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Juris Doctor

Law Programme
(Criminal & Family Law)

Train and produce lawyers for the practice of law in Singapore particularly in the areas of Criminal Law and Family Law.

Juris Doctor


Singapore University of Social Sciences is the only university in Singapore dedicated to working adults, allowing them to pursue lifelong learning and higher education while balancing career, family and social responsibilities. The primary focus of the University School of Law is to train and produce lawyers for the practice of law in Singapore particularly in the areas of Criminal Law and Family Law. This is part of the national effort to meet the need for lawyers in the areas of Criminal Law and Family Law. Currently, there is a gap in the supply in terms of well-trained lawyers for these areas of law. Traditionally, lawyers tend to gravitate to the commercial areas of law thus leaving a gap in Criminal Law and Family Law areas. From the perspective of our society, this is a concern we need to address. Singapore University of Social Sciences School of Law seeks to address this shortfall.

However, even when this shortfall of practitioners is overcome, it remains a fact that Criminal Law and Family Law affects families, communities and the society in Singapore: the practitioners are involved in more than just legal issues. The School of Law will offer more training and exposure to cross-disciplinary areas like sociology, social work and forensics, to prepare students for family and criminal legal work that have become increasingly specialised over time. In time, the School of Law will be a focal point for the broader eco-system of practitioners, students, government bodies and non-governmental organisations working in these fields, generating relevant and cross-cutting research in collaboration with similar institutes in Singapore and overseas jurisdictions.

In view of Singapore University of Social Sciences School of Law's emphasis on the practice of law, the focus will be on applied learning to prepare our graduates for the practice of law in Singapore.

As the emphasis is on applied learning, the University law programmes will concentrate on core areas of law including Criminal Law and Family Law as well as related non-law subjects rather than the academic areas such as jurisprudence. To better prime and prepare our graduates for practice in the community, students will be offered relevant non-law subjects as part of their core curriculum. These subjects will include compulsory courses in Social Services and Forensic Science.


Admission Requirements

The Juris Doctor (JD) programme is open to Singaporeans and Permanent Residents only. This programme is unable to enrol international students or non-citizens.

The JD programme has the following minimum admission criteria:

  • Applicants to the JD programme must have at least a bachelor's degree AND substantial work experience;
  • Demonstrate aptitude to practice law through taking the Law National Aptitude Test (LNAT)1.
  • All applicants will be required to provide a full CV detailing their work experience as well.

Additionally, applicants must also meet the following mother tongue (MTL) requirement:

GCE A Levels / NUS High School DiplomaInternational Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma
  • minimum of D7 for the higher MTL paper taken at the 'O' Level examination
  • minimum of 'S' grade for the H1 MTL paper or General Studies in Chinese
  • minimum of 'S' grade for the H2 MTL paper taken at the 'A' Level examination
  • pass in the MTL 'B' Syllabus paper at the 'A' Level examination
  • minimum of D7 for the higher MTL paper taken at the 'O' Level examination
  • minimum of 'S' grade for the H1 MTL paper or General Studies in Chinese
  • minimum of 'S' grade for the H2 MTL paper taken at the 'A' Level examination
  • pass in the MTL 'B' Syllabus paper at the 'A' Level examination
  • pass in SL/HL MTL A or B paper taken at IBDP Examination

If you have been exempted from MTL, the MOE-approved subject-in-lieu will be considered as your MTL subject.

Applicants who have not satisfied the MTL requirement above may be admitted on a provisional basis and will be required to attain the MTL within the period of their University study before being permitted to graduate from the University.

All eligible students will be assessed through admission interviews, a review of their personal statements on aspirations and motivations and any supporting evidence of their commitment to the practice of criminal and family law.

1LNAT is a registered trademark of LNAT Consortium Limited. Details of the test, including training for it is available at . The actual test is administered through Pearson VUE, and is available at the Singapore test-centres.

Programme Structure

Students under the Juris Doctor (JD) programme will need to fulfil 150 credit units.

The JD degree programme is meant for students who already have a Bachelor's degree in other disciplines. These students will complete their degree in about 4 years as they will not be doing any electives.

All School of Law students are expected to complete their degree within 6 years. On a case-by-case basis this may be extended to 8 years.

Graduates of the JD programme are required to complete 150 credit units comprising:

  • 10 credit units of Preparatory Courses
  • 100 credit units of Legal Knowledge Courses
  • 10 credit units of Allied Knowledge (relevant non-law) Courses
  • 15 credit units of Professional Courses
  • 15 credit units under the Legal Clerkship Programme

Graduates are also required to complete as a condition of graduation, the following:

  • 20 hours of pro bono services as required under the rules of the Singapore Institute of Legal Education.

In light of the content of the Preparatory Courses, and the compulsory Allied Knowledge courses, students of the law programmes will not have to take any SUSS Core courses.

Preparatory Course
The Preparatory Courses introduce the students to the nuts and bolts of the study of law and reinforces the importance of being able to read and write well.

Legal Knowledge
Students take 100 credit units of legal knowledge courses covering the foundations of legal knowledge, and other subject areas commonly encountered by the legal practitioner.

Throughout these courses, the students will also be developing their skills of reading, listening, legal research, analysis, and advocacy.

The students will spend the entire second year of their studies on criminal and family law, procedure and evidence, a feature designed to produce law graduates with skills focused on community legal practice. This is one of the distinguishing features of this programme.

Allied Knowledge
All law students will take at least 10 credit units of Allied Knowledge courses introducing them to social services in Singapore, and also to forensics, the science behind crime scene investigations.

Professional Courses
The professional training section echoes the requirements of the report of the 4th Committee for there to be elements of practical/vocational training in this degree. In this, the students will be given training in trial advocacy, ethical legal practice and client care, as well as in mediation. For our students, exposure to practical professional issues this early ensures that these skills will be firmly reinforced when encountered again at Part B of the Singapore Bar Examinations.

Legal Clerkship Programme
Practical training within the law degree programmes is a unique feature of the School of Law. The Legal Clerkship Programme will provide students with structured training in the application of their legal and professional knowledge. This clinical training would be the most appropriate platform for authentic practical training in real-life situations. The training would be arranged through institutions that work with criminal and family law, such as the Legal Aid Bureau, the Law Society's Pro Bono Services Office, or the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme and relevant state agencies such as the Attorney-General's Chambers.

One of the mandates of the Singapore University of Social Sciences School of Law is to train lawyers with a heart for and who will eventually practise as lawyers within the community primarily in Criminal Law practice and Family Law practice. Accordingly our student recruitment will focus on and give preference to applicants who have a fair amount of work experience. Preference will be given to applicants who have worked for some time in related fields such as social work, law enforcement, and the prison service.

Other applicants who can show current involvement in community work connected with Criminal Law and Family Law will also be given preferred consideration.

The JD will be recognised degrees under the Legal Profession Act, and provided the student graduates with a minimum cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of 3.5, he/she will be a 'qualified person' under the Legal Profession Act and will be eligible to sit for Part B of the Singapore Bar Examinations.

The graduate is qualified to practise law in any area, but he/she will have particular knowledge and skills to excel in the fields of criminal law and family law.

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