Degree Requirements

The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only. The Graduate Record represents the official repository for academic program requirements. These publications may be found at

LL.M. Degree Requirements

To receive a master of Laws degree, candidates must complete at least two semesters of residence and a minimum of 24 credit hours. At least one of these hours must by earned by producing a substantial research paper. Students may complete the writing requirement by taking a seminar that requires a long paper, or through arranging a research project that results in a substantial paper. Students must have at least a 2.7 grade-point average to graduate.

LL.M. students are generally enrolled in courses and seminars with upper-level J.D. students. To learn more about our curriculum, visit the Academics department of the Law School website.

S.J.D. Degree Requirements

To obtain the S.J.D. degree, candidates who enter the program in the fall of 2017 or later must fulfill the following requirements:

  • S.J.D. degree candidates must successfully earn a minimum of 30 semester credits. These credits are earned through completion of the student’s first year study plan, dissertation work in residence, and attendance at the S.J.D. colloquium. Please note that S.J.D. students may not enroll in classes for degree credit, but may enroll in classes as an auditor with the instructor’s permission and subject to seat availability confirmed by the Assistant Dean of Academic Services and Registrar. The School of Law does not accept transfer credits from outside institutions for candidates in the S.J.D. degree program.
  • S.J.D. degree candidates must complete a dissertation approved by the Graduate Committee and successfully defend the dissertation in an oral examination. The dissertation must make an original contribution to legal literature and demonstrate mastery of the principles of scholarly research and critical analysis. It is expected that the dissertation will be publishable as a book or a series of law review articles. The oral examination is held by a committee consisting of the dissertation supervisor and two other faculty members. After the examination, the committee will report to the faculty its opinion of the candidate’s work and fitness for the degree. The dissertation may be submitted and the oral exam held at any time within five years of the student’s admission to the S.J.D. program. This period may be extended if the student shows good cause submitted in writing to the Graduate Studies Committee.
  • All degree candidates must conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the Law School's academic and non-academic student conduct requirements.
  • The course of study for the S.J.D. degree must be completed within five years of admittance to candidacy.


University of Virginia School of Law
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Carlos Ibarguengoitia Zugarramurdi

“There were many reasons for me to come to UVA, among others: its academic excellence; its flexibility to design a high-quality, multi-disciplinary program; and the fact that UVA seeks to create a true community (with all that that implies). Although in the past I came many times to the United States as a tourist, the experience of being part of the community has been wonderful — so much to learn, contribute and enjoy.”

—Carlos Ibarguengoitia Zugarramurdi '16, Mexico