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What Are the Different Types of Law Degree Requirements?

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

Achieving a graduate level law degree requires dedication, hard work, and the completion of all law degree requirements. Though exact law degree requirements may vary by school and type of degree sought, many law schools feature similar prerequisites and mandated coursework. In addition to attending and passing courses, law students may also be required to complete a thesis for review, as well as complete a set number of internship or community service hours.

The main prerequisites for most law schools include adequate scores on admission or standardized examinations, and possession of a four-year undergraduate degree. Students planning to attend law school often begin studying for law examinations up to a year in advance of graduating, in order to properly prepare for these rigorous tests. Holding a four-year degree from an undergraduate university may also be necessary to attend law school, though the degree need not be in a law-related subject.

Passing course requirements is only one part of obtaining a law degree.
Passing course requirements is only one part of obtaining a law degree.

Once admitted to law school, students must pay close attention to coursework-based law degree requirements. Schools often require students to take many general or introductory classes in their first year, followed by increasingly specialized courses over the next two years. In each class, students may be graded on participation and performance on tests, as well as oral and written work. In order to receive a degree, students must satisfactorily pass all courses mandated by law degree requirements.

School award the Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree upon completion of all requirements.
School award the Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree upon completion of all requirements.

Many law schools require students to prepare and defend a thesis paper or project before awarding a degree. Work on a thesis may take many months, and involve deep research, analytical writing, and the preparation of a unique, logical argument. In some law schools, students must defend their thesis in front of faculty members, using their accumulated knowledge to create a strong case for their subject. If faculty members feel that the student has represented him or herself well, they can approve the student for graduation. Since the thesis process is critical to many law degree programs, it is well worth investigating the procedure at each potential school.

A career in law requires an extensive education.
A career in law requires an extensive education.

Law degree requirements often include a practical element which requires the student to work in the legal community. Students may be hired as interns at law firms, legal aid societies, or through local court systems. Each student may have to complete a certain number of hours to meet these law degree requirements, and may need to write papers or summaries of their experience. Practical degree requirements are an excellent way for aspiring legal professionals to make contacts and gain experiences in the real world of law. Some students may even discover a passion for a specific career through their experiences with internships.

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica is passionate about drama and film. She has many other interests, and enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics in her role as a writer.

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica is passionate about drama and film. She has many other interests, and enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics in her role as a writer.

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    • Passing course requirements is only one part of obtaining a law degree.
      By: -Marcus-
      Passing course requirements is only one part of obtaining a law degree.
    • School award the Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree upon completion of all requirements.
      By: Lane Erickson
      School award the Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree upon completion of all requirements.
    • A career in law requires an extensive education.
      By: Sebastian Duda
      A career in law requires an extensive education.