The University of Texas at Austin   School of Law

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General Graduation Information

  1. No degree will be conferred except on dates publicly announced.
  2. The student must complete the last two long-session semesters, or their equivalent, in residence in the School of Law of the University of Texas at Austin.
  3. A candidate for a degree must be registered at the University in the semester in which the degree is to be conferred and must apply to the Dean for the degree by the deadline given in the academic calendar. This date falls about eight weeks before the end of a long-session semester and about four weeks before the end of a summer session.
  4. Students are encouraged to attend the University's Commencement and the Law School's Sunflower Ceremony, both held each spring. Summer and fall graduates are strongly encouraged to attend the Sunflower Ceremony along with spring graduates.


Graduating under a Particular Catalog

A student may receive a degree in the School of Law by fulfilling either the requirements given in the catalog in effect at the time he or she entered the school or those given in the catalog governing any subsequent year in which he or she was in residence in the school. In any case, however, all the requirements for a degree in the School of Law must be completed no earlier than twenty-four months and no later than eighty-four months after a student has commenced law study at the law school or a law school from which the school has accepted transfer credit.


Hours Needed for Graduation

Degree Hours Required
JD 86 hours
LLM 24 hours

Dual Degrees Hours Required (Law)
JD/MPA 70 hours
JD/MGPS 70 hours
JD/MBA 70 hours
JD/MA (LAS) 72 hours
JD/MSSW 74 hours
JD/MA (Rus) 86 hours
JD/MA (Mid East) 86 hours
JD/MSCRP 86 hours (6 hours from CRP)

To confirm that you are on track to complete the number of hours needed for graduation, you may request a free audit in the Student Affairs Office.

Required Courses for JD Degree

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 232, 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.
  • 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 may choose a two-hour or three-hour elective course in the spring semester. The elective is not required. 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.


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.

Undergraduate Degree Deadline

An undergraduate degree must be earned prior to the start of the third year of law school.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

A cumulative grade point average of at least 1.90 is required to graduate.

Graduation Application

A graduation application, for diploma purposes, must be completed and submitted to the Student Affairs Office. The Law School cannot automatically certify a student for graduation even if he/she has completed all requirements. Some students, for reasons of their own, do not wish to graduate even if they are eligible to do so. Therefore, it is essential that this application be filed by the specified deadline (usually mid-March for May graduation and mid-October for December graduation) to attend.

This application is not the same as a Texas State Bar card, nor is it the same as the form required for the Sunflower Ceremony. These are entirely different and are not related to the graduation application for diploma purposes.

Work Completion Date

  • All work must be completed before graduation, even if the professor has set a deadline after graduation for the rest of the class. Work must be completed early enough so the professor can grade it and turn in a "pass" before the official end of the semester.
  • All directed and clinical research work must be completed during the semester of registration to receive credit. If a passing grade has not been received within five weeks of the last class day of the semester, a grade of "Q" (drop) will automatically be entered on the student's record. The student must then register and pay for the course again.
  • Most faculty members do not have time to grade all exams before the graduation date. Therefore, papers/exams for graduating seniors are separated and the instructor is asked to notify the Student Affairs Office within one to three days after the last day of final exams if the degree candidates in their class pass or fail the course. They are not asked for grades. Grades for graduates are submitted with the grades for the rest of the class. A listing of courses in which passes/failures have been received from professors will be posted outside the Student Affairs Office. A graduating senior who fails a course is notified promptly by the Student Affairs Office.
  • Students in a Dual Degree Program may not receive either degree until all work for both degrees has been completed. Both degrees must be awarded during the same semester.

Graduation with Honors

Effective Spring 2011, graduates of the School of Law who are judged by the faculty to have completed the Doctor of Jurisprudence with scholarly distinction are awarded degrees with honors. In general, honors are awarded solely on the basis of work done at the University's School of Law. No more than 35 percent of the graduating class may receive honors, high honors, and highest honors. No more than 5 percent may receive high honors and highest honors. No more than 1 percent may receive highest honors.

No-Ranking Policy

It is the policy of the Law School not to rank its students on the basis of academic standing. The only exception to this policy is the top 10% computed for eligibility for Order of the Coif, but individual students are not ranked.

Order of the Coif

Order of the Coif is computed once each year and includes the graduates from the August, December, and May graduating classes, e.g., Aug. 2010, Dec. 2010, and May 2011. The three classes are combined and the top 10% are eligible to be invited to join Coif. Computations are done after all grades for the three classes are received, typically in September. The list of names is submitted to the faculty sponsor who will then notify the students.


Diplomas are mailed by The University Registrar's Office, not the Law School. Changes of address or name should be reported to the Registrar's Office at telephone number (512) 475-7619. Diplomas will not be released to students with bars on their records at the time of graduation. Note that the diploma will state the official graduation date of the semester in which all requirements for the degree are completed and the student is certified by the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs as being eligible for graduation. Diplomas cannot be backdated to the last semester of actual attendance in law school.