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1.3 Degree Requirements for LL.M. Graduates Admitted to the J.D. Program

Program of Study

To graduate, the Law School requires any LL.M. graduate admitted to the J.D. program to be in full-time residence for six quarters. Full time residence means students must be registered for nine credit hours per quarter, with no fewer than six Law School credit hours per quarter. Each of those credit hours must be successfully completed (i.e., students must pass and receive credit toward their J.D. degree). Students must complete and pass a minimum of 105 credit hours, including a professional responsibility class, and also must complete two substantial pieces of writing.  Additionally, all J.D. students must complete eight credits of classes designated as meeting the ABA’s experiential learning requirement. 

Students are required to take the traditional first-year offerings, including contracts, torts, property, criminal law, civil procedure, Elements of the Law, and the first year legal research and writing and experiential learning program. In addition, in the spring quarter students must enroll in legislation and statutory interpretation, transactional lawyering, one of the con law choice classes, and  an elective course selected from one of the designated first year offerings listed at my.uchicago.edu.

After completing the traditional first year J.D. curriculum, an LL.M. graduate admitted to the J.D. program also must complete 20 credits in non-clinical Law classes or “core” classes. Core classes are designated each quarter in the online course schedule at http://registrar.uchicago.edu/classes.[1] Credits earned through participation in journals and the Hinton Moot Court Competition count towards the 20 core credit requirement, but cannot count towards the experiential learning requirement. Please note that classes designated as meeting the core requirement that were taken during the LL.M. year will not count towards meeting the core requirement.   

Students who have passed a state bar exam in the United States prior to matriculating in the J.D. program at the Law School may be exempt from certain required classes. Such decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis by the Dean of Students and Deputy Dean depending upon legal coursework completed at the Law School and/or other institutions.

Summary of Degree Requirements for LL.M. Graduates Admitted to the J.D. Program

  • A minimum of 105 total credit hours completed and passed
  • 39 hours of required first year coursework, including one spring elective class[2]
  • 20 core credit hours in the second and third years
  • Students must be in residence, full-time, for six quarters of no fewer than nine credit hours per quarter
  • Two upper level writing projects (WP and SRP)*
  • Successful completion of a class designated as meeting the professional responsibility requirement
  • Successful completion of eight credit hours of coursework designated as meeting the experiential learning requirement pursuant to ABA Standard 303.**

*In some instances, an LL.M. graduate admitted to the J.D. program may transfer a WP from the LL.M. program year, provided that: (1) the paper was submitted in a class that counted towards the WP; and (2) the faculty member certifies that the paper met the WP requirements.  The SRP must be completed during a student’s two years of enrollment as a J.D. student.

**Students will receive two experiential learning credits in the spring of their first year as part of their Legal Research, Writing, and Advocacy course. Heading into their second year, students are strongly encouraged to choose a pathway of courses that will allow them to complete at least six more experiential learning credits by the end of their second year, for a total of 8 experiential learning credits by graduation.  Please note that classes designated as meeting the experiential learning requirement that were taken during the LL.M. year will count towards meeting the experiential learning requirement.   

[1] Faculty members defined as core for purposes of this requirement are permanent faculty at the University of Chicago Law School, Visiting Faculty, Emeriti, members of the Clinical faculty, Professors from Practice, Senior Lecturers at the Law School, tenured University of Chicago professors with permanent offices in the Law School, and Booth faculty teaching in the Doctoroff program. Lecturers in Law will be deemed core only in exceptional circumstances when so designated by the Deputy Dean because they are teaching a foundational course normally reserved for permanent faculty. Bigelow and other Fellows, as well as Lecturers in Law, are excluded in all other circumstances.   

[2] The requirement to take a spring 1L elective class can be waived if an LL.M. graduate admitted to the J.D. program took a course designated a 1L elective during their LL.M. year. Legislation and the Con Law choice classes may also be waived if the student has already taken those classes or classes with substantial overlap.