S.J.D. Degree Requirements & Admission Standards

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Degree Requirements

Students in the S.J.D. program must enter with an LL.M. degree, must be in residence for two semesters, and take a minimum of ten units of graded coursework each semester, which must be approved by the supervising faculty member and Graduate Studies Committee. The choice of courses will be from among those generally offered at the Law School and will depend on the particular subject matter and course of study approved for each S.J.D. student.

Applicants should bear in mind that, due to curriculum scheduling and faculty availability, not every class listed is taught each year. This is most often true in the case of specialized seminars. The final schedule of law classes will be available shortly before the enrollment process begins in July. The law school academic year begins in the middle of August with a fall semester of 15 weeks. After examinations and vacation in December, classes resume early in January for another 15-week semester that ends in mid-May.

Upon successful completion of the residency requirement and performance in courses at a level substantially above the quality expected of J.D. candidates, the Graduate Studies Committee, following its favorable review of the candidate's course work and of the developed research proposal, shall constitute a doctoral committee. It shall consist of three faculty members, including the student's supervisor and a member from a department outside the Law School. Upon the successful oral defense of the research proposal before the doctoral committee, the Graduate Studies Committee shall admit the student to full candidacy for the S.J.D. degree.

Within two years of the completion of the residency period, unless for exceptional circumstances an extension is granted by the Graduate Studies Committee, a candidate shall submit, and successfully defend in an oral examination, a dissertation in the form of a monograph or series of closely related essays suitable for publication and constituting a substantial contribution to knowledge in its field.

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Admissions Standards

The Law School will admit no more than two students in its S.J.D. class each year. As this suggests, the admissions process is highly competitive. The Graduate Committee will admit only the most highly qualified applicants who complete all elements of the Application for Admission, provide clear evidence of academic excellence, and demonstrate high potential for completing a scholarly dissertation that constitutes a substantial contribution to knowledge.