I. Requirements for the juris doctor (J.D.) degree

Wayne State University Law School (Law School) is approved and accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA) and is governed by the current ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools (ABA Standards).  To the extent that any provision of these Academic Regulations (Regulations) is determined not to comply with an applicable ABA Standard, the ABA Standard shall govern. 

  1. Summary of requirements.  To be eligible to graduate with the J.D. degree from the Law School, a student must satisfy the following requirements:
    1. Bachelor's degree or equivalent (I.B.)
    2. Required courses (I.C.)
    3. Credit and grade point average requirements (I.D.)
    4. Length of study requirements (I.E.)
    5. Upper-level writing requirement (I.F.)
    6. Experiential learning requirement (I.G.)
  2. Bachelor's degree or equivalent.  A student must have earned a bachelor's or equivalent degree.
  3. Required courses.  A student must successfully complete, with a final grade of "D" or higher, all of the following required courses:
    1. Required First Year Courses
      Course Credits
      Civil Procedure A and B 6 credit hours
      Constitutional Law I 3 credit hours
      Contracts A and B 6 credit hours
      Criminal Law 3 credit hours
      Legal Research and Writing 4 credit hours
      Property 4 credit hours
      Torts 4 credit hours
    2. Required Upper Level Course
      Course Credits
      Professional Responsibility 2 credit hours
  4. Credit and grade point average (GPA) requirements.
    1. A student must:
      1. complete 86 credit hours and must earn a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher on all credit hours completed; and
      2. complete at least 64 credit hours (of the 86 credit hours required under I.D.1.a.) in courses requiring attendance in regularly scheduled classroom sessions or direct faculty instruction at an ABA-approved law school.  For purposes of this requirement, "credit hours in courses requiring attendance in regularly scheduled classroom sessions or direct faculty instruction at an ABA-approved law school":
        1. include without limitation the following: (A) credit hours earned by participation in a Law School course, seminar or workshop (sometimes referred to generically as a "course"); (B) credit hours earned by participation in a "simulation course" (as defined in I.G.2.c.) or Law School clinic or externship colloquium in compliance with ABA Standard 304 (a Law School simulation course, clinic or externship colloquium also sometimes referred to generically as a "course"); and (C) credit hours earned by participation in law-related studies or activities in a country outside the United States in compliance with ABA Standard 307;
        2. but do not include any of the following: (A) credit hours earned through directed studies; (B) credit hours earned through field placements in compliance with ABA Standard 304 and other study outside of the classroom in compliance with ABA Standard 305 (including credit hours earned through externship practica); (C) credit hours earned in another department, school, or college of Wayne State University (University) or at another institution of higher learning (other than an ABA-approved law school); (D) credit hours earned for participation in co-curricular activities (including but not limited to Law Review, Journal of Law in Society, Journal of Business Law, Moot Court, Mock Trial, and other co-curriculars for which students may earn academic credit); or (E) credit hours earned by participation in studies or activities in a country outside the United States in compliance with ABA Standard 307 for studies or activities that are not law-related.
    2. Credit hours.  The number of credit hours that a student may earn for any curricular offering is determined in accordance with the Law School's ABA Standard 310 Credit Hours Policy (attached as Appendix A).
    3. University graduate level courses.
      1. No credit will be given toward the J.D. degree for study outside the Law School in another college, school or department of the University except in accordance with this I.D.3.
      2. Up to four law-related graduate level courses offered through another college, school or department of the University may be credited toward the J.D. degree, but only if a student so requests in writing and with written approval of each such course from the Dean or the Dean's designee.  If a student is pursuing a concurrent graduate degree through another college, school or department of the University in accordance with VIII., graduate level courses satisfying the degree requirements of the other college, school or department will ordinarily merit approval as law-related courses.
      3. A student will be given credit toward the J.D. degree under this I.D.3. only for a graduate level course for which the student receives a letter grade of "C" or higher from the other college, school or department of the University.  Such letter grade will appear as a "P" (Pass) on the student's Law School transcript.
      4. Credit hours earned under this I.D.3. shall not count toward the 64 credit hours required under I.D.1.b.
    4. Transfer credit.
      1. Subject to the requirements of this I.D.4., the Law School will transfer up to a total of 30 credit hours from other ABA-approved law schools for courses in which the student received a final grade of "C" or higher.
      2. Proposed transfer credit hours will be reviewed by the Dean or the Dean's designee in conjunction with the Law School Records Office.  No transfer credit will be granted unless and until (I) the Law School Records Office receives an official transcript sent to the Law School directly from the other law school and (II) the Law School Records Office and the Dean or the Dean's designee review the official transcript from the other law school and determines an equivalent Law School course for each course for which transfer credit is requested.
      3. No transfer student may receive credit for a Law School course that substantially overlaps with graduate coursework that student took at another ABA-approved law school without written approval from the Dean or the Dean's designee.
      4. If a student seeks transfer credit under this I.D.4. for a course that was graded on a Pass/Fail or No Credit scale at the other law school, the Law School will transfer credits only upon receiving certification from the other law school that a grade there of Pass is equivalent to a grade of "C" or higher at that school.
      5. The student's Law School transcript will show credit hours, but not grades, for courses for which the Law School transfers credit hours in accordance with this I.D.4.  Transfer credit hours will not be included in computing the student's cumulative GPA under V.H.
  5. Length of study requirements.
    1. A student may not complete the course of study for the J.D. degree in fewer than 24 months after commencing law study at the Law School or an ABA-approved law school from which the Law School has accepted transfer credit.
    2. A student must be enrolled in, and earn credit for, courses at the Law School for at least four fall or winter semesters, whether continuous or not, except in extraordinary circumstances as determined by the Dean or the Dean's designee.
    3. Except in extraordinary circumstances (as determined by the Dean or the Dean's designee in accordance with the requirements of ABA Standard 311), a student must complete all requirements for the J.D. degree no later than 84 months after the student commences law study at the Law School or at an ABA-approved law school from which the Law School subsequently accepts transfer credit.
  6. Upper-level writing requirement (ULWR).
    1. A student must satisfy the ULWR described in this I.F.
    2. A student may not satisfy the ULWR with the same curricular offering used to satisfy the experiential learning requirement described in I.G.
    3. In order to satisfy the ULWR, a student must complete a rigorous writing experience (as defined in I.F.4.) through one of the three methods specified in I.F.5.
    4. For purposes of the ULWR, "rigorous writing experience" means writing a substantial research paper, legal brief, journal note, or the equivalent.  A writing experience will not be considered rigorous unless it includes substantial individualized feedback on one or more written drafts, and review of the final submission, from a full-time member of the faculty.
    5. The ULWR may be satisfied by any one of the three methods specified in this I.F.5.  Regardless of which method is chosen, students must also comply with the certificate requirements set forth in I.F.6.
      1. Courses taught by full-time faculty.  The ULWR may be satisfied in any course, clinic, directed study, or seminar taught by a full-time member of the faculty in which the student successfully completes a rigorous writing experience.  The Law School Records Office will maintain a list that identifies those courses which full-time members of the faculty have indicated may be used to satisfy the ULWR.  A student may also fulfill the ULWR through courses not on the list if the full-time faculty member teaching that course agrees and the other requirements of this section are met.  In order to satisfy the ULWR through this I.F.5.a., a student must receive a grade of "C" or higher in any course, clinic, directed study, or seminar in connection with which the rigorous writing experience is completed.
      2. Courses taught by instructor who is not a full-time faculty member.  The ULWR may be satisfied in any course, clinic, directed study, or seminar taught by an instructor who is not a full-time member of the faculty in which the student successfully completes a rigorous writing experience. However, the student must also obtain the agreement of a full-time member of the faculty to provide substantial individualized feedback on one or more written drafts, to review the final submission, and to provide the certificate required by I.F.6.  In order to satisfy the ULWR through this I.F.5.b., a student must receive a grade of "C" or higher in any course, clinic, directed study, or seminar in connection with which the rigorous writing experience is completed.
      3. Service on student journal. The ULWR may be satisfied by:
        1. satisfactorily serving, with a grade of "credit" for two or more semesters, as an editor of a student journal sponsored by the Law School, and
        2. successfully completing a note, provided that a full-time member of the faculty agrees to give and gives substantial individualized feedback on one or more written drafts of the student's note, reviews the final version of the note, and certifies that the student has successfully completed a rigorous writing experience.  A student seeking to satisfy the ULWR through this I.F.5.c. must provide the supervising faculty member with the final version of the note by the final day of the exam period of the semester in which the note is completed.
    6. Certificate Requirements.  A student has not satisfied the ULWR unless the Law School Records Office receives both a Certificate of Intent and a Certificate of Completion for that student.
      1. Certificate of Intent
        .
        1. Certificate of Intent to satisfy ULWR in connection with a course.  A student using a course, clinic, directed study, or seminar to satisfy the ULWR must, within such reasonable period following the commencement of classes as the Law School Records Office may specify for a semester, submit a certificate attesting that the student expects to satisfy the ULWR using the specified curricular offering.  For courses taught by a full-time member of the faculty, the certificate must be signed by both the student and the faculty member.  For courses taught by an instructor who is not a full-time member of the faculty, the certificate must be signed by the student, the course instructor, and the full-time member of the faculty who has agreed to oversee the ULWR (as required in I.F.5.b.).
        2. Certificate of Intent to satisfy ULWR in connection with journal service.  A student using journal service and completion of a note to satisfy the ULWR must, within such reasonable period following the commencement of classes as the Law School Records Office may specify during the first semester of the note-writing process, submit to the Law School Records Office a certificate attesting that the student expects to satisfy the ULWR in this manner, signed by both the student and the full-time member of the faculty who has agreed to oversee the ULWR (as required in I.F.5.c.).
      2. Certificate of Completion
        .  Within such reasonable period as the Law School Records Office may specify following the end of the semester in which the student completed the requirements of the ULWR, the student must submit to the Law School Records Office a certificate, signed by the applicable full-time member of the faculty, attesting that the faculty member provided substantial individualized feedback on one or more written drafts and reviewed the final written submission, and that the student successfully completed a rigorous writing experience in accordance with the requirements of this I.F.
  7. Experiential learning requirement (ELR) and other rules governing clinics, externships, and simulation courses.
    1. A student must satisfy the ELR described in this I.G.
    2. For purposes of this I.G.:
      1. "Clinics" are courses in which students work for real clients or on real cases/matters, and receive most of their instruction and supervision from faculty members.
      2. "Externships" are courses in which students work for real clients or on real cases/matters, and receive most of their instruction and supervision from attorneys or judges who need not be faculty members.
      3. "Simulation courses" are courses in which students receive substantial experience, not involving an actual client, that is reasonably similar to the experience of a lawyer advising or representing a client or engaging in other lawyering tasks in a set of facts and circumstances devised or adopted by a faculty member.
    3. Clinics, externships and simulation courses will be designated as such in Law School registration materials.
    4. To satisfy the ELR a student must complete with a satisfactory grade (as defined in V.C. or V.D., as applicable) at least 6 credits of clinics, externships, or simulation courses.  At least 3 of these credits must be completed through clinics or externships.
    5. A student may not satisfy any part of the ELR with the same curricular offering used to satisfy the ULWR.
    6. A student may not satisfy any part of the ELR with a required course.
    7. No more than 14 credit hours from clinics and externships may be used to satisfy the J.D. degree requirements under I.A.
    8. No more than 8 credit hours from externships may be used to satisfy the J.D. degree requirements under I.A.
    9. A student may not register for more than one externship or one clinic in any one semester, nor may a student register for both an externship and a clinic in the same semester.
    10. A student who has taken a clinic may not register for another clinic (other than an advanced version of a clinic for which the student previously earned credit) unless positions in the other clinic remain available two weeks after the Law School's registration period for the applicable semester begins and the instructor approves such registration.
  8. Rules governing seminars and directed studies.
    1. A student may not register for a directed study without (a) obtaining prior written approval of a full-time faculty member who agrees to supervise the study and (b) confirming with the Law School Records Office that all other requirements of this I.H. are satisfied.
    2. A student may not register for a directed study for any semester if the student is eligible during the same academic year to register for a seminar that covers the same general subject matter on which the student wishes to write.  The Dean or the Dean's designee may waive this restriction only in extraordinary circumstances.
    3. A student may not receive credit or register for a directed study and a seminar, or for more than one directed study or more than one seminar, in the same semester without obtaining written approval of all faculty members involved and the Dean or the Dean's designee.  The Dean or the Dean's designee will grant such approval only in extraordinary circumstances.
    4. A student may not earn more than 2 credits for any single directed study.  No variances may be granted from this restriction.  A student may not receive more than 4 credits total from directed studies without obtaining written approval from the Dean or the Dean's designee.  The Dean or the Dean's designee will grant such approval only in extraordinary circumstances.
    5. Additional rules governing directed studies and seminars are in IV.E. and V.F.1.a.
  9. Rules governing co-curriculars.
    1. A student may not earn credit for participation in more than one journal (Law Review, Journal of Law in Society, Journal of Business Law, or similar law-related academic journal for which the Law School faculty approves credit) for any semester.
    2. A student may not earn credit for participation in both Mock Trial and Moot Court (including for this purpose Jessup International Law Moot Court) for any semester.
  10. Academic eligibility and probation.
    1. Good standing.  A student whose cumulative GPA, as determined by the Law School Records Office, is 2.0 or higher is in good academic standing at the Law School.
    2. Academic probation.  A student whose cumulative GPA, as determined by the Law School Records Office, is at least 1.67 but less than 2.0 will be on academic probation until the student's cumulative GPA is at least 2.0.  A student on academic probation may register for additional courses at the Law School, subject to the requirements of this I.J.2.  A student who remains on academic probation for more than three consecutive semesters during which the student is enrolled for courses at the Law School may not register for additional subsequent courses at the Law School without written approval from the Dean or the Dean's designee.
    3. Academic ineligibility.
      1. A student whose cumulative GPA, as determined by the Law School Records Office, is below 1.0 is ineligible to continue at the Law School and may not (I) register for additional Law School courses following that determination, (II) take an examination twice for the same required course ("re-examine") under IV.F.2., or (III) apply for readmission under VII.
      2. A student whose cumulative GPA, as determined by the Law School Records Office, is at least 1.0 but lower than 1.67 may not register for additional Law School courses following that determination unless the student is readmitted under VII.  A readmitted student's eligibility to register in additional courses at the Law School will be subject to any conditions placed by the Readmissions Committee pursuant to VII.B.  A student whose cumulative GPA falls below 1.67 may, in certain circumstances, be eligible for reexamination in accordance with IV.F.2. as an alternative to readmission.  For purposes of this paragraph, a student's cumulative GPA will be recomputed by the Law School Records Office following each re-examination.
    4. Additional semester(s) to satisfy GPA graduation requirement. A student who has satisfied all other J.D. degree requirements specified in I.A., but whose cumulative GPA, as determined by the Law School Records Office, is lower than 2.0, may register for additional courses at the Law School in order to raise the student's cumulative GPA to at least a 2.0.  A student registering under this I.J.4. must have written approval of the Dean or the Dean's designee before enrolling in each additional course.  If a student enrolls in and completes additional courses during the first academic semester for which written approval to enroll in additional courses was obtained, but the student still fails to achieve at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA, the student will be permitted to enroll in additional courses only in extraordinary circumstances and with the written approval of the Dean or the Dean's designee.
    5. Withdrawal during first year of Law School.  A student who withdraws from the Law School before completing all required first year courses (as specified in I.C.1.) may not register for courses at the Law School without the written approval of the Dean or the Dean's designee.  Such approval will be granted only if the Dean or the Dean's designee determines that the withdrawal was for good cause.  Any subsequent registration permitted under this I.J.5. will be subject to II.A.2.