Juris Doctor: Courses, Eligibility Criteria, Colleges


Cyril Zachariah
Updated on Mar 29, 2023 05:52 PM IST

Here are the details that you will need to abide by to pursue a Juris Doctor course from one of the law colleges in the world. Check out the eligibility criteria for the course along with the types of courses under JD.

Juris Doctor: Courses, Eligibility Criteria, Colleges

Juris Doctor, abbreviated as 'JD' is also known as the degree of Doctor of Jurisprudence degree. It is a professional law degree and comes among the several Doctor of Law degrees that can be awarded as the highest level of degree in this discipline. The course of Juris Doctor is usually offered in the countries of Australia, Canada, and the United States.

Students have to complete law school to receive the degree of Juris Doctor which possesses the academic standing of a professional doctorate in the United States of America, in contrast to a research doctorate. JS is considered a master's degree in Australia, and in Canada, it is accounted for as a second-entry, baccalaureate degree.

This degree will make sure you are prepared to tackle the complexities of an international professional career by being intellectually demanding and skill-focused. You will be expected to assess client interests, analyse legal consequences, look for pertinent legal precedents, and offer remedial measures. You will leave law school with a special set of understandings about how legal practice is conducted professionally. You will be able to function at the highest levels and in all sorts of firms with these legal and interpersonal ethics and skills.

JD replaced the Bachelor of Law (LLB) degree soon enough and established itself as a much more advanced and modern course than LLB. Candidates seeking admission to the Master of Law (LLM) in the United States are required to have a degree of JD, despite it being a doctorate. The degree of Juris Doctor is completed over three years.

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Highlights of Juris Doctor

A Juris Doctorate degree is a portrayal of professional recognition of the holder possessing a degree of the doctoral level in law. In the United States, a Juris Doctor degree is considered to be the highest degree in law and it was a replacement for the degree of Bachelor of Law originally. Now, let us go through some of the important highlights regarding Juris Doctor as a degree:

Juris Doctor


3 years

Accepted in Countries

USA, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, Philippines


Undergraduate degree in law or legal sciences

Standardised tests


Language proficiency tests

TOEFL exam, PTE, IELTS exam, DET

Documents required

Certificates, Letters of Recommendation (LOR), and Statements of Purpose (SOP)

Top universities for Juris Doctor

University of Chicago, McGill University, University of Sydney



Types of Juris Doctor Degrees

As discussed, the academic prerequisite for becoming an attorney is a Juris Doctor (JD) degree. A JD is a terminal degree, meaning it's the highest degree you can earn in a certain discipline. You must first complete a bachelor's degree programme before enrolling in a Juris Doctor course, however, a master's degree is not compulsory. 

If you can enrol full-time, it usually takes three years to obtain your Juris Doctor degree. It may require four to five years if you have to go to law school on a part-time premise. Many law schools require you to finish your course of study within five years of enrolling. The following are the types of Juris Doctor degrees:

Dual Juris Doctor Degrees 

Several law students opt to pursue a dual degrees course, such as a Juris Doctor/Master of Public Health (JD/MPH), Juris Doctor/Master of Social Work (JD/MSW), or Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration (JD/MBA). You can learn more about a specialised subject and focus your legal practice on a particular industry by earning two graduate-level degrees. Dual degree programmes usually take four to five years to complete, yet this is typically less time than it would take to obtain each degree independently.

Accelerated Juris Doctor Degrees

Before obtaining a JD degree, it is more typical for students to take a long study break or gap. There are expedited programmes where you can acquire your bachelor's degree and your Juris Doctor in six instead of seven years. Yet choosing this route means having a lot of planning, persistence, and dedication, including committing to a six-year education plan.

It can be said that earning a Juris Doctor degree can be expensive, but it is also equally true that they typically make higher wages. As per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual median wage for attorneys in the United States is USD 126,930. In the end, your earnings will rely on several variables, including your level of expertise, geographical location, the size and nature of the company you work for, and more.

What is the Difference Between Juris Doctor Vs LLB?

The professional Juris Doctor degree that originated in the USA is a necessary qualification to practice law. Apart from the USA, Canada, Australia and Hong Kong also have JD courses. The JD degree is a three-year course for which one has to have an undergraduate degree. The Juris Doctor is focused more on imparting vocational training and practical teaching.

LLB, on the other hand, originated in the United Kingdom and countries which follow a legal system derived from the British have LLB courses for law aspirants. Countries like India, Pakistan, and Malaysia have LLB degrees. Students can study LLB after class 12. The LLB is more academic in nature and gives a background knowledge of the law in general.

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Eligibility Criteria for Juris Doctor (JD)

To get admission to the course of Doctor of Jurisprudence, candidates have to meet the JD eligibility criteria set for the degree. The eligibility criteria for Juris Doctor (JD) degree vary from college to college and it also depends upon the country in which the candidate seeks admission. All the conditions that a candidate has to fulfil so as to be able to pursue the degree of Juris Doctor are explained in detail below.

  • The most common condition of eligibility for JD across all universities in all countries is that the candidate must possess an undergraduate degree in law or legal science.

  • It is not mandatory to have a bachelor's degree in a field that is related to law. Any undergraduate degree that can prepare the student by imparting education which bears on the practice of law will suffice.

  • The candidate has to score passing marks in all the exams at the undergraduate level. Any compartment exam will not be entertained and the student will not be considered for JD admission.

  • After completing their graduation, candidates will have to appear for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT).

  • The marks scored by the candidate in LSAT will be considered while shortlisting him/ her for the course of Juris Doctor at various colleges.

  • Candidates will have to apply at each college separately. They must check if the college they have targeted for admission has set any further eligibility criteria for JD admissions.

Types of Courses in Juris Doctor

The course of Juris Doctor offers several specialisations which the students can choose according to their preferences and requirement. The purpose of a Juris Doctorate degree is to ensure that the student is prepared with a well-rounded and in-depth knowledge of the legal system and the laws that govern it. Students pursuing the course of JD will have to take general courses as well as the core subject coursework that applies to their area of interest. Some of the courses that candidates enrolled in a JD programme will get to choose from are given below.

  • Torts

  • Civil Procedures

  • Contract Law

  • Constitutional Laws

  • Courtroom Procedures

  • Criminal Law

  • Civil Law

  • Property and Real Estate Law

  • Public Law

  • Business Law

  • International Law

Countries Offering Juris Doctor

The degree of Juris Doctor is offered only in some selective countries. That, however, does not limit students from all over the world to apply for the course of Juris Doctor. Many law aspirants from India who plan on pursuing higher studies abroad also get enrolled in the JD course as opposed to the traditional Bachelor of Law (LL.B.) programme. The demand for JD has been on a constant rise since the past few years. The countries that offer the JD degree are given below.

  • Canada

  • The United States of America

  • Australia

  • Japan

  • Hong Kong

Top Colleges Offering Juris Doctor Course

The bar test is often required to obtain your licence to practise law after receiving your Juris Doctor degree from a law school recognised by the American Bar Association. Four jurisdictions, however — California, Virginia, Vermont, and Washington — allow aspiring practitioners to take the bar exam even without attending law school, provided that they must first complete an internship with a qualified lawyer or judge. Here is the list of top colleges that offer a Juris Doctor course. Click on the links to explore the colleges.

College Name

College Location

Yale University

New Haven, USA

Harvard University

Cambridge, USA

University of Chicago

Chicago, USA

University of Virginia

Charlottesville, USA

Stanford University

Stanford, USA

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, USA

New York University

New York, USA

Columbia University

New York, USA

University of California - Berkeley

Berkeley, USA

Career Scope After Juris Doctor

There are many job opportunities that students can avail of after completing a degree in Juris Doctor. Some of the most popular and sought-after job roles for which graduates with a Doctor of Jurisprudence (JD) degree are recruited are given below.

  • Professor

  • Consultant

  • Advisor

  • Judge

  • Arbitrator

  • Lawyer

In the end, there are no prerequisites for prospective law students, unlike many graduate schools that need the completion of certain courses. Nonetheless, you must have obtained your undergraduate degree from an accredited university, or be on track to do so. Your grade point average (GPA) from undergrad is a crucial factor that law schools take into account when assessing applications.

If you are interested in pursuing a professional career as a Juris Doctor abroad, unlock detailed information about the degree programme by reaching out to us at abroad@collegedekho.com.

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Is Juris Doctor the same as LLB?

Juris Doctor is similar to LLB as both are first-level degrees required to practice law professionally. They are pre-requisites to pursuing higher levels of law degrees such as Master of Laws or Doctorate of Judicial Sciences. Juris Doctor utilises a practical and researched-based approach to teaching law. LLB, on the other hand, is highly traditional and academic in its approach.

How long is the Juris Doctor program?

The Juris Doctor program is for three years after which you can take the law exam to start practising law. Some law schools in the USA provide an accelerated law programme of 2.5 years that allows students to complete the course over two additional summer semesters. Courses below that duration are not recognised by the bar association.

Which countries offer a Juris Doctor program?

The countries which offer a Juris Doctor program are the USA, Canada, Italy, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and China. Only one UK university offers a JD program and that is Queen’s University. The concept of Juris Doctor first started in the USA and was accepted by the University of Chicago Law School.

What are the entry requirements for JD?

The entry requirement for Juris Doctor is an undergraduate degree in law or any other related fee. Any backlog in undergraduate studies will not be allowed. Students also have to share their LSAT scores which is a determining factor for being short-listed for the JD program at law schools abroad.

Which documents are needed for application to Juris Doctor?

The documents needed for application to Juris Doctor are LSAT score cards, academic mark sheets and certificates, TOEFL/IELTS/PTE scores, Statement of purpose (SOP) and Letters of Recommendation (LORs). Some universities may also ask for GRE scores for admission to the Juris Doctor course.

What are the job opportunities after Juris Doctor (JD)?

The job opportunities after Juris Doctor (JD) will open once students qualify for the bar exam. There are various positions available at government institutions and private law firms. You can work as a trial and litigation lawyer, judge, legal recruiter, academic, councillor, mediator, arbitrator, or paralegal. 

What are the US universities to study JD?

The US universities to study JD are the University of Michigan, the University of Texas, the University of Pennsylvania, Cornell Law School and Loyola University. Students should note that the US universities should be approved by the bar council of their own country before starting their course.

Can international students do JD in USA?

Yes, international students can do JD in the USA. However, you will have to remember that only New York, California, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and Palau are the states that allow students to appear for the bar exam that makes them eligible to practice as lawyers in USA.  Students can go back to their own country and practice.

Can international students get scholarships to study JD?

Yes, international students can get scholarships to study JD. Some of the famous law scholarships are Law Foundation Graduate Scholarships ( for Canada, USA and other countries), Schulich School of Law Scholarships at Dalhousie University (Canada), Arent Fox Diversity Scholarship Program (USA) and Postgraduate Scholarships University of Sydney ( Australia).

What are the law schools for international students to study Juris Doctor in Canada?

The law schools for international students to study Juris Doctor in Canada are the University of Toronto, McGill University, University of British Columbia, University of Ottawa and Dalhousie University. These universities offer a Juris Doctor programme for three years at affordable rates with excellent quality of education.

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