Greetings from the Office of Academic Services! Below you will find the J.D. degree requirements. For a more detailed explanation of degree requirements and registration information please read the Academic Regulations and Requirements Guide and Year-Long Registration Guide.


Please note that you are responsible for making sure that you fulfill each of these requirements prior to graduation. The Offices of Records and Registration and Academic Services are not able to monitor the transcripts and the curricular choices of every student. Especially prior to registration for your final term, review these requirements to ensure that you will have satisfied all of them. It is of course highly advisable to have the requirements in mind as you make your course selections each term. If you have any questions about the requirements, you should consult an advisor in the Office of Academic Services.

Full-Time Status

The Law School maintains no part-time program in the J.D. Division. Candidates for the J.D. degree are required to register for a full-time program, 12 credits minimum, unless permission of the Vice Dean or the Executive Committee (a joint committee of law professors, students and administrators) is secured. Such permission will be considered only for reasons of health,family-care responsibilities or other unusual cases of personal hardship.

Additionally, students may take no more than fifteen credit hours per semester, except by advance permission (through a Credit Load Permission Form) of the Office of Academic Services, the Vice Dean, or the Executive Committee, once the bidding cycles are completed.


Refer to the following chart to determine your J.D. graduation requirements. You are encouraged to use the Degree Progress Checklist as a guide to meet your requirements (see form at

Number of Credits to Graduate First Year Curriculum Upperclass Required Courses Writing Requirements
  • Legislation and Regulatory State
  • Contracts
  • Criminal
  • Lawyering
  • Procedure
  • Torts
  • First Year Elective*

Constitutional Law**
Property** (New as of 2014 must be taken anytime before graduation)

Professional Responsibility

(Courses which satisfy the Professional Responsibility requirement appear under the course topic “Professional
Responsibility” in the
Schedule of Classes, unless otherwise noted.)

One Substantial Writing may be satisfied by writing a paper in connection with a seminar or through Directed Research.

*First-year elective: Constitutional Law, Corporations, Income Taxation, International Law, Property
(Note: Not all courses listed are offered each year)

**Constitutional Law or Property: If taken as a first-year elective, the requirement for that specific class is satisfied. (These two classes must be taken prior to graduation.)

Additional Note on Property: While you have the option to take Property in your third year, we do hope that many of you will continue to take the class in your second year. The faculty still feel that it is an important foundational class for many upper level courses across areas of study. Property, like Constitutional Law, may be a prerequisite for some upper-level courses that you wish to take. As such, we encourage you to consult with faculty regarding why it may be more advantageous to take Property (or even Constitutional Law) early in your law school career/studies

Number of Credits Required for JD degree:
Students must earn at least 83 credits for the JD degree. The following credit restrictions apply.


Credit/Fail Courses: Students may elect to take up to two courses on a credit/fail basis. Lawyering, Teaching Assistant, Journal, Moot Court and Marden credits do not count towards this cap. For a list of courses offering a credit/fail option please see or refer to the course descriptions of specific courses.

Adjunct Faculty Courses (8 Credit Cap): Applicable through September 2016 Graduation

In computing and completing the 83 credits that count toward graduation, students may not count more than a total of eight credits (in their second and third years combined) in courses taught by certain adjunct faculty. Adjunct courses included in this cap are indicated with an “A” footnote in the Schedule of Classes. Not all adjuncts taught courses are counted toward the maximum cap of eight adjunct credits. Directed Research, writing credits, and non-law courses taught by adjunct faculty counts towards the adjunct cap. It is your responsibility to comply with this limit. If you take more than eight credits in this category, only eight credits can count toward graduation requirements, you will have to compensate by taking additional course credits.

In exceptional circumstances, when a student is unable to take an adjunct-taught course because it is not exempt from the adjunct cap and the student would thereby exceed the adjunct cap, the vice dean, can waive the adjunct cap for that student for that course, provided that no more than 4 additional credit counting towards the J.D. degree may be added in this way.

NEW:  For the class graduating in January 2017 and thereafter the Adjunct Credit rule will change.  First–year and Second-year students should use the information recently emailed about changes to the adjunct rules to plan their schedules. Degree audit will be updated for 1Ls and 2Ls shortly to reflect these new adjunct credit rules. 


Clinical Courses and Fieldwork (30 Credit Cap):

For J.D. candidates, the total number of credit hours granted for law school clinical courses, field placement programs and externships, including classroom components, may not exceed 30 of the 83 credit hours required for graduation.

Additionally, Of the 83 credits for graduation no more than 19 credits may be earned in “non-classroom” activities, which include some clinics and externships. In determining whether credits earned in a clinic or externship are subject to the 19-credit maximum for “non-classroom credits,” the following rules apply:

(1) Credits earned in the seminar component of a clinic or externship are treated like any other seminar and thus do not count against the 19-credit maximum for “non-classroom credits.”

(2) Credits earned in the fieldwork component of an externship are “non-classroom credits” for purposes of the 19-credit maximum for non-classroom credits.

(3) Credits earned in the fieldwork component of a clinic qualify as in-class credits and do not count against the 19-credit maximum for “non-classroom credits” if (a) the clinic’s fieldwork involves actual clients and includes opportunities to advise or represent a client and (b) a full-time or adjunct faculty member directly supervises the fieldwork.  If the fieldwork does not satisfy these criteria, then credits earned in the fieldwork count against the 19-credit maximum for non-classroom credits.


Of the 83 credits for graduation no more than 19 credits may be earned in non-classroom activities which include the following:

Course Type Credit Maximum For Each Category
Clinical Fieldwork if Clinical Courses and Fieldwork items 3(a) and 3(b) are not satisfied. (see courses with an “NCF” footnote in the Schedule of Classes.) Counts towards the 30 credits of clinic seminars, fieldwork, and externship components.
Directed Research/Fellowship (two semesters)


Journals/Moot Court Boards (2 credits for certain 3L editorial work)


Marden Competition ( 1 credit per semester)


Non-Law Graduate Credits (which are not cross-listed) counted towards the J.D.


Teaching Assistantships


NOTE: *If you take more than 19 non-classroom credits, you will have to compensate by taking additional classroom credits.


Of the 83 credits for graduation at least 64 credits must be earned in regularly scheduled class sessions at the Law School which includes the following:

Course Type Credit Cap
Law School courses and seminars N/A
Law School courses and seminars that are cross-listed between the Law School and other units of NYU when the student is registered under the Law School class number N/A
Seminar portion of a clinic (i.e Clinical Seminars) Counts towards the 30 credits of clinic seminars, fieldwork, and externship components.
Clinical fieldwork if Clinical Courses and Fieldwork items 3(a) and 3(b) are satisfied. Counts towards the 30 credits of clinic seminars, fieldwork, and externship components.