The Law School offers a criminal law certificate to those students wishing to focus on criminal law during law school and prepare themselves for the practice of criminal law or policy.  The program is available to J.D. candidates, LL.M. candidates, as well as other post-baccalaureate students as described below.  The program requires students to develop litigation skills through at least one criminal law clinic (or other experiential capstone course approved as a substitute by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs or that dean's designee), as well as skills courses while also providing a strong framework in the fundamentals of criminal law and procedure through coursework.

Many law schools and employers continue to seek ways to better prepare students for the practice of law immediately upon graduation, and this certificate seeks to make its graduates far more prepared to step into criminal law practice, whether at public agencies such as prosecution or public defender offices, or at firms or even in solo practice.  The program seeks, through minimum requirements, to ensure qualified candidates graduate ready for a practice in criminal law.  For non-law students, it will help provide a strong foundation for policy work or other criminal justice fields.

Admission requirements: The student must satisfy one of the following requirements:

  1. Be currently enrolled in the J.D. program at the School of Law or be admitted as a visiting J.D. student at the School of Law.
  2. Hold a J.D. degree from an accredited law school.
  3. Be enrolled in the LL.M. program at the U of A School of Law.
  4. Be admitted by the associate dean for academic affairs or that dean's designee as otherwise qualified to complete the certificate requirements successfully.

The associate dean for academic affairs, or designee, may limit the number of students eligible to pursue the certificate at any one time.

Course Requirements for the Certificate in Criminal Law
Students seeking the certificate generally will enter the program having already successfully completed as part of their J.D. degree program or other qualifying studies, the following basic law courses (or equivalents): LAWW 4074 Criminal Law (Irregular); LAWW 4173 Criminal Procedure I (Irregular); LAWW 6093 Basic Evidence (Irregular); and LAWW 5013 Professional Responsibility (Irregular).  Students who have not already completed one or more of these courses before entering the program may, however, do so during the time they are also pursuing the certificate.

Required Courses
LAWW 6203Trial Advocacy3
Electives
Select four of the following (at least three must be non-externships)
LAWW 6633Criminal Procedure II3
LAWW 6413Legal Clinic: Advanced Criminal Practice3
LAWW 5613Capital Punishment3
LAWW 4233Upper Level Writing: Crime and the Supreme Court3
LAWW 500VSpecial Topics (Federal Criminal Law)3
LAWW 5643International Criminal Law3
LAWW 7012Juvenile Justice Seminar2
LAWW 4212Upper Level Writing: Police Discretion2
LAWW 500VSpecial Topics (Prisoners' Rights Seminar)2
Externships
LAWW 673VCriminal Defense Externship1-3
LAWW 683VCriminal Prosecution Externship1-3

Other requirements:

J.D. Candidates: Our J.D. students must declare their intention to complete the program in the spring of their 2L year by notifying the Associate Dean.

The student must have a cumulative law school GPA of at least 2.75 and a GPA of 3.0 or above in certificate courses at the time the student declares. In order to receive the certificate upon graduation, the student must fulfill the requirements in §5-1408 in the Faculty Policies Manual, earn a GPA of 3.2 or above in certificate courses (including Criminal Certificate prerequisites), a cumulative GPA of at least 2.75, and a B+ or above in the criminal practice clinic, or other approved experiential capstone course (if graded).

J.D. Visitors: Those currently earning a J.D. at another ABA-accredited law school but visiting here may earn the criminal law certificate. They must apply to the Associate Dean by spring of their 2L year. These students can satisfy certificate course credits with courses taken at their own law school, but must take at least 12 credits in certificate courses here. Also, they must complete the criminal clinic program or other approved experiential capstone course here.

The student must have a cumulative law school GPA of at least 2.75 and a GPA of 3.0 or above in certificate courses at the time the student applies. In order to receive the certificate upon graduation, the student must fulfill the requirements in  §5-1408 in the Faculty Policies Manual, earn a GPA of at least 3.2 in certificate courses (including Criminal Certificate  prerequisites), and a B+ or above in the criminal practice clinic or other approved experiential capstone course (if graded).

Post-J.D. Candidates:  Those who have already earned a J.D. degree from an accredited law school in the United States may also earn a certificate.  They must apply to the Associate Dean before commencing the program.

For the purposes of this program, post-J.D. candidates can determine their GPA within the program based in part on courses completed elsewhere.  All post-J.D. candidates must fulfill the requirements in §5-1408 in the Faculty Policies Manual, at least 12 credits of which must be taken here, and they must complete or have completed the criminal clinic program or other approved experiential capstone course.

Post-J.D. candidates must have at least a cumulative GPA of 3.0 from the school that conferred their law degree.  To complete the program, they must earn a GPA of 3.2 or above in certificate courses (including Criminal Certificate prerequisites) and a B+ or above in the criminal practice clinic or other approved experiential capstone course (if graded).

LL.M. Candidates: Our LL.M. candidates must notify the Associate Dean no later than one month before enrollment in the LL.M. program of their intention to complete the program and must have the approval of the director of the LL.M. program.

For the purposes of this program, LL.M. candidates can determine their GPA within the program based in part on courses completed elsewhere.  LL.M. candidates must satisfy all the requirements in §5-1408 in the Faculty Policies Manual, at least 12 credits of which must be taken here, and must take the criminal practice clinic or other approved experiential capstone course here.

To declare, an LL.M. candidate must have at least a cumulative GPA of 3.0 from the school that conferred their law degree.  To complete the program, they must earn a GPA of 3.2 in certificate courses (including Criminal Certificate prerequisites), a cumulative GPA of at least 2.75, and a B+ or above in the criminal practice clinic or other approved experiential capstone course (if graded).

General Requirements (Non-J.D. and Non-LL.M. Candidates):  Post-baccalaureate students who are not enrolled as J.D. or LL.M. students at the law school (and do not have a J.D. degree) may also earn a certificate.  They must apply to the Associate Dean before commencing the program.  If they have taken at least 12 credits of the required certificate courses listed in §5-1408 in the Faculty Policies Manual at another ABA accredited law school, their GPA in those courses must be at least 3.0 to apply.  If they have not, their undergraduate cumulative GPA must be at least 3.5.  For the purposes of this program, these students can determine their GPA within the program based in part on courses completed elsewhere.

To earn the certificate, these students must complete all the coursework as set forth in  §5-1408 in the Faculty Policies Manual, at least 12 credits of which must be taken here, and they must complete the approved experiential capstone course here.  To complete the program, they must also earn a GPA of at least 3.2 in certificate courses (including Criminal Certificate prerequisites) and a B+ or above in the approved experiential capstone course (if graded).

Certificate; Substitute Courses; Enrollment Limit:  Each student completing the requirements will receive a certificate.  If appropriate, the Associate Dean may approve any new electives proposed to satisfy the elective requirements of the program.  The Associate Dean may limit the number of students eligible to pursue the certificate at any one time.