Degree Requirements/General Graduation Info
General Graduation Information
- No degree will be conferred except on dates publicly announced.
- The student must complete the last two long-session semesters, or their equivalent, in residence in Texas Law at the University of Texas at Austin.
- A candidate for a degree must be registered at the University in the semester in which the degree is to be conferred and must apply to the Dean for the degree by the deadline given in the academic calendar. This date falls about eight weeks before the end of a long-session semester and about four weeks before the end of a summer session.
- Students are encouraged to attend the University’s Commencement and Texas Law’s Sunflower Ceremony, both held each spring. Summer and fall graduates are strongly encouraged to attend the Sunflower Ceremony along with spring graduates.
Graduating under a Particular Catalog
A student may receive a degree at Texas Law by fulfilling either the requirements given in the catalog in effect at the time the student entered the school, or those given in the catalog governing any subsequent year in which the student was in residence in the school. In any case, all the requirements for a degree at Texas Law must be completed no earlier than twenty-four months, and no later than eighty-four months, after a student has commenced study either at Texas Law or a law school from which the school has accepted transfer credit.
Hours Needed for Graduation
|Dual Degrees||Hours Required (Law)|
|JD/MA (LAS)||72 hours|
|JD/MA (Mid East)||74 hours|
|JD/MA (Rus)||86 hours|
|JD/MSCRP||86 hours (6 hours from CRP)|
To confirm that you are on track to complete the number of hours needed for graduation, you may audit your coursework using the online Degree Audit.
Required Courses for JD Degree
Required First-Year Courses:
- Law 421 or 521, Contracts
- Law 423 or 523, Criminal Law I
- Law 427 or 527, Torts
- Law 431 or 531, Property
- Law 332R, Legal Analysis and Communication
- Law 232S, Persuasive Writing and Advocacy
- Law 433 or 533, Civil Procedure
- Law 434 or 534, Constitutional Law I
Required Advanced Courses:
- One of the following:
Law 251K or 351K, Criminal Procedure: Investigation
Law 270M or 370M, Criminal Procedure: Prosecution
Law 370M, 283C or 383C, Criminal Procedure: Bail to Jail (effective Spring 2019)
Law 378R, Capital Punishment (effective Fall 2019)
Law 181C, 281C, 381C, or 481C, Constitutional Law II
- Law 285 or 385, Professional Responsibility
- Law 397S, Law Seminar: Writing
- For JDs matriculating Fall 2008-Spring 2016, one course designated Professional Skills approved by the Dean.
- For JDs matriculating Fall 2016 and later, six (6) hours of Experiential Learning courses approved by the Dean.
- Such other courses as the Dean and faculty of the School of Law may specify.
In addition to the required first-year courses, each first-year student may enroll in one elective course in the spring semester. The elective is not required. Only those courses designated by the instructor as a first-year elective are available. A student seeking to enroll in a three-hour elective must obtain the approval of the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs.
To avoid scholastic difficulty, the student should complete all required work, except the seminar, before the final semester.
To graduate from Texas Law, a student must take and pass during the second or third year at least one three-hour writing seminar (Law 397S). Writing seminars are small classes that emphasize writing and group discussion. Each seminar involves written work by the student that embodies the results of research. Students may take additional writing seminars if the topics vary.
Minimum Course Credit Requirement
To earn a J.D. degree, a law student must take a minimum of 65 credit hours in regularly scheduled law school classes. These classes include seminars, cross-listed courses, and clinics. They do not include internships, DRS offerings, non-law graduate level classes, or undergraduate language classes. Thus, a student may count no more than 21 credit hours of combined credits from internships, DRS offerings, non-law graduate level classes, and undergraduate language classes in order to complete the 86 credit hour requirement for a JD degree.
Undergraduate Degree Deadline
An undergraduate degree must be earned prior to the start of the third year of law school.
Grade Point Average (GPA)
A cumulative grade point average of at least 1.90 is required to graduate.
A graduation application, for diploma purposes, must be completed and submitted to the Student Affairs Office. Texas Law cannot automatically certify a student for graduation even if he/she has completed all requirements. Some students, for reasons of their own, do not wish to graduate even if they are eligible to do so. Therefore, it is essential that this application be filed by the specified deadline (usually mid-March for May graduation and mid-October for December graduation).
This application is not the same as a Texas State Bar card, nor is it the same as the survey required for the Sunflower Ceremony. These are entirely different and are not related to the graduation application for diploma purposes.
Work Completion Date
- All work must be completed before graduation, even if the professor has set a deadline after graduation for the rest of the class. Work must be completed early enough that the professor can grade it and turn in a “pass” before the official end of the semester.
- All directed and clinical research work must be completed during the semester of registration to receive credit. If a passing grade has not been received within five weeks of the last class day of the semester, a grade of “Q” (drop) will automatically be entered on the student’s record. The student must then register and pay for the course again.
- Most faculty members do not have time to grade all exams before the graduation date. Therefore, papers/exams for graduating seniors are separated, and the instructors notify the Student Affairs Office one to three days after the last day of final exams whether the degree candidates in their class pass or fail the course. They are not asked for grades. Grades for graduates are submitted with the grades for the rest of the class. A graduating senior who fails a course is notified promptly by the Student Affairs Office.
- Students in a Dual Degree Program may not receive either degree until all work for both degrees has been completed. Both degrees must be awarded during the same semester.
Graduation with Honors
Effective Spring 2011, graduates of Texas Law who are judged by the faculty to have completed the Doctor of Jurisprudence with scholarly distinction are awarded degrees with honors. In general, honors are awarded solely on the basis of work done at Texas Law. No more than 35 percent of the graduating class may receive honors, high honors, and highest honors; no more than 5 percent may receive high honors and highest honors; and no more than 1 percent may receive highest honors.
It is the policy of Texas Law not to rank its students on the basis of academic standing. The only exception to this policy is the top 10% computed for eligibility for Order of the Coif, but individual students are not ranked.
Order of the Coif
Order of the Coif is computed once each year and includes the graduates from the August, December, and May graduating classes, e.g., Aug. 2010, Dec. 2010, and May 2011. The three classes are combined, and the top 10% are eligible to be invited to join Coif. Computations are done after all grades for the three classes are received, typically in September. The list of names is submitted to the faculty sponsor who will then notify the students.
Diplomas are mailed by The University Registrar’s Office, not Texas Law. Changes of address or name should be reported to the Registrar’s Office at (512) 475-7619. Diplomas will not be released to students with bars on their records at the time of graduation. Note that the diploma will state the official graduation date of the semester in which all requirements for the degree are completed, and the student is certified by the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs as being eligible for graduation. Diplomas cannot be backdated to the last semester of actual attendance in law school.