The Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) degree is a post LL.M. degree that is awarded upon the completion of an in-depth, publication-quality, dissertation which makes an original and creative contribution to the legal literature.
An SJD candidate must be in residence for one academic year during which time he/she must meet with his or her Committee Chair on a regular basis (at least once every month) to discuss the candidate's progress and future steps in the research process. The candidate should periodically submit written drafts to the Committee Chair for review, comment, and revision. The candidate should also periodically consult the other members of the committee for research advice and feedback on writing progress.
After the period in residence, an SJD candidate may continue his or her research away from the law school. During this time, the SJD candidate must continue to communicate regularly with his or her Committee Chair (e.g., several times per semester) to discuss the student's progress and future steps in the research process.
An SJD candidate must submit a written progress report every semester, both while in residence and while away from the law school.
Attendance at classes, programs, or conferences relating to the candidate's research may be recommended or required by the Committee Chair. An SJD candidate may audit JD courses with the approval of an Associate Dean.
An SJD candidate may be required to present his or her research at a faculty colloquium (either as a work in progress or a finished product).
Upon substantial completion of the dissertation to the satisfaction of the Committee Chair, an SJD candidate will submit his or her dissertation for approval to the whole committee. The final product must be an in-depth, publication-quality paper that advances knowledge in the field. Although quality cannot be measured by quantity, it is expected that the final manuscript will be from 150-300 pages in length. Upon submission of the final paper, the candidate will defend his or her dissertation before the 3 member committee (chaired by the Committee Chair). The presentation and oral defense will be open to the law school community. Upon approval of the committee, the faculty will vote on the conferral of the SJD degree. The degree should be completed in a period of 4 years or less.