I. Graduation Requirements

The candidate for the degree of Juris Doctor (“J.D.”) must pursue resident (full time) law school study for at least six semesters, and satisfactorily comply with the following:

Each degree candidate must successfully complete all courses offered as part of the first-year curriculum or their substantial equivalent.

Each degree candidate must maintain a minimum grade-point average of 2.5.

Each candidate must earn a total of 86 semester units.

  1. Each candidate must earn a minimum of 68 units in regularly-scheduled law school classes. (A candidate may earn more than 68 units in this type of class as well.) Regularly scheduled law school classes include:

    • a) School of Law courses and seminars, including courses cross-listed at the Law School, but originating in another school or department in the University;

    • b) School of Law clinics and clinical placements approved by the Associate Dean for Clinical Education and Service Learning;

    • c) Credits (limited) from study at another ABA-approved law school; and

    • d) Credits (limited) from study in an approved foreign exchange program.
  2. Each candidate may also earn up to 18 semester units in non-regularly scheduled classes at the School of Law and/or in non-law-school classes with prior approval. (A candidate may earn more than 18 units in this category so long as s/he has earned a minimum of 68 units in regularly-scheduled law school classes.) These include:

    1. a) Directed Research work;

    2. b) Non-law classes;

    3. c) Research fellowships;

    4. d) Externships (other than those deemed to meet the Law School’s clinical requirement);

    5. e) Designated Advanced Clinics (see Course Catalogue for designations); and

    6. f) UC Irvine Law Review.

Each degree candidate must maintain a minimum course load requirement of 12 units each term. In extraordinary circumstances, a student may request a reduced course load as a disability accommodation. In collaboration with the UC Irvine Disability Services Center, and with the written permission of the Assistant Dean for Student Services, an accommodated student may enroll in a minimum of 10 or 11 units in a term.

  1. Students must complete at least one major writing project, such as a substantial research paper or a legal brief, with frequent feedback from a faculty member. The supervising faculty member must be a full-time member of the UCI Law faculty. The project must be original and it must be the product of individual work, not a group assignment. The project shall be a minimum of 7,000 words of substantive original analysis and research. The instructor shall determine whether the 7,000-word minimum is inclusive or exclusive of footnotes and references. This work may be completed in a seminar, a Directed Research project, or through other work. Directed Research courses may fulfill the writing requirement; students may receive from 1 to 3 units of credit as agreed to in advance in writing by the instructor.
  2. Students may not fulfill the writing requirement through a course that fulfills the Law School’s Clinical Requirement or Professional Responsibility Requirement. (See also II. G.).

  3. Students must submit the Writing Requirement Signoff form to satisfy the requirement. The Writing Requirement Signoff form requires students to obtain the faculty supervisor's written confirmation that the project satisfies the Upper Level Writing Requirement. The form and the confirmation must be submitted to the Assistant Dean for Student Services who will sign off on the completion of the requirement after receipt.

  4. If a student has an Incomplete in a course that fulfills the upper-level writing requirement the student must satisfactorily complete the course work within the time limits stated in V.B. Students who fail to meet the deadline will receive no credit for the course and the Incomplete will be transformed to the letter grade of “F” and will be so recorded on the student transcript. 

  5. At the completion of the first year Lawyering Skills course at the School of Law, students will have a meeting with their professor in which the students will receive advice as to the type of writing assistance they need and as to approaches they should consider in meeting their upper-level writing requirement.
  1. Students are required to complete at least one semester of clinical education, either in a School of Law clinic or at a clinical placement that is approved to meet this requirement by the Associate Dean for Clinical Education and Service Learning. 

  2. 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 the student’s ability to assess his or her performance and level of competence. 

  3. Clinics may designate prerequisite courses which must be completed in advance of the clinical experience.

Effective for students entering in Fall 2021 or later.

As a requirement for graduation, students must complete a minimum of 2 credits in a graded course including substantial content relating to, race and indigeneity, structural inequity, and the historical bases for such inequity.

Each year prior to Fall registration, the Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, in consultation with the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Curriculum Committees, will publish a list of courses that enable students to meet the requirement.

In exceptional circumstances, students may petition the Senior Associate Dean to meet this requirement with a course of study devised by that student, including on the basis of directed research under faculty supervision or classes taken in other units at the university.

Transfer students admitted to UCI School of Law after completion of the first year of law school at another ABA-accredited law school must satisfy UCI Law’s requirements for graduation or their substantial equivalents. The Assistant Dean for Student Services shall determine whether classes taken at another law school are sufficient to meet the Law School’s graduation requirements and, if not, what courses a transfer student must complete to graduate. A student entering the Law School as a transfer student must fulfill the degree requirements that apply to the expected graduating class that the student is joining. To be eligible to transfer, a student must have completed a minimum of 28 units of credit at another ABA-accredited law school. UCI School of Law shall accept a maximum of 29 transfer units.

Effective for students entering before August 2019 

Each candidate must complete satisfactorily all School of Law requirements within a maximum of seven years. The seven years are measured from enrollment in law school for the first time and up to graduation.

Effective with the class entering in or after August 2019 (replaces Seven-Year Rule)

Students must complete their work for the J.D. degree in a minimum of six terms in residence. Students with approved course reduction loads (See Academic Rule I.E.) must complete their work for the J.D. degree in no more than eight terms in residence. Students may petition the Academic Appeals Committee for exceptions not to exceed 60 months measured from the date of first matriculation. Concurrent J.D./Ph.D. candidates may be granted an exception by the Assistant Dean for Student Services not to exceed 84 months from the date of first matriculation.

Residency includes:

  1. Full-time enrollment in UCI Law classes.

  2. A maximum of 10 units earned by a student enrolled in a UCI Graduate Division program through a concurrent J.D./M.B.A., J.D./Masters, or J.D./Ph.D. program.

  3. Pre-authorized full-time externships.

  4. Enrollment in UCDC.

  5. Full-time enrollment as a visitor at another ABA-accredited school, including an ABA-approved study abroad program.

On the recommendation of the faculty and the Dean of the Law School, a posthumous degree will be awarded if a deceased student

  1. Had a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 or higher, and

  2. Had earned 72 units of credit.

On the recommendation of the faculty and the Dean of the Law School, a posthumous certificate will be awarded if a deceased student matriculated at the School of Law but earned fewer than 72 units of credit.