College of Law


Quick Links


Student Resources


Home DEGREES AND PROGRAMS CERTIFICATES OF SPECIALIZED STUDY Criminal Law Certificate of Specialization

Criminal Law Certificate of Specialization


Juris Doctor students who have demonstrated a specialized proficiency in criminal law may receive a certificate in criminal law in addition to their Juris Doctor degree.

For Students Beginning J.D. Program in 2022 or Later

To qualify for the certificate, students who begin the J.D. program in 2022 or later must complete the following requirements. Note: If you began the J.D. program in 2021 or a previous year, certificate requirements are different and can be found below.

  1. Students must meet all general requirements for a J.D. degree.
  2. Students must complete a total of 17 semester credit hours that must include:
    • Criminal Procedure (three to four credits)
    • Evidence (three to four credits)
    • And the remaining credits of elective study chosen from a range of criminal law courses (not all of which are offered each year).*
  3. Students must complete all certificate requirements with at least a B overall average and no grade lower than a B- in courses taken to satisfy the certificate.
  4. Normally, students earning the criminal law certificate must complete the Criminal Process Course and Externship, and it is strongly recommended that students do so. However, for good cause shown, such as when a student does not intend to pursue a career as a prosecutor or defender, the associate dean for academic affairs may waive this requirement. In making such decisions, the associate dean for academic affairs will consult with relevant faculty members. Only three credit hours of any externship, including the Criminal Process Externship, may be counted toward the 17-credit hour requirement for this certificate. Please note that Trial Advocacy is a prerequisite to the Criminal Process Externship.
  5. Students must write a paper that satisfies the seminar paper requirement dealing with criminal law.
  6. A student may not exercise a CR/NC option in a course that counts toward the certificate.

*Due to the evolving nature of the law school curriculum, new courses or seminars may count toward the certificate course requirements; inquiries about whether a particular course qualifies should be directed to the associate dean for academic affairs, who will consult with the relevant faculty members as necessary. The associate dean for academic affairs also has the authority to remove courses from the list of electives if they are no longer offered. Non-law school courses may be taken to fulfill the elective credit requirement with prior approval by the associate dean for academic affairs. Such courses will be approved by the associate dean for academic affairs in consultation with the relevant faculty members.

For Students Who Began J.D. Program in 2021 or Earlier

Students who began their J.D. degree in 2021 or earlier can view the requirements for this certificate hereNote: If you begin the J.D. program in 2022 or later, certificate requirements are different and can be found above.