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 grade point average of 2.0 or better.
  • Required upperclass courses. In addition to the required first-year courses, you must successfully complete Professional Responsibility and the Legal Profession.
  • Upperclass writing requirement. To satisfy the upperclass writing requirement you must participate in a class or activity offering a rigorous writing experience after your first year. Qualifying activities include Criminal Appellate Practice Clinic (unless used to meet the Professional Skills requirement), Legal Writing Advanced: Appellate Advocacy, a 2-credit directed study paper, and participation on Wayne Law Review or the Journal of Law in Society. You also may satisfy the requirement by taking any other course, clinic, workshop or seminar with a substantial writing requirement but only if you submit to the Records Office a signed certificate by the appropriate deadline.
  • Professional skills and experiential learning requirement. If you started at the Law School between the fall 2005 semester and the summer 2013 semester, you must complete the professional skills requirement by taking a curricular offering of two or more credits that provides substantial instruction in professional skills beyond traditional legal research, writing and analysis.

If you started at the law school in the fall 2013 or thereafter, you must complete the professional skills and experiential learning requirement by taking at least six credits of curricular offerings that provide substantial instruction in professional skills beyond traditional legal research, writing and analysis. At least three of these required credits must be a clinic, externship practicum or externship colloquium offering three or more credits that provides substantial instruction in professional skills beyond traditional legal research, writing and analysis.

The courses that meet this requirement are:

Clinics – Asylum and Immigration Law Clinic, Business and Community Law Clinic, Civil Rights Clinic, Criminal Appellate Practice Clinic, Disability Law Clinic, Free Legal Aid, Legal Advocacy for People with Cancer Clinic, Patent Procurement Clinic and Transnational Environmental Law Clinic.

Externships – Corporate Counsel Externship: Practicum, Corporate Counsel Externship: Colloquium, Criminal Justice Externship: Practicum, Criminal Justice Externship: Colloquium, Judicial Externship: Practicum, Judicial Externship: Colloquium, Public Interest Externship: Practicum and Public Interest Externship: Colloquium.

Courses and seminars – Alternative Dispute Resolution, Antitrust and Trade Regulation: Current Issues Seminar, Business Planning, Business Planning: A Transactional Approach, Contract Drafting Seminar, Criminal Pretrial Advocacy, Effective Oral Communication for Lawyers Seminar, Interviewing and Counseling, Mock Trial Workshop, Negotiation, Patent Application Preparation, Patent Prosecution, Practicum in Dispute Resolution, Pretrial Advocacy, Taxation of Corporations: Acquisitions and Restructuring, and Trial Advocacy.

You may not use the same course, seminar or clinic to satisfy both the upperclass writing requirement and the professional skills requirement.

  • Residence credit requirement. You must complete three years in residence. A student who completes 10 credits or more in a given semester will receive one-half year of residence credit. A student who completes fewer than 10 credits in a semester will receive residence credit based on the ratio of the number of credit hours completed and 10 credit hours. You may not earn more than one-half year of residence credit during one semester, and credit hours earned in one semester cannot be applied to residence credit in any other semester.
  • Time limit for completing graduation requirements. While transfer between programs is possible, a J.D. student who enters the Law School as a full-time student must complete the requirement for the J.D. degree within five years of starting the program, and a student who enters as a part-time student must complete the requirements within six years.
  • Limitation on clinical and externship courses. Students may take not more than 14 credits of clinical and externship courses toward completion of degree requirements.
  • Transfer credits. The Law School will transfer 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 assistant dean of students in conjunction with the registrar. The student's Law School transcript will show credit, but not grades, for courses carried and completed at other law schools. A transfer student only may receive credit for a course taken at the Law School that substantially overlaps with coursework taken at another school with the advance permission of the assistant dean of students. Wayne Law doesn't have any formal agreements with other schools for the purpose of facilitating transfer of credit between institutions ("articulation agreements").

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.

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