Degree Requirements

JD Degree Requirements for students who:

Students completing the JD/MBA or joint legal education programs should consult with the Assistant Dean, Students for advising on their specific program requirements.

Students should also review the information below about Credit Load, the Seminar/Directed Research requirement and the Experiential Requirement. Questions about Degree Requirements can be directed to the Assistant Dean, Students.


A student needs to earn a minimum of 92 credits to graduate (32 first year credits + 60 upper year credits).

A student may take a maximum of 18 credits per term or 34 credits per Winter Session.

A full-time course load for an upper-year Law student is ~15 credits per term, or 30 credits per year.  Some students take a few credits less and some take a few more, however, full-time students must complete 60 upper year credits over the final two years of their JD degree. There is no requirement that students enroll in exactly 30 credits per winter session. Students on an approved reduced load must register in a minimum or 6 credits per term or 15 credits per year. Information about the credit load requirements for student loans can be found here.

Students are permitted to take a maximum of 103 credits towards their degree.

All students must undertake, in either the second or third year, at least one independent research project and submit a substantial paper (or series of papers) embodying the results of this research.  In order to satisfy this requirement, students must take either a 3 credit seminar taught by a faculty member or adjunct instructor or 3 credit directed research supervised by a faculty member during second or third year.

3 credit Seminar

The list of 3 credit seminar courses varies based on the available course offerings in a given year.  Please refer to the Upper Year Course Listings to identify which 3-credit courses meet the seminar requirement.

workshop paper, the clinical term (Indigenous Community Legal Clinic) paper, the Externship Reflection (Judicial Externship) diary, and the Law 430 Advanced Legal Research assignment(s) do not satisfy this requirement.

Directed Research

Directed Research courses offer J.D. students an opportunity to do extensive research and writing on a topic of their choice under the supervision of a regular faculty member (not an Adjunct Professor).

J.D. students may enroll in Directed Research courses of 2, 3, or 4 credits in one term.  In order to register, the student must complete a Directed Research Authorization Form (available on the Forms website) or in hardcopy in the Student Services waiting area in room 148), provide a 250-word description of the Directed Research topic, and have the form signed and authorized by the supervising professor.  The completed Directed Research request is then placed in the lockbox in the Student Services waiting area in room 148.

**COVID-19 UPDATE FOR SUMMER 2020 DIRECTED RESEARCH REQUESTS:  As we collectively work from home during this time of social-distancing, please email any Summer 2020 Directed Research Authorization Forms directly to Dayna Payette, Coordinator, Student Academic Services (  Forms may be signed by the supervising professor (electronically or scanned) or accompanied by an email from the supervising professor to Dayna Payette authorizing the directed research on the terms set out in the Authorization Form.   

Students cannot move a Fall Term Directed Research to the Spring Term without applying for a formal deferral according to the paper extension procedures.  A Directed Research will not be approved where the student could write the same research paper as part of an existing seminar course. 

All Directed Research requests are subject to the approval of the Associate Dean, Academic Affairs. 

The Allard School of Law will apply no more than 8 directed research credits towards the J.D. degree requirements.

The supervising faculty member will set the requirements for the course, in consultation with the student before accepting the supervision. For the guidance of students and faculty members, the general expectations of directed study courses are:

  • that the student and supervising faculty member will meet twice a month;
  • that the student will provide the supervising faculty member with an outline, and draft of the research paper at appropriate intervals;
  • that the supervising faculty member will provide appropriate feedback; and
  • that the final paper will be approximately 2500 words/credit (excluding bibliography).

Faculty members are not obliged to take on Directed Research students.

Multiple Directed Research papers under the supervision of the same professor are not encouraged.

Students must complete one experiential course or program before graduation. This requirement is met through successful completion of a credit-bearing:

  • clinical program; or
  • competitive moot; or
  • course approved by the Associate Dean Academic Affairs and the Curriculum Committee as having a substantial experiential component and listed as meeting the requirement on the Allard Law website (such courses to be identified on a year to year basis). The following courses meet the experiential requirement:
    • Law 467E: Topics in Corporate Law: Corporate Solicitors' Workshop
    • Law 472: The Allan McEachern Course in Trial Advocacy
    • Law 474: Trial Advocacy
    • Law 477: Negotiation and Dispute Resolution
    • Law 478: Foundations of Dispute Resolution

These courses, if offered, will be open for student self-registration during the July registration period. These courses are NOT included in the 20 credit clinical and moot credit cap.

The following rules apply to clinical and mooting credits:

  • Students are limited to 20 credits of clinical, competitive mooting, and Law Review credit
  • Students are not permitted to take more than two clinical programs in the course of their JD degree
  • Credit will be granted for only one of LAW 488 (Indigenous Community Legal Clinic), LAW 490 (Criminal Clinic), and LAW 491 (LSLAP)
  • For more information about moots, visit the moots page.For more information about clinics, visit the clinics page.
  • Law Review credit is not available after the 2019 Winter Session.