Juris Doctor Degree

The Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree is the first professional degree in law. The program leading to the J.D. is designed to provide the student with a general understanding of the American legal system and the skills necessary to function within the system, principally as a lawyer, but also as a judge, legislator, arbitrator, executive, planner, and responsible citizen. Those skills include the ability to work with cases, statutes, and administrative regulations; to analyze factual situations carefully in order to sift the relevant from the irrelevant; to formulate and advocate issues in light of the relevant procedural and substantive law; to relate legal issues to the larger historical, sociopolitical, and economic context; and to exercise sound professional judgment.

Instruction by the case method, which involves interactive dialogue between students and their instructors, serves as the foundation of legal education at the College. Professors also use problem-oriented approaches and computer-assisted instruction to supplement the case method, and the College offers a variety of seminars, clinical courses, and skills-development courses, which provide students with the opportunity to develop practical skills and to explore the relationship between law on the books and law in action.

Course Work

To obtain the J.D. degree, a student must satisfactorily complete 33 credit hours of courses in the first year curriculum and 60 hours of courses in the upper class curriculum. 

The first year curriculum includes the year-long courses of Civil Procedure, Contracts, Property, and Legal Research and Writing. It also includes Torts and Criminal Law which are taught in the fall semester, and in the spring semester, the innovative course: International Perspectives in the U.S. Legal System: Practicing Law in a Global Legal Environment. In the College's Foundational Legal Skills course, students learn the fundamentals of manual and computerized legal research, legal analysis, legal writing and oral argument through preparation of memoranda of law, an appellate brief and an appellate argument. Students are also introduced to the many facets of professionalism and to the skills necessary to make ethical and professional choices.

The 60 hours required in the upper class curriculum for the J.D. degree are primarily elective. However, students are required to satisfactorily complete:

  1. Constitutional Law in the first semester of the second year at the College of Law (4 crs)
  2. a course or seminar in professional responsibility (3 crs)
  3. a seminar that has a substantial writing requirement (3 crs)
  4. a professional skills course (3 or 4 crs)

 The upper class curriculum includes a wide variety of courses which allow students to pursue their individual interests while developing a sound legal education. Students may focus on Alternative Dispute Resolution, Corporate and Commercial Law, Criminal Law, Elder Law, Employment and Labor Law, Entertainment Law, Environmental and Natural Resource Law, Health Care Law, Intellectual Property Law, International Law, Litigation, Sports Law, Tax Law, and other subject areas through the many upper class course offerings at the College of Law. A student who wishes to focus on a particular area of the law may pursue a Program of Concentrated Study. Click here for information on Concentrations.

First year courses are ordinarily divided into two equal sections of about 70 students; the exception is Foundational Legal Skills, which is taught in sections of about 14 students. Most upper level courses have enrollments of between 15 and 65. Seminars are limited to 12 students. Most substantive law courses are taught by full-time faculty members. Many practicing lawyers and judges share their expertise in professional skills courses such as Negotiations, Pre-trial Litigation and Trial Advocacy.

Master of Legal Studies

The Master of Legal Studies (MLS) Degree Program is designed for individuals who are not interested in practicing law but who are interested in developing a better understanding of the law as it affects their non-legal careers or areas of interest. The program is jointly administered by the College of Law and the Graduate College. Anyone who has or will have an undergraduate degree by the time they would begin taking classes can apply for admission to the MLS Degree Program.

Students who are admitted to the program can begin their course work only during a fall semester and must complete, with satisfactory grades, 33 credit hours of law in order to receive an MLS degree. The required courses are Foundational Legal Skills (2 credit hours, fall semester only) as well as one of the following courses: Contracts, Property or Torts. If you take Torts as your required course, you will take 4 credit hours of Torts and 2 credit hours of Foundational Legal Skills for a total of 6 credit hours of required courses and 27 credit hours of electives.  If you take Contracts or Property as your required course, you will take 6 credit hours of Contracts or Property and 2 credit hours of Foundational Legal Skills for a total of 8 credit hours of required courses and 25 credit hours of electives. Most, but not all, of the law courses may be taken as electives and all degree requirements must be completed within three years. The MLS Degree will be conferred upon the successful completion of the 33 credit hours and an oral final examination.

Applicants must apply to both the College of Law and the Graduate College. Both applications are available through the Graduate College electronic application process at www.unl.edu/gradstudies/. Complete the Graduate College applicaton first and select Legal Studies (MLS) in the degree objective section. You will then be prompted to complete the MLS application through the GAMES system. Follow the instructions to complete the application and upload your transcripts to MyRed. 

Combined 3-3 Program

The 3-3 Law Program allows qualified undergraduate students to begin studies at the University of Nebraska College of Law after three years of undergraduate studies. Students admitted to the program will use the credit hours awarded in the first year at the College of Law to complete their undergraduate degree requirements. The 3-3 Law Program allows students to receive their Bachelor’s degree and their Juris Doctor degree in six years rather than the traditional seven years.

Undergraduate students are eligible to apply for the program. An applicant will apply to the program during his or her junior year. An applicant will be automatically accepted into the 3-3 Law Program if the applicant:

1) Has a valid LSAT score of at least 156;

2) Has a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.6 or higher as calculated by the Law School Admission Council;

3) Will have successfully completed at least 75% of the course credits required for his or her undergraduate degree, along with all other requirements of his or her undergraduate degree program, by the date of matriculation at the College of Law. Course credits may include no more than six credit hours of pass/fail course work;

4) Has submitted on time the materials required of all applicants to the College of Law, including a completed application, satisfactory letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and records of the required course credits;

5) Has not been on academic probation at any undergraduate institution; and

6) Has provided the College of Law with a letter from the relevant Dean, or other administrator of equivalent authority at the applicant’s undergraduate institution, stating that the applicant has completed all requirements for participation in the 3-3 Law Program and that the undergraduate institution will grant the applicant an undergraduate degree upon the applicant’s successful completion of the first year College of Law course work.

If the above requirements are satisfied, the applicant will automatically be accepted into the 3-3 Law Program unless there is information concerning the applicant that reflects adversely on the applicant’s character and fitness, including criminal citations, pending criminal charges, or criminal convictions. In such cases the application will be individually reviewed by the College of Law Admissions Committee.

A student who wishes to participate in the 3-3 Law Program but who cannot satisfy one or more of the above requirements may apply to the College of Law during his or her junior year in college for admission to the 3-3 Law College Program and the application will be individually reviewed by the Admissions Committee.

If the student is not admitted to the 3-3 Law College Program, he or she may subsequently apply without prejudice to the regular JD program.

Joint Degree Programs

As part of its strong commitment to interdisciplinary study, the College participates in seven joint degree programs with other branches of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Students interested in any of these joint degree programs must apply for admission to and be accepted by the College of Law and the Graduate College at UNL or UNO.

The College of Law is prepared to work with any student to develop an individualized joint degree program designed to meet the particular student's needs and interests. Several students have pursued joint degrees through individually structured programs, including, for example, programs in Law & Agricultural Economics, Law & Architecture, and Law & History. Credit will not be given, however, for courses taken prior to entering the College of Law.

For further information about the programs, their requirements, and the procedures for admission, contact the College of Law Admissions Office.

Law and Accounting
Law and Business (MBA)
Law and Community and Regional Planning
Law and Gerontology
Law and Journalism and Mass Communications
Law and Political Science
Law and Psychology
Law and Public Health

 


Law and Accounting

The Law/Accounting joint degree program is designed for students who have accounting backgrounds and who are especially interested in tax-related matters. Jointly administered by the College of Law and the School of Accountancy, the program leads to the conferral of an M.P.A. degree and a J.D. degree upon the successful completion of 36 hours of accounting courses (assuming no undergraduate deficiencies) and 84 hours of law courses. Eighteen hours of cross-listed tax courses count toward both degrees. Although a student may receive joint degree credit for up to 12 hours of M.P.A. core courses taken prior to the student's first year at the College of Law, a student cannot receive joint degree credit for any accounting electives taken prior to the student's first year at the College of Law. 

J.D./Accounting - program description and requirements.

Law and Business (MBA)

Just as business executives need to understand the legal consequences of the decisions they make, lawyers need to understand the business consequences of the advice they give. Administered jointly by the College of Law and the College of Business Administration, the J.D./M.B.A. is designed to give students the interdisciplinary perspective they need to function successfully in the business world.

Students enrolled in the program are required to successfully complete 33 hours of business courses (assuming no undergraduate deficiencies) and 84 hours of law courses. Students normally spend their first year at the College of Law and then take a mix of courses in both law and business. Although a student can receive joint degree credit for up to 12 credit hours of M.B.A. core courses taken prior to the student's first year at the College of Law, a student cannot receive joint degree credit for any business electives taken prior to the student's first year at the College of Law. 

J.D./MBA - program description and requirements

Law and Community and Regional Planning

The increasing complexity of issues relating to physical, economic and social well-being in the world today and in the future call for broader knowledge and greater depth of understanding by decision-makers who are attempting to resolve those issues and thereby improve the quality of life. 

Professionals in the fields of law and planning are commonly called upon to assist in the definition and resolution of these complex issues. The College of Law and the College of Architecture through the Graduate College therefore offer a joint degree program which leads to the conferral of a Masters of Community and Regional Planning and a J.D. degree. 

Students may apply to the joint degree program before enrollment in either program, or a first year student in either the J.D. or M.C.R.P. program may apply to the other degree program. No student may enter the dual degree program after having completed more than two full semesters in either the J.D. or M.C.R.P. program. Students must complete 81 credit hours in the law curriculum and 33 credit hours in the community and regional planning curriculum. 

J.D./MCRP - program description and requirements

Law and Gerontology

The Juris Doctorate and Master of Arts in Social Gerontology joint degree program ("J.D./M.A.") is designed for law students who desire to develop a unique expertise and knowledge in the field of elder law, or who are considering an administrative position in the area of gerontology and seek to bring a legal perspective to their administrative work.

The Juris Doctorate and Graduate Certificate in Gerontology joint degree program ("J.D./Graduate Gerontology Certificate") is designed for law students who desire a broader perspective on the social, psychological and health issues that confront the elderly and the social programs and services that are available to support the needs to the elderly population.

Both the M.A. and Certificate programs are offered through the Department of Gerontology at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

A student may apply to the J.D./M.A. program or the J.D./M.A. program or the J.D./Graduate Gerontology Certificate program before enrollment at either the Law College or the University of Nebraska-Omaha. A student already enrolled in the J.D. program may apply to either the M.A. or Certificate program provided the student has a cumulative grade point average of at least a 5.500 and has not completed more than three semesters at the Law College.

A student who is already enrolled in either the M.A. or Certificate program may apply for admission to the Law College and the joint program provided that the student has a cumulative grade point average of at least a "B" and has not completed more than 18 credit hours towards the M.A. or 12 hours toward the Certificate.

J.D./Gerontology - program description and requirements

Law and Journalism and Mass Communications

The worlds of journalism and law are closely interrelated. Students who study the role of the media in a globalized world will confront legal structures and processes. Students who are pursuing a law degree will need to understand the role of the media in a democratic society and will benefit from an understanding of the structures and processes in the media. The College of Law and the Graduate College, through the College of Journalism and Mass Communication offer a joint degree program which is designed to give students an interdisciplinary perspective of the law and media.

Students enrolled in the program are required to complete 84 credit hours at the Law College and 21or 27 credit hours at the College of Journalism and Mass Communications, depending on whether a thesis is part of the program. Students may apply for the joint degree program before enrolling in either College. Students who are already enrolled in the College of Law and have completed no more than 51 hours of credit hours and have at least a 5.5 GPA may apply for admission to the joint degree program. Students who are already enrolled in a Masters program in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications, who have taken no more than 12 credit hours and who have received at least a grade of B in each course may also apply for admission to the joint degree program.

J.D. / Journalism & Mass Communications - program description and requirements

Law and Political Science

The world of government and politics and the world of law are closely interrelated. Students who seek to study political institutions and processes will confront both legal structures and legal processes. Students who seek a law degree will often work directly with political institutions and can benefit from a better and more sophisticated understanding of these institutions and processes. The College of Law and the Department of Political Science through the Graduate College therefore offer a joint degree program which is designed to give students an interdisciplinary perspective of government, politics and law and which leads to the conferral of the J.D. degree and M.A. degree in Political Science at the end of 3 1/2 years. 

Students enrolled in the program are required to complete 84 hours of law courses and 27 hours of political science courses. Students may apply for the joint degree program before enrolling in either College. Students who are already enrolled in the College of Law and have completed no more than 51 credit hours may apply for admission in the joint degree program. Students who are already enrolled in a Masters program in the Department of Political Science, who have taken no more than 12 credit hours and who have received at least a grade of B in each course may also apply for admission in the joint degree program.

J.D./Political Science - program description and requirements

Law and Psychology

Administered jointly by the College of Law and the Department of Psychology, the Law/Psychology program is a nationally recognized program of integrated study and research in law and psychology. Students may obtain a J.D. and either a Ph.D. or an M.A. in Psychology. The program is administered by three faculty all of whom hold both law and psychology degrees.

The joint J.D./Ph.D. program typically requires six years of study and is designed to train professors and researchers. The Ph.D. may be taken in social-personality, cognitive, biopsychology, or developmental studies. Because of the integrated program of study, students acquire the depth of knowledge necessary to contribute significant scholarly insight into the legal system and process. All research, including research carried out for the doctoral dissertation, must be in the law/psychology interface and supervised by faculty from both the College of Law and the Department of Psychology.

The joint J.D./M.A. program is designed for students who wish to be legal practitioners but who also wish to obtain a strong background in psychology or social science methods. In this program, 15 hours of interdisciplinary course work apply toward both degrees.

Individuals who are not interested in practicing law but who are interested in the law/psychology interface may seek the Masters of Legal Studies (M.L.S.) degree. The M.L.S. may be obtained in a joint degree program with a Ph.D. in Psychology or as an additional degree for Psychology post-doctoral fellows.

Law and Public Health

The Juris Doctor and Master of Public Health joint degree program (“JD/MPH”) is designed to prepare students for a variety of professional roles in which the knowledge, skills and expertise in law, public health and health care systems are important. Graduates will be equipped to work in a variety of public interest arenas such as governmental agencies, legislative bodies, universities and advocacy groups, as well as in the private sector of law firms and business.

Public health, public policy, and biomedical ethics are at the forefront of issues in America today. Ongoing efforts at health care reform by policymakers require lawyers with health care expertise to generate legal solutions to issues of health care access and quality, patient protection, and privacy. The work environment is emerging as a significant factor in health, prompting fresh attention to city planning and land use regulation. Occupational injuries continue to plague America’s workforce. Environmental degradation threatens the health of future generations. A JD/MPH degree can prepare graduates for leadership in the myriad public health issues confronted by society.

J.D./Public Health - program description and requirements

Space, Cyber, & Telecommunications Law LL.M. Degree

The LL.M. program is open both to persons with J.D. degrees from ABA-accredited America law schools and to person with degrees in law from foreign universities.

A minimum of 24 credits is required to complete the LL.M. program. All of these credits must be taken subsequent to receipt of the student's first law degree and must be obtained at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The Admissions Committee will exercise a strong preference for students who intend to enroll on a full-time basis.

To complete the LL.M. degree, students must also meet the following requirements:

  • Complete an introductory course in American law (for students with foreign law degrees only) 0 cr
  • Complete (or be excused from) the required courses
  • Complete a program of study approved by the Director of the program
  • Complete a research paper of publishable quality
  • Attain a weighted average grade of no less than 6.0 (on a 9.0 scale) for all courses taken at the Law College

Go to the Space, Cyber, & Telecom Law website.

Required Courses
  • Domestic Telecommunications Law 3 crs
  • International Law (Basic Course) 3 crs
  • International Telecommunications Law: Cyber Warfare OR Telecommunications Law II 3 crs
  • National Security Space Law 1 cr
  • Researching Space Law 1 cr
  • Space Law (Basic Course) 2 crs
  • Thesis (Independent Study) 3 crs

Students who have taken comparable courses at other institution as part of their basic law training may be excused from required courses at the discretion of the Director of the program. A student who is not required to complete one or more of the required courses must still complete a minimum of 24 hours of course work to complete the LL.M. program.

The remainder of the course work for the LL.M. degree will be determined in consultation with a faculty advisor and approved by the Director. Up to six credits of this additional course work may be courses taken outside of the Law College (but still at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln), subject to the approval and grade requirements of Faculty guidelines.

The LL.M. degree requires completion of a research paper of publishable quality. This would normally be completed in conjunction with the thesis/independent study required course, but could also be completed as part of the requirements of a seminar taken at the Law College.