Accelerated Juris Doctor programs can be up to a year shorter than a traditional program and, in some cases, students can pursue the program while completing a bachelor's or master's degree. To complete the accelerated timeline, students may need to take a set number of courses per semester and take classes in the summer.
Typical Courses in Accelerated Juris Doctor Programs
Generally, accelerated Juris Doctor (JD) programs have around 90 credit hours and take about two years to complete. In a few programs, students have the option of taking some of their courses online. A few of the common course topics in JD programs are discussed below.
As the course name suggests, students will likely learn about the legal aspects of dealing with crimes. These courses may introduce students to different types of crimes as well as possible defense strategies. Courses like these typically delve into how criminal statutes are used in court cases.
Courses of this nature are designed to teach students about what contracts entail. Students may learn about modern bargaining techniques that can be applied during contract negotiation. A few of the other topics these courses may cover are contract performance, traditional offers, and how contracts can become void.
Legal Analysis and Writing
In legal analysis and writing courses, students learn the skills required to analyze and document legal situations. After completing these courses, students should be able to critically assess what they have read. Students may also be exposed to the practical aspects of legal theory and writing by completing assignments or working with fictional clients.
Students who take courses like these are likely to get an in-depth view of the U.S. Constitution and the individuals or institutions that are involved in its execution. These courses may cover topics like individual rights, equal protection, and due process. Students may also learn about presidential powers and how they may differ in times of war.
Courses that focus on research help students develop the skills needed to track down materials that will be pertinent to a case or project. Students learn about the tools and strategies at their disposal for conducting valuable research. Some of the topics that may be covered in these courses include legal authority, types of sources, electronic databases, and the use of the internet for legal research.
General Admission Requirements for Accelerated Juris Doctor Programs
The minimum academic requirement for accelerated JD programs is a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. In some cases, students can apply for the program while still enrolled in a bachelor's degree program or must complete their bachelor's degree while taking the first summer courses of the JD program. Certain programs are open to bachelor's degrees in any field while others will only admit persons who have already earned a foreign law degree. Programs requiring a law degree may prefer applicants who have practiced for at least a year. Regardless of the program, prospective students may need to submit school transcripts, letters of recommendation, a current resume, a statement of purpose, and acceptable scores on the GRE or LSAT.
Accelerated Juris Doctor programs are a convenient way to pursue or advance a legal career in about two years. These roughly 90-credit-hour programs typically include courses in legal research, legal writing, criminal law, and contracts.