The Handbook of Academic Policies (HAP) is the official source of academic policy and requirements at HLS. Please refer to the HAP for additional information on degree requirements and academic policy.
The following is provided as a quick reference guide and should not be considered the absolute authoritative source for all degree requirements, nor does it supersede the official policy written in the Handbook of Academic Policy.
You can check your degree progress toward meeting these requirements in your Degree Audit in HELIOS! Simply navigate to Academic Record>Degree Audit.
Questions? Contact the Office of the Registrar
First Year Requirements
|Requirements by term|
|FIRST YEAR COURSES||FALL TERM||WINTER TERM||SPRING TERM|
*Beginning with students matriculating into the J.D. program in the Fall 2019, requirements have changed to include a 1L Constitutional Law course and an Upper-Level International and Comparative Law course. For more details on the Upper-Level International and Comparative Law course requirement, see Other Requirements for the J.D. degree.
Upper-Level Credit Requirements
|Credit Type||minimum required||Notes|
|Upper Level||≥52*||Total required credits across the 2L and 3L years.|
|LAW classroom||≥36||Credits from HLS courses, seminars, and reading groups. Required as part of the 52 total upper-level credits.|
*This may vary for transfer students
|upper-level J.D. Residency Requirements||minimum required*||Maximum allowable|
|Each Fall and Spring*||10||16|
|Each Winter Term||2||3|
Students must maintain the minimum credit requirements regardless of the total number of credits taken in any one term/year. For example, front-loading credits to take fewer than 24 credits in your 3L year is not permitted.
*No fewer than 8 credits in each fall and spring upper-level term must be HLS credits. Of those 8, 4 must be classroom or clinical credits.
Upper-level Written Work Requirement
|Option 1||option 2|
|Writing for degree credit, supervised by HLS faculty.
The requirement is fulfilled with 2 credits of Independent Writing OR 1 credit of writing In Conjunction with a course. Writing must be substantial and of publishable/professional quality; generally:
|Generally, writing for which you are not receiving additional degree credit, encompassing:
2 pieces of writing required; 1 must be faculty supervised
Note: The writing requirement cannot be met using writing completed during the 1L year, or writing completed in a course or clinic that satisfies the Professional Responsibility or Experiential Learning requirements.
Other Requirements for the J.D. Degree
|REQUIREMENT||TO FULFILL||ADDITIONAL INFORMATION|
|Experiential Learning (EL)||No fewer than 6 credits
Note: Requirement does not apply to students who began law school prior to Fall 2016
|Upper-Level International and Comparative Law Course||Completion of one international and comparative law course
Note: Requirement does not apply to students who began law school prior to Fall 2019
|Professional Responsibility (PR)||A minimum of 2 classroom credits||
|Pro Bono||50 hours
Note: Requirement for students admitted to HLS prior to Fall 2015 is 40 hours