J.D. Application Requirements

Applicants from a variety of academic backgrounds are offered admission each year. No specific undergraduate academic curriculum is required, but it is highly recommended that the course of study emphasizes skills in critical thinking and logical analysis and that students strive to develop strong writing skills.

International students who have completed the equivalent of a baccalaureate degree at an institution outside of the United States are eligible to be considered for admission to the J.D. program. Foreign-degree applicants must complete all requirements for domestic applicants and submit credentials to the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) for translation and evaluation. LSAC will then send the applicant's CAS report to the Thomas R. Kline School of Law of Duquesne University.

The Thomas R. Kline School of Law of Duquesne University does not accept students who have been dismissed from other law schools for academic reasons.

  • All candidates for admission must be graduates of an accredited college or university before registration at the School of Law.
  • There is NO application fee to apply to the Thomas R. Kline School of Law of Duquesne University.
  • Applicants must apply through the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC).
  • Check the status of your application online and in real-time.
  • Visit frequently asked questions for more information.


Applications for all divisions are accepted after September 1 for the following academic year. Decisions are made on a rolling basis; therefore, it is in your best interest to apply well before the priority deadline of April 1. Applications received after the priority deadline will be evaluated on a space-available basis. Decisions can take 6-8 weeks from when an application is placed in review, and we will begin notifying applicants of their acceptance in December. Applicants are responsible for submitting all required items and can check the status of their application online via the Application Status Check.

  • JD applications received by April 1 for priority consideration are guaranteed to be considered for a merit scholarship.*
  • JD applications received after the priority deadline may be considered for a merit scholarship.
    Binding Early Decision Program applications must be completed no later than December 31.

*Students may submit their application prior to taking the LSAT. We recommend applicants take the LSAT twice.  

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Before an application can be considered, the following items must be submitted:

Application Form

The J.D. Application is available at www.lsac.org 

Check the status of your application online and in real-time.

Credential Assembly Service (CAS) Report

The CAS Report includes your LSAT score(s), transcript(s), and letter(s) of recommendation. Applicants must submit their undergraduate and graduate transcripts from ALL institutions attended to LSAC so that they can be included in the CAS Report. CAS reports will also include all LSAT scores received in the last five years. The Admissions Committee will review all previous scores, but will use the highest score for reporting purposes.

Law School Admission Test (LSAT) or Graduate Record Exam (GRE)

All applicants for admission are required to take the LSAT or the GRE.

The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) offers the LSAT and scores will be sent via the CAS Report.

The GRE is offered by ETS. Applicants who elect to take the GRE must request that ETS send the GRE scores to Thomas R. Kline School of Law of Duquesne University using our institution code 3377. We will only accept official score reports from ETS.

When to take the LSAT or GRE?
Because decisions are made on a rolling basis, it is in your best interest to take the LSAT or GRE early in the admissions cycle. We recommend that you plan to take the LSAT or GRE twice. We will accept the highest score you receive. 

If you have taken both the LSAT and the GRE, all scores will be reported to the School of Law, and you will be considered an LSAT candidate. As part of the holistic review, we will consider all application information submitted. 

Students may submit their application before taking the LSAT or GRE.

LSAT and GRE test scores are valid for five years.

Letter of Recommendation

One letter of recommendation is required for each applicant. Two additional letters may be submitted for consideration. A recommendation should be submitted by a professor familiar with the applicant's academic work. Applicants who have been out of school for some time may submit a letter from an employer. Submitting letters of recommendation from family members or friends is strongly discouraged.

Letters of recommendation must be submitted through the CAS letter of recommendation service.

Personal Statement

A one- to two-page typed essay must be submitted. There is no required topic, but applicants should view the personal statement as an opportunity to provide the Admissions Committee with more information about themselves beyond their transcripts and LSAT scores. Applicants often address their backgrounds, why they want to practice law, and why they would like to attend the Thomas R. Kline School of Law of Duquesne University.


Applicants must submit a current resume or CV via the LSAC application.


Foreign-degree candidates whose primary language is not English must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the IELTS. The TOEFL or IELTS should be taken by February 1 of the year in which you plan to enroll. The deadline to submit the application is the same as that for new domestic applicants, but it is suggested that foreign degree candidates apply as early as possible to allow sufficient time for credentials evaluation.

The Admissions Committee will generally consider a total TOEFL score of 100 or IELTS of 7.5 to be minimally acceptable.

Optional Essays

From its establishment in 1911, the Thomas R. Kline School of Law of Duquesne University has maintained a commitment to enrolling students who represent a broad section of our community and society. We understand that a diverse student body strengthens the quality of interaction, awareness and education for the entire legal community.

The Optional Essays provide us with important, relevant information that may not be found in other parts of the application for admission. Please complete one or more of the essays on the topics provided. Essays should be one to two pages in length (double spaced, with 11-point font). Please include the essay title at the top of the page.

  • Essay one - Why Duquesne Kline School of Law?
    Let us know why Duquesne Kline School of Law is a good fit for you.
  • Essay two - Overcoming Obstacles
    Describe how you have been able to overcome obstacles in your life, education, and/or career. How do your experiences, background and perspectives add to the strength of the educational experience and the legal
  • Essay three - Leadership
    In this ever-changing society, leadership has become increasingly important for lawyers to be effective advocates. Leadership is developed and demonstrated in many ways; volunteer work, sports, and work experience are just some of the areas where leadership is demonstrated. Please submit an essay about your leadership experience.
  • Essay four - Volunteer/Service Experience
    The Duquesne University mission can be stated simply, "We Serve God by Serving Students." The Duquesne Kline motto advises, "The welfare of the people is the highest law." Considering these statements, please discuss your volunteer/service experience.

Character and Fitness Information

The Thomas R. Kline School of Law of Duquesne University application requests information regarding your character and fitness. Complete and accurate information is essential. Failure to furnish all supporting credentials or the furnishing of incorrect information may invalidate admission and registration. Any false or misleading statement, incomplete or inaccurate information, omission of the required information, or failure to update changes in information in this application may cause you to be denied admission; or, if admitted, to be dismissed from the Duquesne Kline School of Law, or cause your degree to be revoked, and may jeopardize licensure with Boards of Bar Examiners. 

Graduates of Duquesne Kline School of Law are eligible to take bar examinations in all jurisdictions of the United States.

Qualification for Admission to the Bar:
In addition to a bar examination, there are character, fitness, and other qualifications for admission to the bar in every U.S. jurisdiction. Applicants are encouraged to determine the requirements for any jurisdiction in which they intend to seek admission by contacting the jurisdiction. Addresses for all relevant agencies are available through the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

Continuing Obligation to Notify

Applicants/admitted students have a continuing obligation to notify the Thomas R. Kline School of Law of Duquesne University immediately if any of the following events occur: (1) They are apprehended, cited, arrested, taken into custody for, charged with, indicted or tried for, or plead guilty or no contest (nolo contendere) to, the commission of any crime, except for summary traffic violations unrelated to the use of intoxicants; (2) They are found guilty of an honor code violation at any institution of higher learning; (3) They are subject to disciplinary action by any educational institution, governmental or administrative agency (including any branch of the Armed Forces); or (4) They are notified of any misconduct or irregularity by the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC). Duquesne Kline School of Law reserves the right to revoke one's acceptance based on the nature of the event.

Applicants should retain copies of all items submitted as part of the admission application. These materials become the property of Duquesne Kline School of Law and will be neither reproduced nor returned to the applicant. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that the file for Admissions Committee consideration is complete and that all required documents have been received by the Admissions Office.

Other Programs

Applicants who know early on in the application cycle that Duquense Kline School of Law is their first choice may consider applying Early Decision. Duquesne Kline's Early Decision Program is binding and requires that applicants withdraw all applications from other schools if admitted to Duquesne Kline School of Law. Applicants may not apply Early Decision at more than one law school and may not initiate new applications after admission. If admitted through the Early Decision Program, you must commit to matriculating at Duquesne Kline School of Law and submit a nonrefundable seat deposit by the deadline on your letter of admission. This program is best suited for applicants who have put considerable thought and research into their law school options early-on in the application cycle.

To be considered for Early Decision, your application must be complete, including your Credential Assembly Service Law School Report, by December 31st. The November LSAT is the last acceptable score for consideration as an Early Decision candidate. You will be notified of the Admissions Committee's decision to either admit, deny, or waitlist by January 31st. Applicants who are waitlisted are released from the binding obligation of the program and will be evaluated with the rest of the applicant pool in the spring.

Applicants who are admitted through the Early Decision Program will receive the same scholarship consideration as applicants in the regular decision pool. Applicants for whom scholarship aid is a primary factor should not apply Early Decision, as you will not have the opportunity to compare scholarship awards from multiple schools.

To apply as an Early Decision candidate, you must complete and attach the Binding Early Decision Agreement to your application.

The only circumstance in which candidates may apply for admission without a baccalaureate degree is through a pre-arranged 3/3 Early Admissions Agreement between the applicant's institution (partners listed below) and the Duquesne Kline School of Law. The program enables students to receive a bachelor's degree after three years of undergraduate work and completing the first year of law school. The program allows students to complete a B.A./B.S. degree and a law degree (J.D.) in six years rather than the typical seven.

Eligibility Requirements

Eligibility for the 3/3 early admission program generally requires a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.5 over three years; completion of all undergraduate curricular requirements; a minimum LSAT score in at least the 60th percentile (students interested in applying should take the LSAT in the fall or winter of their junior year); a letter of recommendation from a pre-law advisor, undergraduate advisor, and/or a professor to the School of Law's Office of Admissions; and a personal interview with the Admissions Committee.

3/3 Early Admission Program partners:

Alvernia University
Assumption University
Bennett College
Bethany College
Carlow University
Carnegie Mellon University-College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Chatham University
DeSales University
Duquesne University
Elizabethtown College
Franciscan University of Steubenville
Gannon University
Juniata College
King's College
Lake Erie College
Mercyhurst College
Robert Morris University
Seton Hill University
St. Bonaventure University
St. Francis University
St. Vincent College
Thiel College
University of Findlay
University of Scranton
Washington and Jefferson College
Waynesburg University
Westminster College
Wheeling University
Xavier University of Louisiana

Institutions comprising the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education:
Bloomsburg University
Cheyney University
East Stroudsburg University
Indiana University
Kutztown University
Lock Haven University
Mansfield University
Millersville University
PennWest California
PennWest Clarion
PennWest Edinboro
Shippensburg University
Slippery Rock University
West Chester University

Students may participate in joint degree programs with Thomas R. Kline School of Law of Duquesne University and select graduate programs. The process begins with an independent application to each program. Upon admission, the student should consult with each school to plan the course of study.

Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration
Thomas R. Kline School of Law of Duquesne University/John F. Donahue Graduate School of Business

Juris Doctor/Master of Science in Environmental Science and Management
Thomas R. Kline School of Law of Duquesne University/School of Science and Engineering


Juris Doctor/Master of Arts in Healthcare Ethics
Thomas R. Kline School of Law of Duquesne University/McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts


Juris Doctor/Master of Arts in Philosophy
Thomas R. Kline School of Law of Duquesne University/McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts


Juris Doctor/Master of Divinity
Thomas R. Kline School of Law of Duquesne University/Pittsburgh Theological Seminary


Students may apply for transfer admission to the Thomas R. Kline School of Law of Duquesne University. Applicants for admission to a class other than the first year who have begun the study of law at another school must meet all regular requirements for admission to the first-year program, along with several other stipulations. Duquesne Kline School of Law does not accept students who have been dismissed from other law schools for academic reasons.

  • Transfer Application available through www.lsac.org on May 1.
  • Transfer Application deadline is July 15.
  • Decisions will be made by late July.


Transfer applicants must present satisfactory evidence of having been in regular attendance at an ABA-approved law school and must be in good standing and unconditionally eligible to return to studies at that school. 

Before a transfer application will be considered the applicant must have completed the equivalent course requirements of a first-year, full-time day student at the Duquesne Kline School of Law.

Application Procedure

Transfer applicants must meet all requirements for a first-year student and must submit the Transfer Application along with the following:

  • A Credential Assembly Service from the LSAC (a copy from the current law school is acceptable).
  • An official transcript of all completed law school work.
  • A letter from the law school attended certifying that the applicant is in good standing and is eligible to return there. The letter should not be written until the student successfully completes all of his or her academic work in which the student is currently enrolled.
  • A personal statement indicating reasons for transfer.
  • A current resume
  • A letter of recommendation from someone who has evaluated your work in your first year of law school
Transfer FAQs

When should I apply for a transfer?
You should apply between May 1 and July 15 of the year you wish to transfer. Please use the "Transfer Application" at www.lsac.org. Do not use the regular JD application.

How many transfers are admitted each year?
Duquesne Kline School of Law does not have a quota or goal number of transfer students to admit each year. In some years we have admitted several transfer students; in other years we have admitted none. Admission depends upon the strength of your application materials and the rigor of the program you are currently in, including your success as a 1L at your current law school.

Can I apply if I am currently attending a non-ABA-accredited law school?
Unfortunately, we will not admit transfer students from non-ABA-accredited law schools.

Do you accept students that have been academically dismissed from another law school?
Duquesne Kline School of Law does not accept students who have been dismissed from other law schools for academic reasons.

Will the grades that I earned at my old law school be factored into my Duquesne Kline School of Law GPA?
No. Grades earned in courses accepted for transfer credit will not be included in the computation of a student's grade point average.

Can I transfer all of my credits from my old law school to Duquesne Kline School of Law?
No. The grade earned in any course for which transfer credits are sought must be, at a minimum, the equivalent of the School of Law's passing grade of "C."

What is the maximum number of credits that I can transfer to Duquesne Kline School of Law?
No more than twenty-nine (29) transfer credits will be accepted toward satisfaction of the J.D. degree. Please contact the law school Registrar's Office for the transfer credit policy.

Are transfer students eligible for merit scholarships?
Transfer students should complete the FAFSA and have the results sent to Duquesne University with school code 003258 in order to apply for student loans. Transfer students are not eligible for incoming merit-based scholarships.

Are transfer students eligible for Law Review?
There are no guaranteed spaces on Law Review for transfer students, but transfer students are eligible to participate in the writing competition for Law Review. Transfer students who would like to apply for Law Review must complete the write-on competition as well as an editing and citation exercise. Instructions regarding this process are available after July 15.

A student currently enrolled at another law school may apply as a visiting/non-matriculating student. The Visiting/Non-Matriculating Application will be available electronically through www.lsac.org. 

Visiting/Non-Matriculating applicants must submit the application along with the following:

  • A statement indicating your reasons for visiting Duquesne Kline School of Law
  • Resumé
  • Official transcript of all your completed law school work
  • Letter of Good Standing from your current law school
  • Letter of Permission from your current law school to take classes at Duquesne Kline School of Law

The deadline to apply as a visiting/non-matriculating student for admission in the fall is July 1.

The deadline to apply as a visiting/non-matriculating student for admission in the spring is December 1.

Thank you for applying to the Thomas R. Kline School of Law of Duquesne University.

You can check the status of your application online and in real-time. A login and password will be emailed to you after we have processed your application. Decisions can take approximately 6-8 weeks from the time the application is placed In Review status. With the exception of Early Decision Program applicants, decisions are rendered on a rolling basis. All Early Decision Program applicants will receive a decision by the end of January.

  • Decisions will be reflected on the online application status check and are also sent to applicants via email.*
  • Applicants who are denied admission in one division are not eligible to be subsequently considered for other divisions.
  • All admissions decisions are final.

* Please add lawadmissions@duq.edu to your Contacts to ensure that you do not miss any important emails from our office. Please also be sure to check your Junk/Spam folders.

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