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Home DEGREES AND PROGRAMS CERTIFICATES OF SPECIALIZED STUDY Public Interest Law and Policy Certificate of Specialization

Public Interest Law and Policy Certificate of Specialization


Juris Doctor students who have demonstrated a specialized proficiency in advocating for traditionally under-represented individuals, communities, and interests may receive a certificate in public interest law and policy 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:
    • Administrative Law (three credits) or Legislation (three credits) or Statutory Interpretation (two credits)
    • And the remaining credits of elective study chosen from a range of public interest law and policy 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. Students must write a paper that satisfies the seminar paper requirement dealing with public interest law or public policy.
  5. Students must complete at least three hours of coursework in a clinic or externship. Students may apply a maximum of six externship credits toward the certificate. The six-credit limit for externship hours does not include the hours taken in a required course associated with the externship.
  6. Students must earn the certificate of service by completing at least 50 hours of pro bono activities under the auspices of the Pro Bono Initiative to satisfy the certificate in public interest law and policy.
  7. 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.

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.