J.D. Graduation Requirement Summary
Required for the J.D. degree:
- 83 academic credits (minimum)
- 6 terms of full-time residence at the Law School. To maintain term residence, you must have 12 to 15 points each semester.
- Satisfactory completion of all required foundation courses.
- Satisfactory completion of a course in the area of professional responsibility.
- Two (2) writing credits, at least one of which meets the criteria of the Major Writing Credit, as defined under Rule 1.4 of the Rules for the J.D. Degree.
- The Major Writing Credit must be registered for by the end of the add/drop period of the fifth term and must be completed by April 1 prior to graduation (or by the first day of the month prior to expected graduation for students not graduating in May).
- The Minor Writing Credit paper must be registered for by the end of the add/drop period of the sixth term and completed by April 1 prior to graduation (or by the first day of the month prior to expected graduation for students not graduating in May).
- Mandatory Pro Bono service of a minimum of 40 hours.
To certify completion of an established pro bono project, students must complete an exit questionnaire and their supervising attorneys must submit a supervisor's report to Social Justice Initiatives. Learn more about the pro bono requirement and download necessary forms.
No more than 23 credits of the required 83 points for the J.D. degree may represent clinical courses, externships, or other offerings that are not regularly scheduled class session (“Non-Regularly Scheduled Classes”). However, only 18 points of Non-Regularly Scheduled Classes will be counted towards the 83 points for the J.D. degree. Non-Regularly Scheduled Classes include:
- Supervised Research (as defined under Rule 1.5 of the Rules for the J.D. Degree);
- Note: No more than 4 points per academic year, nor more than 3 points per semester may be given to any student for the completion of supervised research projects.
- Research as an unpaid faculty assistant (as defined under Rule 1.6).
- Note: No more than two points of credits may be given per year under this Rule.
- Note: Up to 10 credits in non-Law courses taken at other faculties of Columbia University can count toward the 83 credits required for the J.D. degree. Courses with a grade below a C do not carry J.D. credit.
- Note: For some externships, all credits are considered as non-classroom credits.
- Note: No more than 3 points of credit may be earned under Rule 1.11, with only 2 points to be awarded for placement on a law journal editorial board.
- Note: Students may not receive credit (i) for serving as a teaching fellow in more than 2 courses, (ii) for serving as a teaching fellow more than once in the same course, or (iii) in a number that exceeds the number of points of the course for which service is performed;
- Note: No more than 4 points of credit may be earned under this Rule.
- Work under other faculties of the University under Rule 1.8;
- The non-classroom component of externship programs;
- Independent work on law school journals or upper-level moot court under Rule 1.11;
- Service as an teaching fellow under Rule 1.12;
- Supervised work on upper-level moot court under Rule 1.13