JD Curriculum

General Law Program

Although the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University offers a number of structured specialization options, students are not required to specialize in their legal studies. Many students enter law school without a clearly defined area of interest. Those students may pursue a general course of study, choosing electives as their interests develop. 

JD Course Requirements

All Scalia Law students, whether pursuing a JD Concentration or the General Law Program, are required to satisfactorily complete 89 credit hours for graduation. Forty of those credit hours are in general courses; the remaining credit hours are in elective courses. 

For information on course requirements, see JD Course Requirements.

For information on individual courses, see Course Descriptions.

JD Program Learning Outcomes

Scalia Law maintains a rigorous program of legal education that, consistent with ABA Standards, prepares its students, upon graduation, for admission to the bar and for effective, ethical, and responsible participation as members of the legal profession. Upon completion of their degree, Scalia Law students will have met the following learning outcomes designed to achieve these objectives:

  1. Legal Knowledge: Graduates will possess knowledge of the substantive and procedural law that is the foundation of the American legal system and will possess the ability to acquire and master advanced knowledge of the law.
  2. Legal Writing: Graduates will have the ability to write competent legal documents in both the litigation and transactional contexts.
  3. Advocacy Skills: Graduates will be able to engage in effective oral advocacy, legal reasoning, and problem-solving.
  4. Law and Economics: Graduates will be able to apply basic economic concepts to enhance their understanding of the law and legal outcomes.
  5. Professionalism and Professional Responsibility: Students will demonstrate the professional skills necessary for effective and ethical participation in the legal profession.

A Choice of Programs: Day and Evening

Students attending the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University may pursue full-time day study or part-time evening study. Unlike many other law school programs, the day and evening programs stand on equal footing, as the courses taught in the day and evening divisions are identical.

JD Focus Areas & Concentrations

Students may elect to complete significant coursework in one of 18 Focus Areas of the law. A formal Concentration can be achieved in the Focus Areas of Antitrust Law, National Security Law, Cyber Law, Tax Law, Patent Law, and Public Interest Litigation. Please visit our JD Focus Areas & Concentrations page.

Legal Research, Writing, and Analysis

The Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University offers an intensive three-year legal writing program to prepare its students for the practical demands in the practice of law. In the first year, students are introduced to both enacted law and common law, learn a variety of research methodologies using both print and electronic database resources, learn the art of analyzing legal concepts, and the practical skills of presenting this research and analysis in a coherent, organized, and logical written product. Students begin writing objective legal memoranda in the first semester, and then progress to the art of persuasive writing through a trial level problem, where students are required to write both pre-trial pleadings and trial memoranda. At the end of the second semester, students engage in oral argument before local practitioners and judges.

In the third semester, students continue developing and refining their research, analytical, and persuasive writing skills by working through an appellate problem. Students research, draft, an complete both an appellant’s brief and an appellee’s brief  in compliance with the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure. Students also engage in oral argument before legal practitioners. In the fourth semester, students are introduced to technical drafting work. Students may take one of two courses: a corporate and transactional course that includes drafting contracts and corporate resolutions, performing due diligence, forming corporate entities, and engaging in contract negotiation with practicing attorneys or a legislative and regulatory course that includes drafting a statute, a notice of proposed rulemaking, and final regulations as well as participating in negotiations over proposed regulations.

The LRWA Program at Scalia Law also requires at least two additional writing courses beyond the first two years. For those students in the general law track, the additional writing requirement can be satisfied by taking either two 400- or 600-level seminar courses or one 400-/600-level seminar and one “Writing” course (designated by a (W) following the title of the course). Students in the specialty track programs use their theses and other required courses to fulfill the upper-level writing requirements.

Economic and Quantitative Methods

In 1996, the American Bar Association Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar drafted a proposal identifying the basic areas of knowledge that are important to a sophisticated legal education and to the development of a competent attorney. Two are of particular interest to us:

  • A sound grounding in economics, particularly elementary microeconomic theory;
  • Some basic mathematical and financial skills, including an ability to analyze financial data.

George Mason has integrated these disciplines into our law and economics-oriented curriculum. Our curriculum introduces students to legal methods along with economic and quantitative tools, stressing the application of the nonlegal methods in legal contexts. We reinforce this strategy in other courses at the School of Law that are taught by professors of law who are also experts in some areas of economics and quantitative methods.

Additional Educational Opportunities at the Antonin Scalia Law School 

George Mason is proud of the academic centers located at the Antonin Scalia Law School. Through these centers, we bring extraordinary talent into our law school and enhance our existing programs. These centers also create a strong network in various areas of law that greatly benefits our students as they explore the multitude of career opportunities available to them.

Law & Economics Center (LEC)

Founded in 1974, the Law & Economics Center is a vital component of the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University. The LEC has developed an international reputation for its outstanding educational institutes, seminars, and conferences for federal and state court judges.

Center for Intellectual Property x Innovation Policy (C-IP2)

The Center for Intellectual Property x Innovation Policy (C-IP2) at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University is dedicated to the scholarly analysis of intellectual property rights and the technological, commercial and creative innovation they facilitate.

The C. Boyden Gray Center for the Study of the Administrative State

The first of its kind, The C. Boyden Gray Center for the Study of the Administrative State examines the administrative state as a whole, its constitutional foundations and its political and economic impacts.

Global Antitrust Institute (GAI)

The Global Antitrust Institute was created to promote the application of sound economic analysis to competition enforcement around the world through training programs, competition advocacy, and research.

National Security Institute (NSI)

The National Security Institute is dedicated to finding real-world answers to national security law and policy questions and strives to provide balance to the public discourse on the most difficult national security challenges facing the United States and its allies.

Liberty & Law Center

The Liberty and Law Center is a forum to learn about the relationship between liberty and law, challenge government encroachment upon liberty, and lead the discussion of the law's role in protecting and promoting liberty.