Degree Requirements - Graduate Studies in Law
Juan Azzarri '10

Choosing UVA for my LL.M. program has been one of the smartest decisions of my life. When I arrived, I was introduced to the academical society that Thomas Jefferson planned for UVA students in Charlottesville. Being with only 38 LL.M.s from around the world has been an excellent experience; I got to know them and to exchange experiences with them. The professors I had were also amazing. They were always willing to help me and to answer my questions. The possibility to have such close relations with them was one of the features I appreciated about the UVA academical village experience. These are the reasons why I will never forget my year at UVA, and the reasons why I advise others to choose UVA’s LL.M. program if they want not only to study at a first-rate university but also to have the experience of living in an awesome place. More

Degree Requirements

The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only. The Graduate Record represents the official repository for academic program requirements. These publications may be found at

LL.M. Degree Requirements

To receive a master of Laws degree, candidates must complete at least two semesters of residence and a minimum of 24 credit hours. At least one of these hours must by earned by producing a substantial research paper. Students may complete the writing requirement by taking a seminar that requires a long paper, or through arranging a research project that results in a substantial paper. Students must have at least a 2.7 grade-point average to graduate.

LL.M. students are generally enrolled in courses and seminars with upper-level J.D. students. To learn more about our curriculum, visit the Academics department of the Law School website.

S.J.D. Degree Requirements

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 for admission.

Many applicants for admission to the S.J.D. program have already completed the Law School's LL.M. program. In some cases, the Graduate Committee considers applicants 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 Law School's LL.M. must complete two semesters in residence as a "Provisional" S.J.D. student demonstrating honors ability in a program of study consisting of 24 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. To be considered for candidacy, applicants must submit a detailed dissertation proposal that allows the Graduate Committee to evaluate the feasibility, originality and likely scholarly contribution of the candidate's research plans.

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

S.J.D. candidates must complete a dissertation in an oral exam by a committee consisting of the dissertation supervisor and two other faculty members experienced in the field of the student’s research. The dissertation must make an original contribution to legal literature and demonstrate mastery of the principles of scholarly research and critical analysis. The dissertation should be publishable as a book or a series of law review articles. After the oral exam, the committee 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 exam held at any time within five years of the student’s admission to the S.J.D. program. This period may be extended if the student shows good cause submitted in writing to the graduate committee.

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

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