San Joaquin College of Law offers a Three Year Program and a Four Year Program leading to the Juris Doctor degree.

Juris Doctor Degree Requirements

San Joaquin College of Law offers a flexible program leading to the Juris Doctor degree. The degree can be attained in three, four, or five years. Attainment of the degree requires:

  • Completion of 86 semester units: 68 units of required courses and 18 units of elective courses. Not more than eight (8) elective units may be in clinical work.
  • A cumulative grade point aver - age of 65 or better. (Although transfer units may be accepted, only work completed at SJCL is credited toward a student’s cumulative GPA).
  • A minimum grade of 55 in all required courses.
  • Course attendance totaling a minimum of 16 semester units per academic year.
  • Completion of all graduation requirements within 5 years of initial enrollment, or 6 years from initial enrollment if the student was granted the right to repeat the first year, unless such limitation violates some state or federal, statutory or regulatory provision.

Three Year Program

Students admitted to the Three-Year Program will complete their studies in three years, needing to attend only Fall and Spring semesters, having summers free to pursue internship or clerking opportunities. The Three-Year Program is a full-time program. Three-Year Program students are required to take at least 4 clinical units. While attending classes in the Fall and Spring semesters, students enrolled in the Three-Year program must not work more than 20 hours per week in any type of employment.

Four Year Program

The Four-Year Program is designed for working adults. Students attend classes four days per week (evenings 6:30 - 9:30pm) for the first two years. The last two years are completed by attending classes three days per week. The typical program requires attendance at two or three summer sessions.
The Four-Year Program requires an average of ten (10) classroom hours each week throughout the four years. A student should expect to spend approximately three (3) hours in preparation time for each hour of classroom time.

Some courses have day sessions, giving students the ability to tailor a study program to individual family and work needs. (Sample Full Program Schedule)

Five-Year Program

Students who must extend their education because of family or work commitments can reduce the per semester course load and complete the program in five years.

The Juris Doctor degree must be completed within a total of five years from the time of admission.

Four-Year Program Transferring to Three-Year Program

A student in the Four-Year program who finishes the first year with a minimum of 70 GPA can accelerate his or her studies by transferring to the Three-Year Program. A student transferring to the Three-Year Program must plan the two final years of his or her program carefully in advance. A student choosing to transfer is REQUIRED to meet with the Director of Student Services, Academic Dean, or Dean, for approval prior to registering for the summer session after the first year of study. A student transferring to the Three-Year Program is required to take additional courses during the second and third years and full summer session loads of 6 units (a combination of electives and externship units). Students generally do the externship work during the summers, after summer session.

A student transferring to the Three-Year program must abide by all requirements and any limitations imposed upon Three-Year program students.

*Programs subject to change

SJCL Credit Hour Policy

The credit hour policy applies equally to courses of varying credits, duration, and modes of instruction.

One unit of credit in lecture, seminar, and discussion work should approximate one hour of direct faculty classroom instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work per week through one 15-week semester.

Additionally, where classroom work is supplemented by systematic outside reading or research and writing under the direction of the faculty, a reduction may be made in the actual classroom time as seems appropriate to the instructor with the approval of the Curriculum Committee so that a minimum of 45 hours of student work is expected for each unit of credit.

Alternately, if the time is wholly occupied outside the classroom, with either a field placement, clinical or internship, research or teaching assistantship, directed study, law review, or external moot court competition, a minimum of 45 hours of student work is expected for each unit of credit. All non-classroom credits received must be awarded by a faculty member who has reviewed the student work to insure both academic rigor and that the minimum number of hours for the credits awarded has been satisfied.

Periodic Compliance Review of Credit Hour Policy

Review of credit hour assignment for all classes shall occur every two years. All new courses, when reviewed and approved by the Curriculum Committee, shall also be expressly reviewed for compliance with this credit hour policy.