J.D. degree requirements

Degree requirements

Students should consult Section I of the Law School Academic Regulations for a complete list of the requirements for the J.D. degree. Following are some of the most important requirements.

  • Total credits required  You must complete 86 credit hours with a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better. At least 64 of these credits must be obtained in courses requiring attendance in regularly scheduled classroom sessions or direct faculty instruction.
  • Required upper-class courses  In addition to the required first-year courses, you must successfully complete Professional Responsibility and the Legal Profession.
  • Upper-level writing requirement (ULWR)  To satisfy the ULWR, you must complete a course, clinic or directed study offering a rigorous writing experience after your first year. You may also meet the ULWR through satisfactory service on a student journal.
  • Professional skills and experiential learning requirement (ELR)  You must complete the ELR by satisfactorily completing at least six credits of clinics, externships or simulation courses. At least three of the required credits must be completed through clinics or externships. You may not use the same course, seminar or clinic to satisfy both the upper-level writing requirement and the experiential learning requirement.
  • Residence requirement  A student must be enrolled in, and earn credit for, courses at the Law School for at least four fall or winter semesters.
  • Time limit for completing graduate requirements  A student may not complete the course of study for the J.D. degree in fewer than 24 months and must complete all requirements for the J.D. degree no later than 84 months after the student commences study.
  • Limitation on clinical and externship courses  Students may take not more than 14 credits of clinical and externship courses toward the completion of degree requirements. No more than eight credit hours from externships may be used to satisfy degree requirements.
  • Transfer credits  The Law School will transfer up to 30 credits from all American Bar Association-approved law schools for courses in which the student received a grade of "C" or better. If a course is graded on a Pass/Fail or No Credit scale, the Law School only will transfer credits with a certification from the institution that a Pass is equal to a grade of "C" or better. The Law School will transfer the credits upon receipt of an official transcript sent directly from the credit-granting institution. Transfer credits are reviewed by the director of academic success and bar preparation in conjunction with the registrar. No transfer student may receive credit for a Wayne State University Law School course that substantially overlaps with graduate coursework that a student took at another ABA-approved law school without written approval from the dean or the dean's designee. The student's Law School transcript will show credit, but not grades, for courses carried and completed at other law schools.

The above represents only a summary of the requirements for graduation. To be sure you understand all of the requirements you should carefully consult the Law School Academic Regulations.