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The highest law degree is often referred to as an SJD (also JSD) which is the abbreviation of the Latin Scientiae Juridicae Doctor (Juridicae Scientiae Doctor).  This translates to Doctor of Juridicial Science or Doctor of the Science of Law.  In the US, where the degree is most common, the SJD is the equivalent of a PhD in law. SJDs are usually completed after a student or legal professional has completed a Bachelor of Law (LLB) and/or a Master of Law (LLM).

Like a PhD, an SJD is meant for students with a passion for legal scholarship who wish to pursue careers in academia or as public officials.  SJD candidates are expected to make substantial contributions with their research to the existing body of legal knowledge. The conference of an SJD occurs after a candidate has successfully completed significant research. In most SJD programs, successful completion includes both the submission of dissertation of publishable quality and an oral defense of the candidate’s research.

In order to pursue an SJD, prospective candidates must apply to their chosen program and demonstrate their aptitude for legal research. While some programs accept candidates who hold only an LLB, many require applicants to have completed an LLM or other graduate-level law degree.

SJDs are prestigious and rigorous courses of study.  Most SJDs are completed within three years.  Successful SJD candidates can expect to work as academics or legal professors, or in high positions within public office or government.

You can learn more about Doctorates in Juridicial Science by reading more about the programs listed below.  Use the contact form on the individual program pages to contact the programs’ admissions officials for more information about requirements and applications.

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UConn School of Law

The LL.M. to S.J.D. The program is intended for individuals who have demonstrated evidence of superior scholarly potential and who are engaged in or plan to pursue, caree ... [+]

The LLM to SJD Program is intended for individuals who have demonstrated evidence of superior scholarly potential and who are engaged in or plan to pursue, careers in academia, government service, or the judiciary. Candidates accepted into the Program must have the ability to conduct sustained and original academic or professional research at a high intellectual level, culminating in the submission of a doctoral dissertation.

With rare exceptions, we are unlikely to admit any more than one or two candidates per academic year, in order to ensure sufficient attention for the demanding task of successfully completing a doctoral dissertation. In rendering admissions decisions, preference is given to the Law School’s own LL.M. graduates, although applications from external candidates are welcome.... [-]

USA Hartford
September 2020
Full-time
Campus
Suffolk University Law School

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 o ... [+]

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. ... [-]

USA Boston
September 2020
Full-time
Part-time
Campus
SMU Dedman School of Law

The degree of Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) is the highest post-graduate law degree offered by the Dedman School of Law. The S.J.D is primarily a research and writ ... [+]

The degree of Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) is the highest post-graduate law degree offered by the Dedman School of Law. The S.J.D is primarily a research and writing degree (as opposed to a course-oriented degree such as the LL.M. degree) during which the S.J.D. candidate conducts extensive postgraduate-level legal research with a view toward submitting an acceptable doctoral dissertation of publishable quality within a five-year period. This program is intended for highly qualified candidates seeking a legal academic career or a high level, policy-oriented governmental or inter-governmental position.

Within a five-year period from the first matriculation as an S.J.D. candidate, the S.J.D. candidate must satisfy the following requirements:... [-]

USA Dallas
August 2020
Full-time
Part-time
5 years
Campus