JD Certificate - Tax Law and Policy

The award of this certificate recognizes successful curriculum concentration in the field of tax law. Students who believe that they will fulfill the requirements as set forth below must contact the certificate program director for approval.

Requirements for Receiving a Certificate at the Time of Graduation

To obtain a certificate upon graduation, you must, at the time of you graduation, demonstrate to the program director satisfactory completion of the following requirements:

Minimum Grade Point Average

  • At the time you are awarded your JD, you must have a cumulative grade point average of 2.75 or better.
  • Maintain a grade point average of B (3.00) or better in courses taken and selected as qualifying for the certificate. No grades from course credits transferred from another law school and accepted for use toward the certificate will be taken into account in computing the grade point average.


You must demonstrate satisfactory completion of the following:      

  • Federal Income Tax (3 units).
  • Complete 9 hours from the courses listed in Appendix A, below.
  • Complete 6 hours from the courses listed in Appendix B, below.
  • No more than one course or program graded on a credit/no credit basis may be used to meet these credit requirements. Course credit may be allowed, in the discretion of the program director, for one course, of up to three (3) units of credit, taken at another law school. (Questions regarding courses added to or removed from the curriculum from time to time, or the equivalency of any courses taken in other law schools, should be addressed to the program director.)

Substantial Paper Requirement

Each candidate must complete one substantial research paper exclusively on one or more topics relating directly to tax law. To qualify as meeting the requirements for the certificate, the topic of the paper must be approved in advance by the program director, and the final paper must meet with the Substantial Paper requirements for the law school.

Note:  Papers not written for graded credit do not satisfy this requirement.

Tax Experience

You must engage in 10 hours of legal practice experience that has as its primary focus an aspect of federal taxation. The experience can be paid or volunteer, in a public or private entity. 

Faculty members engaged in tax law teaching are willing to assist prospective certificate students in identifying appropriate practice opportunities. If you are engaged in a work or volunteer experience and only a portion of the hours worked relate to tax law, you may apply just those tax related hours to the certificate (e.g., the hours spent on one tax law assignment the student received during a summer job in a law firm). You may also combine the hours spent working on tax matters for different entities in order to total the 10 hours required. You may apply, toward satisfaction of the 10 hour requirement, the hours you spend on an externship for which you receive academic credit. You may also apply any credit units earned as part of such an externship toward satisfaction of the total credit hours required above. 

Experience examples include: outside work experience, research assistant hours for one of the tax professors in the law school or the graduate tax program offered at Eller, and volunteer hours devoted to the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (offered by the Internal Revenue Service). Please contact Professor Mona Hymel for experience opportunities, if needed.

To demonstrate satisfaction of the 10-hour practice component, you must submit to the director a letter, preferably on letterhead, from your supervisor(s) stating the number of hours you have performed, the approximate time period during which the hours were performed, and further stating that the hours were devoted to a matter of law or policy related to tax law.

Procedures for Enrolling in the Certificate Program and Demonstrating Satisfaction of Certificate Requirements


Any student enrolled in the JD program and who, at the time, has a cumulative GPA of 2.75 or better, may enroll in the certificate program. You should enroll no earlier than your third semester of law school and prior to the beginning of your fifth semester of law school. Enrollment consists of sending an email to the program director (Professor Mona Hymel at hymel@law.arizona.edu):

  • Expressing your interest in enrolling in the certificate program
  • Listing the semester you expect to be awarded your JD degree
  • Certifying you have a GPA of 2.75 or greater

Documents to provide to the Program Director

  • A completed Tax Law Research Paper Topic Pre-Approval form
  • Those documents required to demonstrate Tax Experience
  • A completed Request for Certificate in Tax Law and Policy form (see below).
  • A copy of your law school transcript, current at the time you request a certificate (see below).

Meeting with the Director   

You are strongly encouraged to meet with the director soon after enrolling in the certificate program. Such a meeting provides an opportunity to discuss how you plan to fulfill the requirements of the certificate and have any questions about the certificate program answered in person. 

Pre-approval of Substantial Paper Topic

As discussed above, you must obtain pre-approval for your tax research paper topic prior to requesting a certificate and optimally, prior to writing your research paper. Such approval is designed to avoid situations where a student has already written a paper based upon the expectation that it can be used to fulfill the research paper requirement but later discovers that the topic is not suitable for satisfying the requirement. 

Request for Certificate in Tax Law and Policy

By Nov. 15 where you expect to receive your JD at the end of the fall semester and by April 1 where you expect to receive your degree at the conclusion of the spring semester, all enrolled students must email the director (mhymel@email.arizona.edu) and request a Certificate in Tax Law and Policy.

The program director will subsequently inform you as to whether you will be receiving a Certificate in Tax Law and Policy.

Availability of Certificate Describing the Student’s Subspecialty in Tax Law and Policy

In your completed Request for a Certificate in Tax Law and Policy, you may request that your certificate describe the area of tax law and policy on which you concentrated as a student. To be eligible for this description of your study, you must have taken at least nine credits in the area of emphasis. If granted, your certificate will state that you are being awarded a “Certificate in Tax Law and Policy with an Emphasis in [particular area of tax law requested, such as “Corporate Tax Law” or “Individual Income Tax Law”, etc.]. The addition of any such description of your concentration on the certificate shall be at the director’s discretion. In the absence of a request for the addition of a concentration, you will receive a Certificate in Tax Law and Policy.

Appendix A

A minimum of 9 hours are required from the following list of courses:

      Corporate Taxation
      LLC, LLP, and Partnership Taxation
      State and Local Taxation
      Estate Planning
      Estate and Gift Taxation
      International Taxation
      International Transactions
      Tax Research
      Tax Procedure

Appendix B

A minimum of 6 hours is required from the following list of courses:*

      Accounting and Finance for Lawyers
      Taxation of Non-Profit Entities
      Advanced Corporate Taxation
      Taxation of Real Estate Transactions
      Business Organizations
      Business Planning
      Entrepreneurship Program
      Taxation and the Environment
      Tax Law and Policy
      Partnership Return Preparation Lab
      Corporate Tax Policy

* Some of these courses may not be offered in any given academic year. 

Key Contact

Mona L. Hymel
Arthur W. Andrews Professor of Law
Director, Tax Law & Policy Certificate Program

Phone: 520-621-3838
Email Mona Hymel