Degree Requirements for J.D.

To obtain a J.D. degree, students must satisfy three sets of requirements, one pertaining to total credits, a second pertaining to courses and grades, and third pertaining to the duration of study. 

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  • Total Credit Requirements
    • Total Credits Required. To obtain a JD Degree from the University of Richmond, you must earn 87 credits of coursework.
    • “Classroom Credits.” The American Bar Association requires that 64 of the 87 credits required to graduate consist of “classroom credits,” i.e., credits earned in courses that have regularly scheduled class meetings. Courses that provide “classroom credits” are marked with LAWC in BannerWeb and, because the vast majority of courses are LAWC courses, students rarely find it difficult to satisfy this requirement.
    • Limitation on Counting Credits. The 87 credits required to graduate may not consist of (1) more than three credits from Research Assistant positions; (2) more than four credits from Independent Study and (3) more than 12 total credits* from Clinics (designated LWXC in BannerWeb) and Externships (designated LWXP in BannerWeb) combined (with the exception that, for students who have done the D.C. or Semester Externship, the limit is 19, not 12). Just because there is a limitation on the credits you can count towards graduation does not mean that you cannot take a particular class. For example, if you want to take four credits of Research Assistant, the entire four credits will show up on your transcript, but you will only get credit towards graduation for three of those credits and you will graduate with at least 88 credits.

      *For 2023-2024, students may petition to exceed the 12-credit limit (19-credit limit) on clinic and externship credits.
  • Course and Grade Requirements
    • First Year Courses. Students must satisfactorily complete all required first year courses.
    • Trial Advocacy. Rising 2Ls must enroll in Trial Advocacy (LAWR 598) in the fall of their second year.
    • Other Required Courses. Prior to graduation, all students must complete the following:
      • Professional Responsibility Course. A Professional Responsibility course (which is marked “LWPR” in BannerWeb) offers instruction on the rules of ethics applicable to lawyers.
      • Writing in Practice Course. A Writing in Practice course (which is marked “WIP” in BannerWeb) provides instruction in lawyering skills through multiple, practice-oriented writing assignments.
      • Upper Level Writing Course. An Upper Level Writing course (marked with “ULWR” in BannerWeb) is a course that requires a single, large writing project, often consisting of a scholarly paper, an amicus brief or a policy paper.
      • Six Credits of Experiential Coursework. Experiential courses (marked “LWXS,” “LWXP,” or “LWXC” in BannerWeb) are courses that provide instruction on specific lawyering skills. Note that, because Trial Advocacy (which is a required second-year course) qualifies as an experiential course, you only need to find four more credits of experiential coursework to complete this requirement.
      • Minimum GPA. To graduate, a student must have a cumulative grade point average of 2.20 at the time of graduation.
  • Duration of Study Requirement
    • Six-Semester Requirement. J.D. students must earn their degree as a full-time student over at least 6 semesters and complete their coursework no later than 60 months from the date of matriculation. Full-time status in any given semester requires that the student be enrolled in at least nine credits and no more than 17 credits.
    • Five-Year Requirement. All academic requirements for the Juris Doctor degree must be completed within five calendar years of matriculation.