The University of Texas at Austin School of Law (Texas Law) has joined with the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) to provide an opportunity for a cohort of selected student to earn both the Juris Doctor degree (J.D.) from Texas Law and the Licenciatura en Derecho from ITAM. The aim of the program is to train lawyers to be well qualified to practice law on an international level. The program offers a complete course of study in both legal systems, affording students a high level of preparation for the transnational practice of law. Graduates from both schools will be eligible, from the academic point of view, to sit for the bar examination in any U.S. jurisdiction and would be eligible, from an academic point of view , to file a license before the Mexican Ministry of Education in order to be admitted to practice law in Mexico.
Texas Law students can earn their J.D. in conjunction with the Licenciatura en Derecho in a total of four to five years. Students spend their 3L year, plus another one to one and a half years, studying at ITAM and are eligible to receive the degree from ITAM upon successfully completing the foreign degree requirements. Successful completion of the Licenciado en Derecho allows students to practice law in Mexico. Students submit the credits earned during their 3L year to the Graduate & International Programs Office for credit conversion toward the completion of their J.D. degree at the end of the 3L year.
The application process is competitive. Any questions about the program or the application process should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For students who begin their studies at Texas Law, the process works as follows:
Students apply to Texas Law through the regular admissions process. After beginning their studies at Texas Law, interested students apply in late spring of their 1L year to participate in the Program their 3L year. The application must include a résumé, a transcript, description of educational background, objectives for participating in the Program, and a recommendation letter from a Texas Law faculty member. Interviews and/or written examinations to determine fluency and appropriateness for the Program may be conducted. Selections will be announced before the start of students’ second academic year to allow proper planning and preparation.
Once accepted into the Program, Texas Law students submit an individual application to ITAM. That application will include a copy of high school transcripts as well as the LSAT results that were filed when admitted to Texas Law. If accepted by ITAM, students complete their second academic year at Texas Law, taking all their required courses, and then are allowed to start taking courses at ITAM during the 3L year as an exchange student.
Students who participate in the Texas Law-ITAM Program are expected to be fluent in both English and Spanish and must be able to express themselves orally and in writing in both languages at a graduate level. Although no Spanish language proficiency exam is required for the ITAM application, all applicants must be proficient in the Spanish Language, both written and orally. Classes and exams will be held in Spanish.
All students who participate in the Program spend a minimum of two full academic years in residence at Texas Law. Students spend their first two years of the Program at Texas Law, spend their third year at ITAM as an exchange student (and complete their J.D. degree), and then spend an additional two semesters and one summer of study in Mexico.
Degree Requirements & Academic Policies
The JD degree requires 86 credits, including a number of required courses. Some of the requirements are normally taken in the first year of law school, and some are normally taken in the second and third years. All required courses much be completed before beginning the 3L year at ITAM.
A “Licenciatura en Derecho” degree requires a minimum of 375 ITAM units of credit. Some of these credits correspond to non-legal content subject. Another requirement for all students pursuing a Licenciatura degree is to serve a total of 480 hours of social work. Social work must be done in no less than 4 months and no more than 12 months. The social work can be served within ITAM or in a public institution. In addition, all ITAM´s law students must write a dissertation thesis and defend it in an oral examination before a committee composed of three lawyers.
Students who begin their studies at Texas Law complete the regular first year of law school as an intact unit in a regular academic year sequence (30 units of credit). In the second year of study, students in the Program must complete at least 28 units of credit, including all courses required for graduation: Professional Responsibility (2 or 3 credits), Constitutional Law II (3 credits), a writing seminar (3 credits), and a course satisfying the experiential requirement ( 3 credits). The remaining units are elective. At the end of two years of study at Texas Law, students must have completed a minimum of 58 units of credit.
Students accepted into the Program must have their 2L course schedules approved by the Program Coordinator. The Coordinator works with each student to design an appropriate program for the second year of study and to plan ahead for the time of study at ITAM.
For the study completed at Texas Law, ITAM will award 179 ITAM units of credit. Students studying at ITAM will be required to take 196 ITAM unit credits from legal courses. These 196 ITAM units of credit, combined with the 179 units of credit awarded to students for their two years of study at Texas Law, meet the 375 ITAM units of credit requirement to earn a Licenciatura en Derecho degree.
Texas Law accepts up to 28 units of credit for study completed as an exchange student at ITAM during the 3L year. These 28 units of credit, combined with the 58 credits earned during the first two years, constitute the 86 credits required to earn the JD degree from Texas Law after their 3L year.
During the two years of enrollment at Texas Law and the third year enrolled at ITAM, students make Texas Law tuition payments directly to Texas Law. During the subsequent year(s) at ITAM, students will make tuition payments directly to ITAM.
Texas Law students studying in Mexico will need to obtain a visa. Students will work directly with the ITAM coordinator to obtain the required paperwork needed for the visa appointment.
Texas Law students studying at ITAM are eligible to take the bar after their third year. However, because of the timing of the incoming transcripts and requirements of degree certification, students will have to take the February bar exam.
Rules & Regulations
Students in the program are subject to the academic rules, policies, and regulations of their home and host universities, to all program guidelines, and to the laws of their home and host countries.
For students beginning their studies at ITAM, who are interested in applying for the J.D. program through the Texas Law/ITAM Degree Program, please see more information.