Upon recommendation of the faculty, the degree of Juris Doctor (JD) is conferred on students who successfully complete the three-year program, consisting of 53 quarter credits, 34 semester credits, four quarters of cooperative work under the supervision of an attorney, and fulfillment of the public interest graduation requirement. For a complete list of all academic rules, see the School of Law's Student Handbook.
The School of Law's grading system cultivates an atmosphere of cooperation and mutual respect. Rather than alphabetic or numeric grades, our students receive narrative evaluations from professors and co-op employers. In addition to these narrative evaluations, which are prepared for all courses in all three years, students may receive Honors or High Honors for strong academic performance in upper-level courses. There is no class rank or GPA. Students work together to achieve individual and group results—a cooperative spirit that becomes an asset in their legal careers. Northeastern's system helps you focus on what matters most: honing your skills through detailed feedback and learning to collaborate so that you are more fully prepared for the practice of law. It should be clearly understood that the School of Law's narrative grading system does not eliminate academic risk. Under the school's Academic Rules, the faculty reserves the right to dismiss any student whose written work, classroom performance or employer evaluations indicate unsatisfactory progress toward professional competence.
Upper-Level Writing Requirement
Each upper-level student is required to undertake a substantial writing project, either in a course, through a clinic, in an independent study or on co-op. This 15-page paper provides each student with the opportunity to study and write about a topic of his or her choice in depth, under the guidance of a faculty member or co-op employer. Students choosing the co-op option submit their papers to a faculty review committee in order to satisfy this requirement.
Public Interest Graduation Requirement
The School of Law is committed to the belief that all attorneys have a duty to serve the public. Therefore, all students must fulfill a public interest requirement as a condition of graduation. The requirement may be fulfilled in one of several ways, including completion of a public interest co-op, completion of any of the law school's clinical courses, performance of at least 30 hours of uncompensated legal work in a public interest setting or with a private firm on a pro bono project, or a public interest independent study.
There are a number of ways to receive transfer credit. Please note that transfer credit will be posted to a student’s Northeastern University School of Law transcript after an official transcript that indicates the courses completed and the grades received has been delivered to the Office of Academic and Student Affairs. It is the student’s responsibility to have transcripts forwarded from educational institutions to the Office of Academic and Student Affairs, c/o Assistant Dean Bettye Freeman.