Graduation Requirements

J.D. Program

To earn the Juris Doctor, students must complete six semesters of study, earn 86 law semester credits, pass all required classes, complete the required writing project, and have a minimum cumulative 2.5 grade-point average (2.0 grade-point average for students who matriculated prior to August 2015).

All students must complete at least 68 credits in regularly scheduled Law School classes. "Regularly scheduled Law School classes" include:

  • Law School courses and seminars, including courses cross-listed at the Law School but originating in another school or department at the University
  • Law School clinics and clinical placements approved by the Associate Dean for Clinical Education and Service Learning
  • Credits from another ABA-approved law school or from approved study in a foreign exchange program

Regularly scheduled Law School classes do not include:

  • Independent study work
  • Non-law classes
  • Research tutorials
  • Externships (other than those deemed to meet the law school’s clinical requirement)
  • Designated Advanced Clinics (see Course Catalogue for designations)

First-Year Coursework Requirements

Students must pass all UCI Law School first-year courses, or their substantial equivalents, with a cumulative law GPA at the end of the second semester of 2.5 or higher (2.0 or higher for students who matriculated prior to August 2015). The Assistant Dean for Student Services will determine whether classes taken at another law school are sufficient for transfer students to meet the UCI first-year coursework requirement. If not, the student will be notified which courses are needed to complete the requirement.

Upper-Level Academic Requirements

1. Writing Requirement
Students must complete at least one major writing project, substantial research paper, or equivalent number of smaller writing projects, with frequent feedback from a faculty member. This might include seminars, independent studies, or other work, so long as it involves substantial original analysis and research, multiple drafts, and is certified by the faculty members as meeting this requirement.

  • At the completion of the first-year lawyering skills course, students will have a meeting with their professor and receive advice on the type of writing assistance they need and approaches they should consider in meeting the upper-level writing requirement.
  • Students are strongly encouraged to develop a portfolio over the course of law school that will include all of their major written work and other forms of presentation.
  • Upper Level Writing Requirement Details (PDF)

2. Clinical Requirement
All students are required to complete at least one semester of clinical education, either in a Law School clinic or at a clinical placement that is approved by the Associate Dean of Clinical Education and Service Learning. This shall involve a live client or other real-life practical experience, appropriately supervised and designed to encourage reflection by students on their experiences and on the values and responsibilities of the legal profession, and the development of one’s ability to assess his or her performance and level of competence.

LL.M. Program

Number of units: minimum 24 units

Required Course

2 units total (fall term)

Introduction to American Law

This course is designed to introduce foreign lawyers to the legal system in the United States and the fundamentals of American law. Students will learn about the basic structure and operation of American government, with an emphasis on how cases progress through the court system. The class will examine differences between the American common law legal system and civilian systems. Students will become familiar with foundational principles underlying the American legal system, such as judicial review, due process, equality, and others. The class will also provide Academic Skills Program (ASP) concepts to provide students with additional skills to prepare them for success in other law school courses and exams.

Elective Courses

22-28 units total (from the upper-division J.D. program. and LL.M.-specific electives)

The LL.M. curriculum includes a broad range of classes from across the upper-division J.D. curriculum. Students may choose an academic program that best suits their individual needs and interests. Students will receive individual academic advisement from the LL.M. Program staff to determine their course of study and receive guidance on issues including eligibility to sit for a U.S. bar examination. 

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