deals
  • Employment Law
  • Energy Law and Policy
  • Estate Planning: Practice
  • Federal Indian Law
  • Higher Education and the Law
  • International Business Law Drafting
  • International Law and Literature
  • Jurisdiction (depending on instructor)
  • Kansas Supreme Court Research Practicum
  • LGBTQ Seminar
  • Legislation and Statutory Interpretation
  • Patent Practice
  • Project for Innocence and Post-Conviction Remedies
  • Public Policy Practicum
  • Real Estate Finance
  • Transactional Law Competition
  • ​Writing for Law Practice

All written work must be of at least C quality to satisfy the Professional Writing-Intensive requirement.

  • Advanced International Trade Law
  • Capital Punishment
  • Comparative Law (with instructor approval) (writing requirement completion form - .doc)
  • Elections and Campaign Finance
  • Environmental Law Seminar (varied topics)
  • Feminist Jurisprudence
  • Global Challenges in Law, Agriculture, Development, and Ecology
  • Independent Research (2 credits)
  • Jurisprudence
  • Kansas Journal of Law and Public Policy (2 semesters)
  • Kansas Law Review (2 semesters)
  • Mass Incarceration
  • Sex Crimes

All written work must be of at least C quality to satisfy the Scholarly Writing-Intensive requirement.


Experiential Course Requirements

Students must satisfy the experiential course requirement by successfully completing courses from the following list that total at least 6 credit hours.

Below is a list of courses commonly offered for Experiential credit. 

  • Note that not all of these courses are offered every year. Whether they are offered for Experiential, Professional Writing or Scholarly Writing credit in a given semester is subject to change.
  • Additional courses in these categories, beyond those listed below, may also be offered. Students are advised to review each semester's options before enrollment.
  • While simulation courses will satisfy the experiential coursework graduation requirement, students are not limited to taking 16 credit hours, such as with clinic and field placement courses.

Clinics

  • Legal Aid Clinic
  • Project for Innocence and Post-Conviction Remedies
  • Tribal Judicial Support Clinic

Field Placements

  • Criminal Prosecution Field Placement Program
  • Elder Law Field Placement Program
  • Field Placement Program
  • Judicial Field Placement Program
  • Medical-Legal Partnership Field Placement Program

Simulation Courses for Experiential Credit

  • Advanced Litigation
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution 
  • Business Planning Seminar
  • Contract Drafting
  • Criminal Practice in Kansas
  • Deals
  • Deposition Skills Workshop
  • Due Diligence Workshop
  • First Amendment Advocacy
  • Kansas Supreme Court Research Practicum
  • Legislative Simulation and Study
  • Mediation and Negotiation Skills Workshop 
  • Mediation Skills Intensive
  • Patent Practice
  • Pretrial Advocacy
  • Public Policy Practicum
  • Transactional Law Competition
  • Trial Advocacy

To satisfy the experiential course requirements, the student must obtain a grade of C or better in graded courses and a grade of CR in courses graded Credit-No Credit.

The same course cannot be used to fulfill more than one of the requirements. 

A course that extends two semesters or two summer sessions may count as two separate courses if the work in each semester or summer session meets the requirements for a writing-intensive or an experiential course. 


Coursework Outside the School of Law

A student who is not enrolled in a joint degree program may take up to 6 hours of graduate-level courses outside the School of Law for credit toward a law degree, provided the law school's Associate Dean for Academic Affairs approves the coursework in advance of enrollment as relevant to the student's education as a lawyer. A student seeking credit toward a law degree for more than 6 hours of courses outside the School of Law must petition the academic committee for approval. In such instances, the entire group of courses from outside the School of Law must be relevant to the student's education as a lawyer. Grades for courses taken in areas other than law are not computed in the School of Law cumulative grade-point average.

A student in good standing may, with the advance approval of KU Law's Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, take law courses at another law school accredited by the American Bar Association. If the student successfully completes such courses, not more than 30 hours of the credit will be transferred and will be counted toward the 90 credit hours required for the J.D. Time spent at another institution will count as study in residence for the purpose of the “in residence” requirement, but grades in courses taken at the other institution will not be computed in the KU School of Law cumulative grade point average.

A student at another law school accredited by the American Bar Association may apply for admission with advanced standing. If admitted, such a student may transfer not more than 30 credit hours of law coursework completed successfully at the other law school toward the 90 credit hours required for the J.D. degree. Grades for coursework completed at the other law school are not computed in the KU School of Law cumulative grade point average.

For purposes of the two preceding paragraphs, a grade of C (or equivalent) or better is necessary in each course for which transfer credit is sought. In no event may a student count more than 30 credit hours earned at other law schools toward the 90 hours required for the J.D. degree.

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