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4. Degrees

Doctor of Jurisprudence

To qualify for the Doctor of Jurisprudence degree (JD), a student must meet the following requirements:

  1. The student must have completed a period of resident study equivalent to at least three academic years.
  2. The student must have taken (and, if failed, repeated once) all courses required by the faculty of the School of Law at the time of the student's initial enrollment, except those that have been removed from the list of required courses since the student's initial enrollment. The student must pass at least one seminar as described in the section "Seminars" below.
  3. Eighty-six semester hours are required for graduation. With the permission of the dean, a student may enroll in a course in another school or college of the University. To count toward graduation from the School of Law, the course must be related to a course of study offered in the School of Law. If the course is in a foreign language, it may be either undergraduate or graduate; in all other fields, only graduate courses may be counted. (Except in the College of Pharmacy and the School of Law, graduate courses at the University are identified by numbers with "8" or "9" as the second digit.) No more than twelve semester hours of such work may be counted.
  4. Students who complete undergraduate foreign language courses may apply one credit hour toward the JD degree per two and a half credit hours earned.
  5. The student must have a grade point average of at least 1.90 on all work taken in the School of Law.

Curriculum

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 132, Legal Research and Legal Writing, taken once in the fall and once in the spring
  • 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 181C, 281C, 381C, or 481C, Constitutional Law II
  • Law 285 or 385, Professional Responsibility
  • Law 397S, Law Seminar: Writing
  • One course from a list of professional skills courses approved each year by the dean.[1]
  • 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 must take one elective. Elective courses that are open to first-year students are identified in the course schedule published each semester by the School of Law.

To avoid scholastic difficulty, the student should complete all required work except the seminar before the final semester.

Seminars

To graduate from the School of Law, a student must take and pass during the second or third year at least one three-semester-hour writing seminar (Law 397S). Writing seminars are small classes that emphasize writing and group discussion. Each writing seminar involves written work by the student that embodies the results of research. Students may take additional writing seminars if space is available.

Master of Laws

The degree of Master of Laws (LLM) is awarded to students who have completed a rigorous program of coursework and research. The program leading to the degree is designed for students of high ability seeking academic work beyond the Doctor of Jurisprudence degree or its equivalent. Information about the graduate program and application forms are available from the Director of Graduate Studies, School of Law, The University of Texas at Austin, 727 East Dean Keeton Street, Austin TX 78705-3299, e-mail llm@law.utexas.edu.

The School of Law and the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies offer a curriculum in Latin American and international law for the Master of Laws degree. The one-year program takes advantage of the unique faculty talents and course offerings of the University to add a special focus to the LLM program. It is designed for highly qualified legal practitioners and scholars from both the United States and abroad who seek to increase their understanding of the transnational legal environment in the Americas. The curriculum addresses such matters as international trade and investment, international human rights, international environmental law, legal problems of the United States–Mexico border region, and specific legal regimes of Mexico and other Latin American states.

Admission to Candidacy

Applicants are considered for admission to candidacy for the degree by the Graduate Studies Committee of the School of Law. Complete applications must be submitted by February 1 prior to the fall semester in which the applicant seeks to begin the program. Generally, candidates are admitted for the fall semester only.

  1. The applicant must have earned a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree or its equivalent from a school that is a member of the Association of American Law Schools and is approved by the American Bar Association, or have earned a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree or its equivalent from an established university outside the United States.
  2. The applicant must demonstrate outstanding ability to complete the requirements for the degree.
  3. An applicant whose native language is not English and who graduated from a law school in a country whose official language is not English must present a satisfactory score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). This test is administered by the Educational Testing Service in the United States and other countries. Information about it is available from TOEFL Services, P O Box 6151, Princeton NJ 08541-6151.

Degree Requirements

For each candidate, a specific program of coursework and research is developed to meet degree requirements and the candidate's needs and interests. The program must include

  1. Residence during one academic year, consisting of two long-session semesters. The residence requirement of two long-session semesters cannot be reduced by coursework taken in residence during the summer session.
  2. Completion of a program of work in the School of Law and other divisions of the University that includes at least twenty-four semester hours of coursework, including a substantial paper. This program must be approved by the Graduate Studies Committee.
  3. The paper must make a substantial contribution to the literature of the chosen subject area and must be approved by the Graduate Studies Committee.

Candidates must maintain a grade point average of at least 1.80 to continue in the program and must have an average of at least 1.90 at the end of the final semester to receive an LLM degree. They must complete the Master of Laws degree requirements within one calendar year of beginning graduate law study at the University unless, in unusual circumstances, the Graduate Studies Committee grants an extension.

The University also has approval to offer the degree of Master of Comparative Jurisprudence, but this degree program is inactive.

Dual Programs

Together with other units of the University, the School of Law offers dual degree programs that lead simultaneously to the JD and the following degrees. To be admitted into any of the dual degree programs, a student must apply to, and be accepted by, both programs independently. Then he or she must apply to the dual program. Admission to both programs does not guarantee admission to the dual program. Information about admission to nonlaw graduate programs is published by the Office of Graduate Studies.

Master of Business Administration. This program is designed to train qualified students for careers in business or the legal profession or both. Students must complete at least 134 semester hours of coursework to earn the two degrees. Generally, the first year of coursework is taken entirely in the School of Law and the second year is taken entirely in the Red McCombs School of Business.

Master of Public Affairs. This program is designed to train qualified students for careers at any level of government and in government-related areas of the private sector or the legal profession. Students register in one school during year I of the program and in the other during year II; in years III and IV the student may take courses in both schools.

Master of Arts with a major in Latin American studies. This program is designed for students who wish to study law and Latin American issues in an integrated and interdisciplinary manner. Generally, a student with the requisite language background can obtain both degrees in eight semesters. A student admitted to the dual program must complete the normal first-year coursework in the law school during the first year of the program, before taking any courses in the dual program.

Master of Science in Community and Regional Planning. This four-year program is designed to train students for careers in which knowledge of planning methodology and process, coupled with the analytic skills and professional expertise of lawyers, are essential. Students register in the School of Law during the first year of the program.

Master of Arts with a major in Russian, East European, and Eurasian studies. This program combines study of law with interdisciplinary area studies and language study. It responds to an increased need in both public and private sectors for legal specialists with a thorough understanding of the culture, economics, geography, history, and politics of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. This program takes approximately four years; the first year must be taken in the School of Law.

Master of Arts with a major in Middle Eastern studies. This program responds to the increased need in both public and private sectors for legal specialists with a thorough understanding of the economics, geography, history, politics, language, and culture of the Middle East and North Africa.

Combined JD/PhD Programs

The School of Law and the Graduate School offer programs leading to the Doctor of Jurisprudence and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) with a major in government or philosophy. These programs are designed to prepare students for academic careers in law or the cognate discipline or both. By counting law courses toward the PhD and courses in the cognate discipline toward the JD, students can save up to a year of coursework. The law school also provides financial aid to students at the dissertation stage of the program. More information on the JD/PhD in government is available at (512) 471-5121; and information on the JD/PhD in philosophy is available online.

Graduate Portfolio Programs

The goal of graduate portfolio programs is to recognize and encourage cross-disciplinary research and scholarly activity. A portfolio program usually consists of four thematically related graduate courses and a research paper, presentation, or practical experience. The portfolio must include courses offered by at least two graduate programs other than the student's major program. Portfolio programs are approved by the Graduate School. Although the certification requirements of each program are independent of the requirements for graduate degrees, courses counted toward the degree may, with appropriate approval, be counted toward certification. Upon completion of both degree and portfolio program requirements, the student's University record reflects portfolio certification.

Programs are available in the following areas. More information about graduate portfolio programs is available from the Office of Graduate Studies.

  • African and African American studies
  • Cellular and molecular imaging for diagnostics and therapeutics
  • Communication, information, and cultural policy
  • Cultural studies
  • Dispute resolution
  • Gerontology
  • Imaging science
  • Indigenous studies
  • Integrated watershed science
  • Interdisciplinary European studies
  • Mexican American studies
  • Museum studies
  • Nanoscience and nanotechnology
  • Nonprofit studies
  • Societal impacts of science and technology
  • The study of religion
  • Sustainability
  • Women's and gender studies

1. This degree requirement was approved after the 2008-2010 law school catalog was published.

Law School Catalog, 2008-2010

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