How to Apply


We are delighted you are considering SMU Dedman School of Law for your legal education. For nearly 100 years, this law school has trained women and men to be prominent lawyers in both business and law, nationally and internationally. J.D. and Graduate Degree Program information and application requirements are below. 

J.D. Program

SMU Dedman Law offers a full-time, three-year J.D. program (see the application requirements below).  We also offer two joint degrees, a J.D./M.B.A. offered jointly by the law school and the Cox School of Business, and a J.D./M.A. in economics offered jointly by the law school and the SMU Department of Economics in Dedman College. 

Graduate Degree (LL.M. and S.J.D.) Programs

Three graduate degree (LL.M.) programs are offered - LL.M. (General), Taxation and LL.M. degree for Foreign Law School Graduates.  See the application requirements below for LL.M. Program. 

S.J.D. Program  

The degree of Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) is the highest post-graduate law degree offered by the Dedman School of Law. Details of the program are here

J.D. Application Requirements

J.D. applicants must submit the following

  1. An electronic application via the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC), available here. This application process is fully accessible to the visually impaired.
  2. CAS report

Your file will not be reviewed until all required materials have been received. Letters of recommendation are optional. If you choose to submit letters of recommendation, we will accept up to three (3). Submit your letters of recommendation through the CAS Letter of Recommendation Service. 

J.D. Application Deadlines

Applications are processed on a continuous basis beginning in early November. It is in your best interest to submit your application as early as possible.

Regular Decision Late Decision
Application and Supporting Materials Due
March 1 After March 1
Decision Notification
End of April After file completion, on a rolling basis

Regular Decision

Applications and supporting materials, including your CAS report, must be received by March 1. We will accept the February LSAT for regular decision, even if the scores are posted after March 1, as long as your application and all other supporting materials are received by March 1. We will inform you that your application has been accepted, denied, or placed on a waiting list by the end of April.

Late Decision

Late decision applications are considered on a space-available basis. Applications will be reviewed upon completion, and decisions will be made shortly thereafter.

Waiver of Minimum Hour Requirement (Reduced Load Option)

A limited number of well-qualified J.D. applicants may request a waiver of the minimum hour requirement. Applicants seeking admission under the reduced-load option should submit a written statement explaining why they are interested in this option.

Qualifications 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. You can find each state’s requirements here.

The Admissions Process

The goal of our admissions process is to identify applicants who will flourish in law school and who will gain a distinct lifelong advantage by having attained a Dedman law degree. The application process is our opportunity to look at you as a whole person. We want to know about you and your accomplishments.

Throughout the admissions process, the Admissions Office will make every effort to give you prompt and individualized attention. Every application is read in its entirety; no decisions are made on the "numbers" alone. When evaluating an application, we look for well-rounded students who have proven evidence of academic success and who will enrich our overall educational community. Work and life experiences are also valuable components of an application. View SMU Dedman School of Law's Admissions Policy.

Before you apply

Register to take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Registration materials and test dates may be obtained at

Register with the LSAC's Credential Assembly Service (CAS). Registration for the CAS can be accomplished at the same time you register for the LSAT. Please note that LSAC will not send any law school a report until they have received transcripts from every undergraduate institution you have attended, including summer sessions and semesters abroad. You also must pay any necessary fees. SMU's LSAC code is 6660.

Although exceptions may be made in special circumstances, an entering student is required to have received a Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university prior to enrollment in the School of Law. The School of Law does not prescribe a fixed course of pre-legal study, but does examine the record of each applicant to determine whether the undergraduate courses taken reflect adequate preparation for the study of law. The student should pursue a well-rounded course of study, with particular attention devoted to the development of analytical skills, and facility and style in the use of the English language.


LL.M. applicants must submit the following

Applicants to the LL.M. programs (Comparative and International, Taxation, and General) must submit the following:

  1. Completed application
    2. Download the LL.M. APPLICATION in PDF format
  2. Personal statement
  3. Résumé
  4. Two letters of recommendation
  5. Certified undergraduate and law school transcripts. Transcripts must be mailed directly to the Admissions Office from your schools.

International Applicants

International applicants for whom English is not the primary language must take the TEST OF ENGLISH AS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS).  Information is available regarding the two tests from or SMU's institution code for the TOEFL is 6660, department code 03.  There is no institution code for the IELTS.  The TOEFL or IELTS score must be reported to SMU directly.  

Application Deadline

Applications for LL.M. programs are processed on a continuous basis beginning in early December. It is in your best interest to submit your application as early as possible. Applications must be postmarked by April 1. All supporting documentation must be received by April 15. Late applications will be accepted on a space-available basis. Applications will be reviewed upon completion, and decisions will be made shortly thereafter. 

Bar Exam Eligibility

International students who wish to practice law in this country and qualify for admission to the bar in one of the states or the District of Columbia should familiarize themselves with the bar admission requirements in the particular jurisdiction where they plan to practice. Bar admission requirements vary from state to state. Some states require applicants to have a J.D. degree, and others will require only a certain number of course credits from a law school in this country.  Texas now allows qualified foreign educated attorneys who have completed an LL.M. degree to sit for the Texas Bar examination.
For complete rules governing Admission to the State Bar of Texas CLICK HERE.

For information regarding the Eligibility of Foreign-Educated Applicants and Foreign Attorneys to take the Texas Bar Examination CLICK HERE.

Application to the J.D. Program

The J.D. is the basic law degree for U.S. law students. For this reason, the School of Law does not normally consider the degree appropriate for international students already possessing basic law degrees within their home countries.  However, in a limited number of instances, international students who have graduated with distinction in the LL.M. program of the Dedman School of Law and who can demonstrate legitimate graduate study objectives for furthering their careers in their home countries may be considered for admission to the J.D. program.  These students are not required to take the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT).  Admission under such conditions will normally entail an additional study of 72-87 credit hours.  Advanced credit, if any, is based upon the student’s foreign law study, not on the LL.M. credit.

Southern Methodist University (SMU) will not discriminate in any employment practice, education program, education activity, or admissions on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, sex, age, disability, genetic information, or veteran status.  SMU’s commitment to equal opportunity includes nondiscrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression.  The Executive Director for Access and Equity/Title IX1 Coordinator is designated to handle inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policies, including the prohibition of sex discrimination under Title IX.  The Executive Director/Title IX Coordinator may be reached at the Perkins Administration Building, Room 204, 6425 Boaz Lane, Dallas, TX 75205, 214-768-3601,  Inquiries regarding the application of Title IX may also be directed to the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education.


1 Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §§ 1681-1688.