What Is a Juris Doctor Program?
A Juris Doctor program is a postgraduate program that prepares students for a law career. The program awards graduates a Juris Doctor, or J.D., degree. The following article explains some common features of Juris Doctor programs. Schools offering Juris Doctor degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Juris Doctor Program Definition
Law schools offer Juris Doctor programs for people who wish to become lawyers or enter other advanced legal careers. The programs award a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree, also known as a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree. Some schools award joint degrees that combine law with other disciplines. It typically takes full-time students three years to earn a J.D. Most schools strongly suggest that students intern at a law firm during their second or third year to gain relevant work experience.
Important Facts About Juris Doctor Programs
|Entry-level Education||Bachelor's degree in any field is required|
|Online Availability||No online law schools are approved by the American Bar Association; only a few states allow graduates of an online law school to take the bar exam|
|Training||Internships and externships provide practical experience in law practice and more intensive hands-on training in specialized areas of law|
|Licensing||All states require graduates to pass the state bar examination before practicing law|
The first-year curriculum of most Juris Doctor programs teaches students the principles and foundations of law. Students take courses on legal writing and research, contracts, civil and criminal procedure, property law and the Constitution. After finishing the first year of a J.D. program, students specialize in law areas, like criminal justice, business, the environment or intellectual property, among others. The specialties that students choose determine curricula for the second and third years of most Juris Doctor programs.
Common Joint Degrees
Many Juris Doctor programs allow students to earn a joint degree by specializing in another subject along with law. Two advantages of joint degree programs are that they qualify graduates for specialized positions and they may be completed in less time than separate degree programs. Students interested in earning joint degrees need to apply to both the college's law school and the branch offering the other degree. Some degrees commonly combined with a J.D. are the Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Social Work (MSW) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.).
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