Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.D.)

Degree Requirements

To graduate with a Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.D.) degree from IU McKinney Law, you must satisfy the following requirements. You’ll receive a Student Handbook that outlines these requirements in detail before you begin classes at the law school. 

In brief, to receive a J.D., you must:

  1. Complete 90 credit hours
  2. Maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.3 on a 4.0 scale
  3. Complete all curricular requirements
  4. Complete a substantial research paper
  5. Complete the equivalent of six semesters of full-time resident study or eight semesters of part-time resident study
  6. Complete all of these degree requirements within 84 months of matriculation

Bar requirements

Once you complete these degree requirements, you can be certified as eligible for the bar examination in the state in which you intend to practice. 

The bar requirements of most states include character and fitness qualifications. Information supplied on your law school application is relevant to those qualifications and is considered by the law school in its certification of your eligibility for admission to the bar. If you have any doubts about meeting bar requirements, you should contact the board of bar examiners of the appropriate state for specific information.

Curricular requirements

To graduate, the following courses are required:

  • Civil Procedure I and II
  • Contracts and Sales I and II
  • Criminal Law
  • Property
  • Torts
  • Constitutional Law
  • Legal Analysis, Research, and Communication I and II
  • Professional Responsibility

After completing all basic required courses, you must enroll in and complete one of the following skills courses:

  • Litigation Drafting
  • Contract Drafting
  • Lawyering Practice
  • Appellate Clinic
  • Civil Practice Clinic
  • Criminal Defense Clinic
  • Disability Clinic
  • Wrongful Conviction Clinic
  • Advanced Legal Research
  • Advanced Persuasive Writing and Oral Advocacy
  • Interviewing and Counseling
  • Public Policy Mediation within State Government
  • Trial Practice

If you are a full-time day student, you are required to register for the full load of 31 credit hours in your first two semesters and complete all basic-level required courses before registering for advanced courses. 

If you’re enrolled in the part-time division and are attending evening classes you may, in your second year, take upper-level courses while completing the required first-year offerings.

All students must complete an advanced research and writing requirement. You can satisfy this requirement through a paper written for Supervised Research, a paper written in a course or seminar, or a paper written for one of the school’s three law reviews. 

The Student Handbook contains details concerning the advanced research and writing requirement. 

Curricular recommendations

In addition to the required courses, McKinney Law faculty recommend you take a variety of elective classes to ensure you have the depth and breadth of knowledge lawyers need to succeed. 

Curricular recommendations include:

  • Administrative Law
  • Closely Held Business Organizations
  • Criminal Procedure: Investigations
  • Evidence
  • Family Law
  • Income Tax
  • Trusts and Estates

You should also take at least one advanced elective course in each of the following five subject areas:

  • Commercial law
  • Constitutional law
  • Federal statutory law
  • Property
  • Torts

The elective courses above are considered part of the law school core curriculum and should be taken at the earliest opportunity. 

Similarly, many advanced-level courses carry prerequisites, and students are encouraged to enroll in the prerequisite courses early to enhance scheduling opportunities.

Limits on class credits

Limits exist on the number of credits attainable in clinics, law reviews, and other activities. Consult the Student Handbook and the Office of Student Affairs for a complete list and explanation of these limits.

Summer J.D. classes

Each summer the faculty offer selected required and elective courses. You can accelerate your studies by attending summer sessions. If you’re in the part-time division, you must attend three summer sessions to complete degree requirements in four calendar years. 

Learn more about the courses offered at McKinney Law or contact us for more information.