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Juris Doctor Programs


MSU College of Law was fully accredited by the American Bar Association in 1941 and has been a member of the Association of American Law Schools since 1946.

The Academic Program

The MSU College of Law legal education program is designed to prepare you for the practice of law in real-world settings. The rigorous and intellectually challenging curriculum provides a thorough education in all principle areas of law and practice and is revised periodically. Of the 88 credit hours needed to graduate with a Juris Doctor (JD) degree, 40 credit hours are required courses.

In addition to the required courses, students must take a course that satisfies an upper-level writing requirement and a professional skills requirement, which can be completed anytime after the student has successfully completed 29 credit hours.

Students may use a portion of their 44 elective credits to pursue a focus area or fulfill the requirements for a certificate program or to gain a more generalized legal education.

The American Bar Association (ABA) sets requirements for the study of law at all of the law schools it has accredited. The residency requirement states that students must attend classes a prescribed number of days and weeks. The general requirement for students attending law school is that they spend a minimum of 24 months and no longer than 84 months earning a degree.

Full-time Program

Our full-time program is designed for students who can devote most of their time to the study of law. By definition, a full-time student does not hold employment that requires the student to work more than 20 hours a week. Classes are held at varying times between 8 a.m. and 9:45 p.m., Monday through Friday, and a normal course load is 14 to 16 hours per semester. Based on our current curriculum, students can complete their law degree in three years, or six full semesters, exclusive of summer school.

Part-time Day Option

Our part-time day option offers is a flexible alternative to our full-time program. Students who elect this option can customize their schedules to fit their needs. Some people who pursue this option either work more than 20 hours per week or have other commitments that are not conducive for full-time study.

Summer Session

Both full- and part-time students may enroll in a seven-week summer session. Since most summer program courses require prior legal education, students who have not completed the first-year curriculum may be limited in their course selection because they may not satisfy course prerequisites.

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