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

The Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) is a research doctorate in law and is the highest degree conferred by the University of Virginia School of Law. It is designed for highly qualified, independent students who wish to pursue an extended program of research under the supervision of a faculty member, leading to the submission of a dissertation that makes an original and substantial contribution to legal scholarship.

The School of Law’s S.J.D. program is intended primarily for aspiring legal academics. Graduates have joined the faculty of law schools and universities in many countries, including Canada, China, Egypt, Ghana, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Mexico, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Taiwan, the United Kingdom and the United States. Others have pursued careers in international organizations, governments and private practice worldwide.

Current students and graduates of the School of Law’s LL.M. program may apply for admission to the S.J.D. program. The Graduate Committee also considers applications from students who have received, or will receive at the end of the academic year during which they apply, the LL.M. degree with high academic standing from another leading U.S. law school.  The admission standards are described on the Application Instructions page.

All students enrolled in the S.J.D. program are required to design and complete an individualized first year study plan approved by their faculty supervisor and the Chair of the Graduate Studies Committee, consisting of a combination of reading lists, course audits, independent research and/or other training designed to prepare the candidate to write his or her dissertation.  Students are expected to remain in residence in Charlottesville for at least one additional academic year after completing their first year program.

S.J.D. candidates pay tuition at a substantially reduced research rate.  The Law School does not provide financial aid to S.J.D. candidates.

For further information on the requirements to obtain the S.J.D., see Degree Requirements.

For information on applying to the S.J.D. program, see S.J.D. Application Instructions.