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Graduation/Degree Requirements

In order to earn a JD degree, a student must successfully complete all of the following academic requirements:

1. TOTAL UNITS:

If entered prior to Fall 2011: 86 total units, including 41 units in required classes;
If entered Fall 2011 or later: 84 total units, including 39 units in required classes;

i) CLASSROOM UNITS: Complete at least 65 units in regularly scheduled law school classroom courses (non-classroom courses include Directed Research, Moot Court, clinical and externship courses or programs, Street Law program, and certain co-curricular programs for which academic credit is awarded, such as advocacy competitions, ASP Program Tutor, Maritime Law Journal, and USF Law Review); 

2. CURRICULUM: all curricular requirements of the USF School of Law;

3. RESIDENCE: the required time in residence (explained more fully below);

4. SCHOLASTIC STANDING: attain a 2.300 or higher cumulative grade point average as well as attain a 2.300 or higher grade point average in at least one of the last two regular semesters prior to completing the degree requirements; and

5. NOTICE: file a notice of candidacy (petition to graduate) for the Juris Doctor Degree Program on or prior to the date designated in the official academic calendar for the year of graduation. 


Residence Requirements

In addition to curricular and other requirements, to earn a JD degree a student must complete the required time in residence.

Full-Time Program

A full-time student must complete six regular (fall or spring) semesters in which he or she enrolls in a minimum of 12 and a maximum of 16 academic units of credit. A full-time student who fails to satisfactorily complete the requisite number of units in any semester will be required to attend one or more additional semesters to meet the residence requirement. Full-time students may not accelerate the date of their graduation or carry less than 12 units of credit during a fall or spring semester by taking classes during a summer session.

Part-Time Program

A part-time student must complete eight regular (fall or spring) semesters in which he or she enrolls in a minimum of eight and a maximum of 12 academic units of credit. A part-time student who fails to satisfactorily complete the requisite number of units in any semester will be required to attend one or more summer sessions or additional semesters to meet the residence requirement.

Accelerating the Part-Time Program

Part-time students may accelerate their graduation and complete the JD degree program residence requirement in three and one-half academic years, provided they are in good academic standing. In order to satisfy the residence requirements, part-time students wishing to accelerate must complete seven regular session (fall and spring) semesters and at least eight units taken in two or more summer sessions. At least four of the summer units must be taken in a USF summer program. A part-time student wishing to accelerate his or her graduation must file a notice of intention to accelerate with the law school registrar at the earliest possible date, but in no event after the last date to add classes during the fall semester of his or her third year.

Transfer from Part-Time to Full-Time Program

A student who enters and completes the first year in the part-time division may transfer to the full-time division upon completion of the first year of study. This makes it possible to complete degree requirements in three academic years.

A student who elects to transfer to the full-time division must:

  • take a full-time course load during every semester in the second and third academic years;
  • attend one or more USF summer sessions and aggregate a total of at least six units of credit. All of these units must be taken in a USF summer program;
  • meet all other USF degree requirements including completion of the requisite number of course units and completion of all courses required by the USF School of Law;
  • complete all courses required for second-year part-time students in the evening section; and
  • file a notice with the law school registrar of intention to transfer to the full-time division at the earliest possible date, but in no event later than the end of the spring semester of his or her first year. Filing the notice of transfer is mandatory; failure to file the notice as required precludes transfer to the full-time division.
  • Only a student who completes the spring semester of his or her first year with a cumulative grade point average above 2.500 is permitted to transfer to the full-time division. Any election to transfer is subject to meeting this requirement. Once effective, the transfer is irrevocable and thereafter, except as noted, a student who has filed a notice of intention to transfer will be treated as a full-time student for purposes of applying academic policies, awarding residence credit, determining tuition charges, etc.
Transfer from Full-Time to Part-Time Program

Students who enter the full-time division may for compelling reasons transfer to the part-time division with approval of the assistant dean for academic services. Once effective, the transfer is irrevocable and thereafter a student who has transferred will be treated as a part-time student for purposes of applying academic policies, awarding residence credit, determining tuition charges, etc.

In order to satisfy residence requirements, a student who transfers from the full-time to the part-time division must attend law school for no fewer than seven, and possibly as many as eight, regular (fall or spring) semesters, depending on the number of full-time semesters completed before the transfer. Students making a transfer should consult with the assistant dean for academic services regarding the number of semesters in residence required to complete the JD degree.

Residence Requirement for Students Transferring to USF

A student who transferred to the USF School of Law with advanced standing after completing course work at another institution must complete not less than 56 units of credit and the remainder of his or her course work in residence at USF. For purposes of this requirement, course work may be taken on campus, in a USF summer abroad program and/or through the Bay Area Consortium.