MSU College of Law

J.D. Admission with Advanced Standing: Candidates with a Foreign Law Degree

Admission with Advanced Standing allows graduates of foreign law schools the chance to transfer up to 29 credits from these programs to the J.D. program at the MSU College of Law. This unique option can dramatically reduce the time and cost of getting a Juris Doctor, while allowing students the same benefits of a traditional three-year J.D..Students admitted to the Advanced Standing J.D. program must complete all J.D. curricular requirements, but have the flexibility to customize their academic program to meet their individual career goals.

For students who wish to take a U.S. bar examination, the Advanced Standing J.D. offers stronger preparation than the one-year LL.M. degree, while adding only one additional year of study.

Evaluation of Transfer Credits - Graduates of Foreign Law Schools

Given vast differences in grading systems, grading scales, program length and course requirements at law schools around the world, each individual candidate’s academic record will be examined closely to determine how many credits may transfer to the J.D. Program.  

While a maximum of 29 credits may be accepted toward the J.D. Program, upon evaluation by the College of Law, some students may be granted fewer transfer credits.

Upon admission, students will receive a formal Transfer Credit Evaluation (TCE) detailing how many credits are accepted toward the J.D. program and what program requirements must be met for graduation at MSU Law.

Admission with Advanced Standing is based on a holistic review of the applicant’s admissions application and supporting documentation. A video interview may also be requested.  Applicants are not required to take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT).

Applications will be accepted on a rolling admissions basis beginning December 1, 2016 for Fall 2017 (August) admission. Unlike the Master of Laws (LL.M.) programs, which admit students for both Fall and Spring semesters, Advanced Standing J.D. students can only begin courses in the Fall (August).

As with all other JD candidates, candidates for the J.D. with Advanced Standing must apply via the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) and register for the LSAC Credential Assembly Service for evaluation of their foreign credentials. Since law school transcripts are different than those from other disciplines, only transcripts submitted via LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service will be accepted.

Applicants can create an LSAC account (required for application) at https://os.lsac.org/Release/Logon/Access.aspx.

LSAC acts as an admissions clearinghouse for the majority of U.S. law schools. Students can fill out individual school applications online through LSAC, submit personal statements to individual schools, and otherwise complete their applications.

Via LSAC, students submit one copy of their letters of recommendation, resume, transcripts and other documents, and they will then be distributed to all schools to which the applicant is applying. While LSAC requires original transcripts for credential evaluation and admissions review, the MSU College of Law still requires admitted students to submit original transcripts to MSU Law. This means that original transcripts from the foreign law institution must be sent by the home institution directly to MSU Law before the student can matriculate.

The following is a list of application requirements:

    • A completed application via LSAC
    • Application and application fee
    • Credential Assembly Service report via LSAC
    • Official transcripts issued by the law school attended
    • CV/resume
    • Two letters of recommendation, preferably written by law school faculty members who taught you.
    • If your first language is not English and your undergraduate or legal education was not completed at a school where instruction was in English, you must submit a TOEFL score of 100 or higher or IELTS of 7.0 or higher.
    • A course syllabus for each course taken at a law school outside of the U.S.

Transcripts from outside the United States must be submitted for evaluation and translation (if necessary) to the Credential Assembly Service of the Law School Admission Council. To become a candidate for the J.D. degree, students must have either a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. regionally accredited institution or an equivalent degree from an international institution.

Submission of transcripts for evaluation will allow us to determine if your international degree satisfies this admission requirement. Visit the Credential Assembly Service of the Law School Admission Council for more information about this service.
Students accepted with to the J.D. program with Advanced Standing will be required to participate in the Law College’s orientation activities in mid-August, so that they have full preparation to begin their studies. Attendance is required, and students are expected to make travel arrangements accordingly.

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For more information, email Carrie Feeheley, Director of the Office of Graduate and International Programs, at feehelec@law.msu.edu or call +1/517 432-6963.