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 AvailabilityNo 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
Median Salary (2018)  $120,910 (for all lawyers
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 8% growth (for all lawyers

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Courses

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.).

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Walden University

    Walden University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Walden University:

    • Doctoral

    Online Programs Available

  • Saint Leo University

    Saint Leo University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Saint Leo University:

    • Doctoral

    Online Programs Available

  • Yale University

    Campus Locations:

    • Connecticut: New Haven
  • William Mitchell College of Law

    Campus Locations:

    • Minnesota: Saint Paul
  • Willamette University

    Campus Locations:

    • Oregon: Salem
  • Whittier College

    Campus Locations:

    • California: Whittier
  • Western State College of Law at Argosy University

    Campus Locations:

    • California: Fullerton
  • Western New England University

    Campus Locations:

    • Massachusetts: Springfield
  • Yeshiva University

    Campus Locations:

    • New York: New York
  • West Virginia University

    Campus Locations:

    • West Virginia: Morgantown