The Juris Doctor (J.D.), or "law degree," is a three-year post-baccalaureate program. Students must complete 89 credit hours of law courses, roughly one-half of which are required courses.
Upon favorable recommendation of the Faculty of Law, the degree of Juris Doctor will be conferred upon a student who:
- Has pursued in residence the full-time study of law for at least three academic years (or the equivalent), two of which must have been completed in this School. A full-time student is one who is registered for credit in 12 or more hours in a semester or six or more hours in a summer session. A student registered for less than 12 hours in a semester or less than six in two summer sessions, will receive proportional residence credit. The maximum number of residency credits obtainable in any one summer session shall be seven, provided that for purposes of accelerated graduation (in less than three academic years) no more than 12 residency credits may be obtained in summer sessions.
- Has received a passing grade in all required courses, except required courses, which have been waived.
- Has received passing grades in law courses aggregating at least 89 credits and has a numerical grade point average of at least 77.5; and
- Has received an undergraduate degree before or concurrently with his or her graduation from law school.
[Note: The summer school residency provisions allow a student to combine two six-hour summer sessions or a seven-hour summer session with a five-hour summer session and obtain the equivalent of a full semester's residency credit.]
Back to top
Completion of a Writing Requirement for students who first matriculated in or after Fall 2006
- Every J.D. student must complete a rigorous upper-level writing experience in either the second or third year of study.
- A "rigorous writing experience" means an experience that culminates in an individually authored paper of at least 20 pages (double-spaced), based on independent research, through a process that includes preparation of a substantial draft, review and feedback by a faculty member, and revision of the draft.
- Any of the following activities may satisfy the upper-level writing requirement, provided that the activity meets the definition of a "rigorous writing experience" in the individual case:
- completion of any course designated as a writing course,
- completion of a writing section attached to a traditional course,
- completion of an independent research project under L5875 Research, or
- membership on one of the journals of the University of Missouri School of Law.
- A "designated writing course" is one in which all students complete a rigorous writing experience as defined in section (2) above and in which, in lieu of a final examination, a substantial portion of the final grade for the course is based on that writing.
- In every case, the supervising full-time faculty member must certify that the writing requirement has been satisfied before a notation will be made in the student's record.
- As stated in the Student Handbook, "[g]rading is done anonymously in all classes where it is possible." With the exception of Independent Research, if grading is to be done other than anonymously, the syllabus shall so state.
Back to top
Professional Perspectives Requirement
- As lawyers, each of you will be required to complete a required number of Continuing Legal Education requirements each year.
- As law students at MU, you have a similar requirement.
- You MUST complete a certain number of Professional Perspective hours each year to be eligible to graduate from this law school.
- Professional Perspective's hours are designed to further your legal knowledge by presenting you with information about current legal events from current practitioners, including judges, and about other legal or legally-related matters. These hours are also designed to present you with needed information about career planning, the job market, and placement.
- Matters counting for Professional Perspectives credit are broken into two categories:
- Professional Perspectives are those programs that give students a new or different prospective on the law or its practice.
- Career Component credits are those programs that give students information about career planning and placement.
- Any program approved for credit will designate the category applicable to that program.
- Matters qualifying for Professional Perspectives credit will appear on the School of Law Calendar. It is your responsibility to select the events you wish to attend within the guidelines set out below.
- Many programs sponsored by the School of Law automatically qualify for Professional Perspectives credit. When listed on the law school calendar, qualifying programs are so designated.
- Programs sponsored by student or other groups may qualify for Professional Perspectives credit, but ONLY if an application for credit is filed 2 full business days in advance of the event with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Application forms are available in the Dean's Office.
- Every event for which Professional Perspectives credit is offered MUST be overseen by a responsible person who agrees to maintain an attendance record for that event.
- Because Professional Perspectives credit is required, it is an event for which attendance counts. As a result, please note that it is an offense under the Honor Code to misrepresent one's own or another's attendance or absence from such an event. This would include signing in for an event and then leaving before the conclusion of that event.
- The Professional Perspectives requirement for each class of students is as follows:
- For First Year Law Students:
- 1 Professional Perspective program in the fall semester;
- 1 Career Component program in the fall semester;
- 1 Professional Perspective program in the spring semester;
- 1 Career Component program in the spring semester;
- For Second and Third Year Law Students:
- 2 Programs each semester;
- At least two of the programs during the year MUST be for general Professional Perspectives credit;
- At least one program during the year MUST be for the Career Component credit.
The above Degree Requirement checklist is also available in PDF.
Back to top
The School of Law recognizes the importance of providing students with opportunities to apply the knowledge they receive in the classroom in “real-life” situations. Over their course of study, students have the opportunity to enroll in clinical programs or practicums in a variety of different areas: criminal prosecution, family violence, mediation, the state legislature, landlord/tenant law, entrepreneurship, veterans' disability law, and the wrongly convicted. Additional details are available from the School of Law at http://law.missouri.edu/skills/.
In addition to these clinical opportunities, students can participate in our extensive externship program. In this program, students work under the supervision of a lawyer or judge in a public law office, government agency or not for profit organization or for an attorney in private practice engaged in pro bono work. Additional details are available from the School of Law at http://www.law.missouri.edu/academics/externships.html.