Saturday, November 14, 2015

Doctor of Science of Law (JSD) or The Doctor of Philosophy in Law (Ph.D.)

Doctor of Science of Law (JSD)

The Doctor of the Science of Law (JSD) is the Law School’s most advanced law degree. It is designed for those interested in becoming scholars and teachers of law.
Study toward this postdoctoral degree is open only to exceptionally well-qualified students who hold a JD or its equivalent. It is awarded to students who, under the personal supervision of a faculty member, successfully pursue a course of advanced research in a field in which they are already well grounded, and who produce an advanced dissertation that, in the opinion of the supervising faculty member, makes a substantial contribution to knowledge. The JSD program is limited to a small number of students of exceptional distinction and promise.
Only students who have completed the Stanford Program in International Legal Studies at Stanford Law School are eligible to apply for the JSD Program. For those interested in eventually pursuing a JSD at Stanford, SPILS offers a good opportunity to form relationships with faculty members who might serve as a JSD thesis advisor, to develop a promising dissertation topic, and to demonstrate the intellectual qualifications and scholarly ability that are required of doctoral candidates.
Admission to the JSD program is on a highly selective basis. Please note that admission to SPILS does not imply a commitment by Stanford Law School to accept a student into the JSD program. An applicant whose prior performance in law school and SPILS was not outstanding has little chance of being admitted.
Candidates accepted for admission to the JSD program are required to be in residence at the Law School for the first academic year of the JSD program.

Yale Law School’s J.S.D. program
The Doctor of the Science of Law (J.S.D.) program is a select program open only to graduates of the LL.M. program at Yale Law School.
Successful candidates for Yale Law School’s J.S.D. program have achieved high standing in taking the LL.M. degree at Yale Law School and demonstrate strong aptitude for performing advanced scholarly research. Admission to candidacy for the J.S.D. is highly selective; it does not follow automatically from the award of Yale’s LL.M. degree, but rests entirely on the graduate committee's independent judgment of the applicant's qualifications.
Following are key requirements for the J.S.D program. Please refer to the bulletin for complete admissions policies and requirements.
  • graduate from the Yale Law School LL.M. program
  • submit a dissertation that is a substantial contribution to legal scholarship;
  • spend at least two terms of work in residence at the School (this requirement may be satisfied by residence as an LL.M. candidate).
  • spend at least one additional year, not necessarily in residence, devoted to the preparation and revision of the dissertation.
  • Students from abroad should visit the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) for information about international students at Yale.

Harvard Law School’
The Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) is Harvard Law School’s most advanced law degree, designed for aspiring legal academics who wish to pursue sustained independent study, research and writing. In recent years we have created a vibrant intellectual community of young scholars from around the world, most of whom will secure teaching positions in their home countries, the U.S., or third countries. We currently have over 70 S.J.D. candidates overall (some 50 in residence) representing more than 30 countries, drawn primarily from among Harvard’s top LL.M. graduates. Ultimately, candidates are expected to produce a dissertation that will constitute a substantial and valuable contribution to legal scholarship.
There are five stages to the S.J.D. program:
  • Completion of a study plan which includes course work
  • Successful completion of an oral examination
  • Two presentations at the S.J.D. Colloquium
  • Submission and acceptance of a doctoral dissertation
  • Successful oral defense of the dissertation
The first two of these requirements—preparation and completion of a study plan, and successful completion of the oral (general) examination—are normally completed during the first year of study. The S.J.D. candidate normally completes the remaining requirements—presentations at the S.J.D. colloquium, submission and acceptance of the dissertation, and oral defense of the dissertation—during the 36-month period following completion of the oral examination.
Each S.J.D. candidate pursues the degree under the supervision of an overall faculty supervisor selected by the candidate and approved by the Committee on Graduate Studies. Normally this supervisor must be a full-time member of the Harvard Law School faculty.


The PhD in Law is designed to provide advanced training for outstanding graduate students who have already obtained a Master of Laws (LLM) degree or its equivalent. The PhD is a research-intensive degree that prepares graduates for opportunities in law teaching, legal research, policy development, public and governmental service, and the practice of law.
The degree requirements include course work, comprehensive exams, a dissertation proposal and defence, a dissertation, and an oral dissertation exam. Working closely with a supervising faculty member, a student in the PhD program is expected to produce a book-length piece of original legal scholarship and of publishable quality.
The PhD provides an opportunity for focused study in a chosen field of law. It does not, of itself, qualify a holder for entry to the legal profession in university or any other certification for legal practice.

Yale Law School

The Doctor of Philosophy in Law (Ph.D.)

The Doctor of Philosophy in Law (Ph.D.) is designed to prepare J.D. graduates for careers in legal scholarship through three years of coursework and the production of a substantial body of academic research and writing under the close supervision of a three-member faculty dissertation committee. Unlike programs designed for students who wish to learn about law from the disciplinary perspectives of the social sciences or the humanities, the Ph.D. in Law degree is for students who have already earned a J.D. from an American law school and who wish to pursue advanced studies in law from the standpoint of law. This program will offer young scholars an opportunity to contribute to the development of law as an academic field, and it will provide an alternate path into law teaching alongside existing routes such as fellowships, advanced degrees in cognate fields, and transitioning directly from practice or clerkships.
Why a Ph.D. in Law? 
In addition to the opportunity to study and contribute to the evolution of law as an academic field of study, a Ph.D. in Law will provide an excellent pathway to a career in legal scholarship and law teaching. Whether it is right for any individual candidate will depend on a variety of factors. If you are trying to decide between the Ph.D. in Law and a fellowship or a visiting assistant professorship, you should keep in mind a number of considerations, including that the Ph.D. is a three year course of study beyond the J.D., and that it provides a more structured program – including course work, qualifying exams, and close faculty supervision – than do most fellowships or VAPs. The Ph.D. in Law requires three years of academic work beyond the J.D., including coursework, an oral and written comprehensive exam, the completion of a dissertation, which may take the form of a traditional monograph or three law-review style articles, and training as well as experience in teaching. You should also consider the availability of appropriate mentors in different programs- you will have a three-member faculty committee advising you through the Ph.D. program and will have an opportunity to work closely with a wide range of Yale faculty in your courses as well as your full participation in the intellectual life of the Law School and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Yale. In addition, you should consider differences in stipends, teaching burdens, and eligibility for loan repayment assistance programs.
Is a Ph.D. in Law right for me? 
If you are trying to decide between the Ph.D. in Law and a Ph.D. in another discipline, many of the same considerations come into play. Also keep in mind that Ph.D. programs in economics, political science, history and other fields train scholars to produce research responsive to the questions central to those disciplines. The scholarship produced by law faculties, and expected of candidates for teaching positions at law schools, is largely motivated by different sets of questions. While many students are able to apply their training in other disciplines to the study of law, a significant advantage of the Ph.D. in Law is that it is designed specifically to prepare students for careers in legal scholarship, rather than scholarship in another field. We should also stress that the Ph.D. in Law program welcomes applications from candidates with interdisciplinary research interests and it will be possible to receive significant advanced training in other disciplines as part of the Ph.D. in Law program.