Academic Progress and Graduation

University Policy

School of Law Policy

Please check the JD Handbook for the most up-to-date information, as this policy was up for review after publication of the 2016–2017 Bulletin.

Excerpt from Article I of 2016/2017 Academic Regulations

Requirements for the Degree of Juris Doctor

1.    Juris Doctor degree. Boston University confers the degree of Juris Doctor (hereinafter, “JD”) upon candidates recommended by the Faculty of the School of Law and approved by the President and Trustees of the University.

2.    Requirements. All candidates for the JD degree must:

a. Pursue legal study through an ABA/AALS-approved law school for at least three academic years or the equivalent. Unless the Dean or the Dean’s designate has permitted otherwise, at least two years of this study must have been completed in residence at Boston University School of Law (hereinafter “BU Law” or “the School”).
b. Pass all first-year courses, the first-year seminar, and the first-year moot court program.
c. Take at least 26 credits in each year and 12 credits in each semester, except as otherwise permitted by the Dean or the Dean’s designate.
d. Satisfy the upper-class writing requirement, the professional responsibility requirement, and the professional skills requirement. Beginning with the Class of 2019, no single course can be used to fulfill more than one of the degree requirements listed in 2(d). Also, beginning with the Class of 2019 and thereafter, the professional skills requirement will be consist of a minimum of 6 credits of experiential courses.
e. Complete Business Fundamentals (effective for the Class of 2017 and thereafter).
f. Complete the 1L Lawyering Lab (effective for the Class of 2017 and thereafter).
g. Earn at least 85 passing credits (effective for the Class of 2017 and thereafter) or (for the Class of 2016) at least 84 passing credits.
h. Fail not more than five credits in courses and seminars taken during the second and third years.
i. Earn a final average of at least 2.3.
j. (1) Complete the JD program in no more than five years from its commencement (including any leaves of absence) and (2) take at least 10 credits in each of at least four semesters. Requirements (1) and (2) of this paragraph are fundamental requirements of the JD program. This paragraph does not affect the requirement, stated in paragraph (c) above, that a student who seeks to take fewer than 12 credits in any semester, or fewer than 26 credits in any year, must obtain permission from the Dean or the Dean’s designate.

Note: Satisfying the BU Law graduation requirements does not necessarily insure that a student has satisfied the requirements for the bar examination for any given state. Students should check the bar examination requirements of the states where the student may wish to sit for the bar examination to make certain that the student is satisfying those state’s requirements. In addition to a bar examination, there are character, fitness, and other qualifications for admission to the bar in every US jurisdiction. Applicants are encouraged to determine the requirements for any jurisdiction in which they intend to seek admission by contacting the jurisdiction. Addresses for all relevant agencies are available through the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

3. Honors. The JD degree with honors, including cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude, will be awarded on the basis of cumulative average. Any student graduating with an average in the top one-third of the class shall receive a degree cum laude, and any student graduating with an average in the top 10% of the class shall receive a degree magna cum laude. The Registrar shall present to the Faculty the names and averages of any students graduating with an average in the top 1% of the class, so that the Faculty may consider whether to award any such students degrees summa cum laude. All policies concerning honors may be changed by vote of the Faculty, and such changes are binding on all who have not yet received their degrees.

Graduation Requirements Worksheets are also available online.