The Juris Doctor (JD) degree is a graduate law degree that may lead to qualification for the practice of law in Singapore. At NUS, you may select from one of two JD programs: (i) a 2-year single graduate degree program for candidates holding a basic law degree from another jurisdiction; or (ii) a 3-year single graduate degree program for candidates holding a non-law degree.
The 3-year JD will replace the Graduate LLB (GLB) program, and it can be completed in 2.5 years in exceptional circumstances.
Why a JD at NUS?
You would most likely want to read a JD if you want to practice law in Singapore, subject to the "Qualified Person" requirements imposed by the Legal Profession (Qualified Persons) Rules. NUS Law is ranked the #12 law school in the world, and #1 in Asia by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) 2020. We offer a comprehensive range of specializations in areas such as Corporate & Financial Services Law, Intellectual Property & Technology Law, and International Arbitration & Dispute Resolution, taught by over 70 full-time faculty members and over two dozen adjunct faculty members.
Each year, a number of visiting professors from some of the top universities in the world, including Harvard, Yale, Oxford, Cambridge, the LSE, Melbourne, Seoul National University, and the University of Hong Kong among many others, also offer elective modules taught intensively over three weeks, thus increasing the richness of your academic experience at NUS Law.
The JD, whether in the 2-year or 3-year program, is made up of a number of prescribed compulsory modules and elective modules which may be chosen from a number of specialization clusters.
The compulsory modules aim to:
Give an understanding of the basic law modules and general principles;
Provide training in the basic skills essential for every lawyer, including analysis, research, writing, advocacy, and problem-solving; and
Give an appreciation of the role of law and lawyers in their own society and in the global community to better equip a lawyer to deal with the challenges of globalization.
The elective modules allow students to pursue their interests in a particular field of law. They may select from a broad and diverse range of subject clusters, including Asian Legal Studies, Corporate & Financial Services Law, Intellectual Property & Technology Law, International & Comparative Law, International Arbitration & Dispute Resolution, Maritime Law, Private Law, Law & Society, and Research & Skills.
Student Exchange Program (SEP)
The SEP offers an excellent opportunity for students to spend either one or both semesters of their third year at a foreign university. We have partnerships with leading law schools in Australia, Canada, East Asia, Europe, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and the United States. Presently, more than one-third of our third-year LLB students have the opportunity to participate in a SEP. The same overseas student exchange opportunities that are available to the GLB students will also be available to the JD students in the 3-year program. Overseas student exchange will not be available in either the accelerated JD program or the 2-year JD program.
International Mooting Competitions
One of the most intense and valuable educational experiences a student can have is to represent NUS in an international mooting competition. The Faculty of Law has an unparalleled track record in international mooting competitions.
Successful completion of the JD program leads to the award of the following classes of degrees: JD (Highest Distinction), JD (Distinction), JD (Merit), and JD. Please click HERE.
For purposes of seeking admission to the Singapore Bar, students must attain at least a JD (Merit) to be considered a Qualified Person under the Legal Profession (Qualified Persons) Rules.
Admission and Application
Prospective applicants should possess the following academic qualifications to be considered for admission:
For the 3-year JD program: A university degree in any non-law discipline with at least a Cum Laude or Second Class Upper Honours degree or its equivalent.
For the 2-year JD program: Law graduates from a civil law country or a non-gazetted common law university with at least a Cum Laude or Second Class Upper Honours degree or its equivalent. We particularly welcome applications from ASEAN, China, and European jurisdictions.
Those completing their first degree by early July of the year of admission (August intake) may also apply.
Applicants whose university degree is from English-medium institutions in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States will not be required to submit proof of English language proficiency. All others will be required to submit a minimum TOEFL iBT total score of 100 or a minimum IELTS (Academic) overall band score of 7.5. If your degree was conducted entirely in the English medium and you wish to seek a waiver of this requirement, please submit your request together with supporting documents, and it will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
(Note: In view of COVID-19, TOEFL iBT® Special Home Edition, TOEFL ITP® Plus (with a score of at least 627) for China and IELTS indicator (with the same scores as the standard IELTS test) will be accepted in the interim until testing centers reopen.)
Two academic referees will be required. Two recommendation letters from the employer can be accepted as an alternative if the applicants have left school for some years. The referee reports or recommendation letters are to be submitted together with the online application.
All applicants should furnish (i) a personal statement; and (ii) a one to two-page curriculum vitae, setting out their educational history and work experiences (if any).
Written Test and Interview
All shortlisted applicants must undergo an interview and a written test. The interview and test will be conducted between February and March. Details will be provided to shortlisted applicants.