School of Law
One of the most diverse law schools in the nation, St. Mary's prepares its graduates for the competent and ethical practice of law in a community that supports educational excellence.
J.D. Program options
St. Mary’s offers several ways to earn a J.D.:
- Full-time day J.D. program
- Part-time evening J.D. program
- Joint MBA/J.D. program
As a successful lawyer, you will need a solid foundation to skillfully navigate the complex daily issues that arise in a professional legal setting. At St. Mary’s, you will gain a comprehensive foundation in six key areas upon which everything else you learn will be built.
- Persons and property
- Employment and business
- Public and international law
- Dispute resolution
- Research and writing
- Philosophy of law
About the J.D.
The Doctor of Jurisprudence degree (J.D.) is required to practice law in most states. The J.D. degree is offered by American Bar Association (ABA) accredited schools like St. Mary’s School of Law, as well as some non-ABA-accredited institutions and some institutions in Canada.
To pursue a J.D. program, you must first have (or be nearing completion of) a bachelor’s degree and take the LSAT. Learn more about the J.D. application process.
After obtaining a J.D. degree, you’ll need to be admitted to the Bar of the state where you want to practice law. Each state sets its own rules for bar admission, but generally this includes a bar exam and a character evaluation. You can find out more about the requirements to practice law in the state of Texas at the Texas Board of Law Examiners website.
Evening J.D. Program for Working Professionals
Evening law students typically have considerably more outside responsibilities than day students. These responsibilities require an evening student to approach law school with special commitment and dedication in order to succeed.
St. Mary’s is committed to offering evening students an excellent education and a range of services, including counseling and advice through the Office of Career Services. St. Mary’s prides itself on student access to the members of the faculty, and evening students will find their teachers readily accessible. Admission and graduation requirements are the same for day and evening students.
Evening classes are scheduled Monday through Thursday between 6 and 9 p.m. Evening students will complete the required first-year curriculum in three regular semesters plus one summer.
Evening students must complete their degree requirements within seven years, and most do so in five years or less.
Applicants may apply to either the full-time day program or a part-time evening program, but not to both. Admissions and graduation standards are the same for both J.D. programs.
All programs and offices, including the Clinical Program, are available to full-time daytime students as well as part-time evening students.
A candidate for the degree of Juris Doctor must earn a minimum of 90 credit hours in order to graduate, or 91 credits hours for students who entered prior to Fall 2018. Students who entered law school in the Fall of 2019 or later must have a cumulative GPA of 2.3 or higher to graduate. For students who entered prior to that time, a cumulative GPA of 2.0 is required to remain in good academic standing. Other curricular and academic requirements will apply. Those requirements are set forth in the St. Mary’s School of Law Student Handbook. Faculty may add additional requirements at any time.