I. Academic Policies and Procedures

I. Academic Policies and Procedures

The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only. The Graduate Record represents the official repository for academic program requirements. These publications may be found at www.virginia.edu/registrar/catalog/grad.html.

E. Degree Requirements

JURIS DOCTOR (J.D.) DEGREE REQUIREMENTS
Candidates for the J.D. degree must satisfy the following to earn their degrees. NOTE: In accordance with American Bar Association standards, the course of study for the J.D. degree must be completed no later than 84 months after a student has commenced law study at Virginia or another law school from which the student transferred, except in extraordinary circumstances.

1) REQUIRED COURSES In addition to the basic first-year required courses (Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Legal Research and Writing, Property and Torts), J.D. degree candidates must successfully complete a professional ethics course and

a) pass at least one professional skills course, if entering the law school as a first-year student prior to Fall 2016, or

b) pass at least one professional skills course, if entering the law school as a transfer student prior to Fall 2017; or

c) obtain at least six (6) credits from one or more professional skills courses if entering as a first-year student in Fall 2016 or later; or

d) obtain at least six (6) credits from one or more professional skills courses if entering as a transfer student in Fall 2017 or later. 

2) ACADEMIC RECORD During each academic year of enrollment all degree candidates must earn a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.7 and accumulate fewer than three exclusion points (see section I.I).

3) CREDITS J.D. degree candidates must successfully earn a minimum of 86 semester credits. Typically, students complete 30-32 credits during the first year and 54-56 credits during the second and third years. At least 64 of the 86 credits must be in courses that require attendance in regularly scheduled classroom sessions or direct faculty instruction.  Additional information about the courses that satisfy this requirement may be obtained from the Student Records Office. See section I.P for the Law School's credit hour policy.

4) RESIDENCY J.D. degree candidates must complete six semesters in residence. A semester in residence is one in which a student enrolls in a minimum of 12 credits towards the degree and receives grades of D or better for at least nine of those 12 credits.

5) WRITING REQUIREMENT In accordance with American Bar Association standards, all J.D. degree candidates must satisfy the Law School’s upper-level writing requirement by completing at least one substantial research paper during their law school careers (see section I.M).

6) CONDUCT All degree candidates must conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the Law School's academic and non-academic student conduct requirements (see section VII).

MASTER OF LAWS (LL.M.) DEGREE REQUIREMENTS
Candidates for the LL.M. degree must satisfy the following to earn their degrees. NOTE: LL.M. degree candidates intending to sit the New York bar exam, must satisfy separate New York bar course requirements (consult the Graduate Studies Office for details).

1) ACADEMIC RECORD During each academic year of enrollment all degree candidates must earn a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.7 and accumulate fewer than three exclusion points (see section I.I).

2) CREDITS LL.M. degree candidates must successfully earn a minimum of 24 semester credits. The School of Law does not accept transfer credits from outside institutions for candidates in the LL.M. degree program. See section I.P for the Law School's credit hour policy.

3) RESIDENCY LL.M. degree candidates must complete two semesters in residence. A semester in residence is one in which a student enrolls in a minimum of 12 credits towards the degree and receives grades of D or better for at least nine of those 12 credits.

4) WRITING REQUIREMENT LL.M.degree candidates must satisfy the Law School’s upper-level writing requirement by completing at least one substantial research paper (see section I.M).

5) CONDUCT All degree candidates must conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the Law School's academic and non-academic student conduct requirements (see section VII).

DOCTOR OF JURIDICAL SCIENCE (S.J.D.) DEGREE REQUIREMENTS
Candidates for the S.J.D. degree must satisfy the following to earn their degrees. NOTE: In accordance with Law School policy, the course of study for the S.J.D. degree must be completed within five years of admittance to candidacy.

1) CREDITS S.J.D. degree candidates must successfully earn a minimum of 30 semester credits. These credits are earned through completion of the student’s first year study plan, dissertation work in residence, and attendance at the S.J.D. colloquium. Please note that S.J.D. students who pay tuition at the research rate may not enroll in classes for credit, but may audit up to two classes with the instructor’s permission. The School of Law does not accept transfer credits from outside institutions for candidates in the S.J.D. degree program. 

2) ACADEMIC REQUIREMENTS S.J.D. degree candidates must complete a dissertation approved by the Graduate Committee and successfully defend the dissertation in an oral examination. The dissertation must make an original contribution to legal literature and demonstrate mastery of the principles of scholarly research and critical analysis. It is expected that the dissertation will be publishable as a book or a series of law review articles. The oral examination is held by a committee consisting of the dissertation supervisor and two other faculty members. After the examination, the committee will report to the faculty its opinion of the candidate’s work and fitness for the degree. The dissertation may be submitted and the oral exam held at any time within five years of the student’s admission to the S.J.D. program. This period may be extended if the student shows good cause submitted in writing to the Graduate Studies Committee.

3) CONDUCT All degree candidates must conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the Law School's academic and non-academic student conduct requirements (see section VII).

Index

Academic Policies (continued)