Academic Programs Catalog

College of Law

Juris Doctor

Juris Doctor


Admission to the J.D. program is based on the following:

  1. applicant's academic record;
  2. applicant's Law School Admission Test (LSAT) score;
  3. applicant's professional accomplishments; and
  4. recommendations from persons with knowledge of the applicant’s capability to participate in a rigorous professional-level academic program.
The admissions process identifies individuals who have the potential to excel in their legal studies and the practice of law. In order to be considered for fall-term admission, an applicant must:
  1. possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university prior to enrollment;
  2. create an account with the Law School Admission Council (LSAC), register for and complete the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), and sign up for the Credential Assembly Service;
  3. provide an official transcript to the LSAC for each undergraduate and graduate institution attended;
  4. submit two letters of recommendation or evaluations to the LSAC (up to four letters/evaluations will be accepted);
  5. submit an application fee (contact the Michigan State University College of Law Office of Admissions to request a fee waiver if you are unable, for financial reasons, to provide this fee;
  6. submit a resume of up to two pages;
  7. submit a personal statement of up to three pages;
  8. submit a supplemental statement if you respond in the affirmative to any questions in the Character and Fitness section of the application.
An applicant file will not be reviewed until all materials are received by the Michigan State University College of Law Office of Admissions and are reviewed on a “rolling” basis.

Of the 88 credit hours needed to graduate with a Juris Doctor (JD) degree, required courses consist of the following:
1. All of the following courses:
LAW 500F Criminal Law 3
LAW 500Q Professional Responsibility 3
LAW 500G Property 4
LAW 500R Torts I 4
LAW 530A Civil Procedure 4
LAW 530B Contracts 4
LAW 530J Advocacy 2
LAW 530K Foundations of Law 0
LAW 530S Constitutional Law and the Regulatory State 4
2. One of the following courses:
LAW 530D Research, Writing and Analysis 3
LAW 530E Research, Writing and Analysis: Intellectual Property Perspective 3
LAW 530N Research, Writing, and Analysis: Criminal Law Perspective 3
LAW 530Q Research, Writing and Analysis: Social Justice Perspectives 3
3. At least five of the following courses:
LAW 500M Business Enterprises  3 or 4
LAW  500N  Constitutional Law II  4
LAW  500P  Evidence  3 or 4
LAW 501K  Basic Income Taxation   2
LAW  501D  Trusts and Estates  3 to 4
LAW  501E  Secured Transactions  2
LAW  501F  Sales and Leases  3
LAW  501J  Secured Transactions and Practice  3
LAW  501M  Commercial Transactions Survey  3
LAW  525 Torts II  2 or 3
LAW  532 Administrative Law  2 or 3
LAW  550A Topics in Conflict of Laws  3
LAW  593D  Remedies  2 to 3
LAW  616B  Criminal Procedure: Investigation  3
LAW  616C  Criminal Procedure: Adjudication  3

A student who completed the first-year curriculum with a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.50 may apply to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for a waiver of this requirement. The student must submit the application prior to completing 60 credits. In addition to the required courses, students must complete at least 6 credits in an experiential course and a paper that satisfies an upper-level writing requirement. A minimum 2.0 cumulative grade-point average must be earned to satisfy degree requirements.

Students take elective courses to gain a more generalized legal education, which may be used to fulfill the requirements for a certificate or concentration program. Complete information about concentrations can be found by visiting The following concentrations are available:
Indigenous Law
(1) The following course:
LAW 635B Federal Law and Indian Tribes 3
(2) Two of the following courses (4 or 5 credits):
LAW 635A Advanced Topics in Indian Law 2
LAW 635D American Indian Children and the Law 2
LAW 635E Tribal Law 3
LAW 635F Gaming Law 2
LAW 635G Global Perspectives on Indigenous People 2
Additional courses may be used to fulfill this requirement with prior approval by the Director of the Indigenous Law and Policy Center
(3) Two of the following courses (5 to 7 credits):
LAW 501D Trusts and Estates 3 or 4
LAW 532 Administrative Law 3
LAW 541F Family Law: Child, Family and the State 3
LAW 566A Environmental Law 3
LAW 566C Natural Resource Law 2
LAW 579G Federal Jurisdiction 3
LAW 616B Criminal Procedure: Investigation 3
(4) Complete the Indian Law Clinic I (LAW 631J) course or an externship with a tribal government (legal department, court or government office), state or federal  government unit that focuses on Indian Law issues, or a non-profit or non-governmental organization involved in Indian law issues. The externship must be approved by the Associate Dean of Experiential Education and the Director of the Indigenous Law and Policy Center.
(5) Complete a substantial research paper on a topic relating to Indigenous law issues. The paper must meet the law school’s ULWR, whether or not it is actually used to satisfy the ULWR. This requirement can be satisfied through the following:
(a) Course from the list of Indigenous Law Certificate Program required courses listed on the course schedule with a "U" for ULWR, or 
(b) Directed Study (LAW 624), or paper for another course with the approval of the Director of the Indigenous Law and Policy Center following the supervising professor’s approval for the Directed Study course or paper.
Trial Practice
One of the following courses:
LAW 616B Criminal Procedure: Investigation 3
LAW 616C Criminal Procedure: Adjudication 3
All of the following courses:
LAW 500P Evidence 3
LAW 623B Trial Practice Institute: Pretrial I  3
LAW 623C Trial Practice Institute : Pretrial II 2
LAW 623D Trial Practice Institute : Trial I 3
LAW 623E Trial Practice Institute : Trial II 3
LAW 623M Trial Practice Institute: Trial Presentation 2
LAW 623N Trial Practice Institute: Scientific Evidence and Legal Technology 3
Students in the Trial Practice concentration may not receive credit towards the requirements of the Juris Doctor degree for the following courses: Law 587B, 587C, 590A, 591A, 617A, and 617B. The content of these courses are duplicate of the content of courses required for the Trial Practice concentration.