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To qualify for the Degree of Juris Doctor (J.D.), students must:
  • meet the conditions to continue as a degree candidate;
  • successfully complete the first-term course requirements;
  • complete a total of 83 units of satisfactory work; 
  • satisfy the program’s writing requirements;
  • spend at least six full terms or the equivalent thereof in residence;
  • be recommended for the degree by the faculty.

After the first term, students must satisfactorily complete at least 67 units of credit. Students are free to select their own curriculum, but by graduation they must complete:

  • Criminal Law and Administration; 
  • a course of at least two units substantially devoted to issues of legal ethics or professional responsibility (courses that meet this requirement are marked with an asterisk in the list of course offerings);
  • beginning with students who matriculate after June 30, 2012, a course or program of at least 2 units involving the close supervision of professional skills.
  • the writing requirements.

A maximum of 10 units may be approved for independent research and reading.
A student must enroll in no fewer than 12 units of credit in any term unless approval is given by the Dean of Student Affairs. Approval to take fewer than 12 units of credit will only be granted if a student can demonstrate extraordinary circumstances.

Yale Law School Policy on Satisfactory Academic Progress for the Juris Doctor (J.D.)

For more detailed information on academic requirements, please see the Yale University Bulletin.