LL.M. Degree Requirements
The Master of Laws degree is conferred upon students who, having been admitted to candidacy, have satisfactorily completed at least two semesters of residence and a minimum of 24 credit hours. At least one of these hours must be earned in producing a substantial research paper. The writing requirement may generally be satisfied by a seminar paper or as the product of an individually arranged research project.
Students must have at least a 2.3 (C+) 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 Web page.
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 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 Law School'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 Law School'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 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 Law School does not offer financial aid to S.J.D. students.
GRADUATE STUDIES OFFICE
University of Virginia School of Law
580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, Virginia 22903-1738
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Telephone: (434) 924-3154
Fax: (434) 982-6682