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Enhance Your JD and Explore the Justice System With a Criminal Practice Certificate.

A just and fair society requires a just and fair criminal justice system.  The goal of the Criminal Practice Certificate is to prepare you for a career in criminal prosecution and defense, where you can serve the goals of justice and fairness as part of the next generation of ethically responsible leaders among the bench and bar. The Criminal Practice Certificate program at Mississippi College School of Law offers a combination of rigorous course offerings in criminal law and theory with intensive practice-focused experiential training.

students on steps

Gain hands-on experience in Criminal Practice

You'll have opportunities to gain hands-on experience in our nationally recognized advocacy program or by completing externships with the U.S. Attorney, District Attorney, Attorney General, federal or state Public Defender, or federal or state trial and appellate courts. All just steps away in downtown Jackson, Mississippi’s capital city and the heart of the state’s legal community.

Requirements for A Certificate in Criminal Practice

To earn the Certificate in Criminal Practice, a student must earn 25 credits from the following courses designated as Required Courses, Electives and Skills Courses as well as fulfill the writing requirement and courtroom observations requirements. The course requirements are listed in the Criminal Practice Certificate Worksheet. Students must maintain an overall minimum GPA of 3.0 in all courses in the certificate program to complete the certificate requirements. Additionally, students must earn at least a grade of C+ in any individual course that is counted toward the certificate.


In addition to the 25 credits required, students must complete the writing requirement for the J.D.  Unless this requirement is fulfilled in Law 768, Seminar on Issues of Criminal Law and Procedure, the paper topic must be approved by the designated Faculty Advisor for the Criminal Practice Certificate Program (Professor Judith Johnson). A student electing to satisfy the writing requirement for the Certificate through Law 768, Seminar on Issues of Criminal Law and Procedure, may not count this course toward satisfaction of the electives requirement for the Certificate.


A student must observe at least 10 hours of courtroom proceedings involving criminal litigation.

Criminal Litigation Certificate Learning Outcomes

1. Students will demonstrate an understanding of the substantive and procedural law related to litigation and dispute resolution, including the rules of evidence and criminal procedure, as well as, oral and written advocacy; 

2.  Students will demonstrate the ability to properly apply the accepted standards of professional and ethical responsibility;

3. Students will demonstrate effective written communication by conducting comprehensive research on a litigation or alternative dispute resolution topic and producing a substantial written work based on that research on a topic approved by the certificate advisory; and

4. Students will demonstrate an ability to analyze and apply litigation law concepts and provide legal advice in an experiential setting including classroom simulations or a field placement (clinic/externships).


Students must apply for admission to the Designated Faculty Advisor for the Criminal Practice Certificate Program (Professor Judith Johnson).  A student may apply for admission beginning with the registration period for the third semester of law school. However, no application may be made after the drop/add period in the students final semester.