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S.J.D. (Doctor of Juridical Science) Program

Only a few students are admitted to candidacy for the Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) degree. Because the S.J.D. is primarily a research degree, evaluation of the applicant’s proposed research agenda is the primary factor considered in the admissions decision. Accordingly, one, several, or no persons may be admitted to S.J.D. candidacy in any given year.

Most applicants for admission to the S.J.D. program have already completed the School of Law’s LL.M. program. In exceptional cases, the Graduate Committee will consider applications from persons who have received the LL.M. or its equivalent from another U.S. law school and from those who have already achieved professional distinction in law teaching, private practice, or government service. Applicants who do not already hold the School of Law’s LL.M. will not be considered for candidacy until they have completed two semesters in residence demonstrating honors ability in a program of study consisting of 12-16 hours of courses, seminars and/or independent study as may be prescribed and approved by the chair of the Graduate Studies Committee.

All candidates must have earned their previous degree or degrees in law with distinction and must demonstrate the capacity for making an original and substantial contribution to the legal literature. Accordingly, to be considered for candidacy, an applicant must submit, at the time of application, a dissertation proposal in such detail as to permit the Graduate Committee to evaluate the feasibility, originality, and likely scholarly contribution of the candidate’s research plans. The proposal must also be endorsed by a resident faculty member who will agree to supervise the research and writing of the proposed dissertation.

In addition, applicants for the S.J.D. program should submit the same materials required for LL.M. applications, taking particular care to describe fully the applicant’s reasons for wanting to pursue the degree and its relevance to his or her planned career.

The S.J.D. degree will be conferred on those persons who have completed a minimum of 30 credits, a dissertation approved by the Graduate Committee and who have successfully defended the dissertation in an oral examination by a committee consisting of the dissertation supervisor and two other faculty members learned in the field of the candidate’s research. The dissertation must make an original contribution to the legal literature and demonstrate mastery of the principals of scholarly research, critical analysis, and reasoned presentation of results. It is expected that the dissertation will be publishable as a book or a series of law review articles. Upon completion of the oral examination, the committee of examiners will report to the faculty its opinion of the candidate’s work and fitness for the degree.

The dissertation may be submitted and the oral examination held at any time within five years of admittance to candidacy. This period may be extended upon a showing of good cause submitted in writing to the Graduate Committee.

The School of Law does not offer financial aid to S.J.D. students.

FOR MORE INFORMATION Contact Graduate Studies