Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) in Law
The College of Law’s Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) in Law is a research doctorate, comparable to a Ph.D. in other disciplines.
Based primarily on legal research, S.J.D. students will work under the supervision of a College of Law faculty member to produce an original dissertation that makes a substantial contribution to legal scholarship.
The College of Law offers unique academic and research opportunities and resources to S.J.D. students through its renowned fields of study in domestic, international, and comparative disability law, national security and counterterrorism law, intellectual property and technology transfer law, and other disciplines. S.J.D. students also have the ability to pursue interdisciplinary coursework and academic engagement with our 13 academic units, including the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, the School of Education, the Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics, the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication, and the Whitman School of Management.
The Fall 2021 admissions cycle is now closed. The Fall 2022 admissions cycle will re-open on September 1, 2021.
Application Submission: A complete application consists of the S.J.D. Application Form (submitted online through the Law School Admissions Council) - and - submission of the application’s supplemental materials identified below. Supplemental materials may be submitted through LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service (preferred) - or - directly to Syracuse University College of Law via email submission to SJD@syr.edu. (PDF format only).
Eligibility: Applicants to the S.J.D. Program are expected to have successfully completed an LL.M. degree program at an ABA-accredited law school within the United States. Applicants who have successfully completed a Master of Law degree program outside of the United States may be considered for admission under exceptional circumstances.
Timing: For priority consideration, the S.J.D. Admissions Committee will collect and review application materials September through January. Qualified candidates will be contacted for an admissions interview in February. Applications received after January will be considered based on available space in the program.
Conditional Admission: Applicants who have not yet received a LL.M. degree from an ABA-accredited law school may be conditionally admitted to the S.J.D. Program if the applicant successfully completes the Syracuse University College LL.M. Program requirements.
Applicants should expect to appear for a virtual admissions interview. Decisions by the S.J.D. Admissions Committee are based on a combination of factors, including but not limited to the quality of application materials, the applicant's academic merit, the compatibility of the applicant's research goals with the expertise of the College of Law faculty, and the availability by faculty members to serve as the applicant's adviser. Admitted applicants will learn of their S.J.D. Faculty Adviser at the time of admission. For reference, the full listing of College of Law faculty members can be found here.
Admitted students are encouraged to review our S.J.D. Admitted Student Information.
Tuition for the S.J.D. program will be charged on a semester basis and will depend on the student’s status in residence or in research.
For the upcoming academic year, the College of Law’s S.J.D. program tuition structure is arranged as follows:
*Tuition may adjust slightly from year to year.
Nominal College and University fees will be charged per semester. S.J.D. students will be responsible for personal living and other expenses for textbooks, health insurance, visa fees, travel expenses, dependent expenses (if applicable), throughout their program of study. Students are strongly encouraged to consider their S.J.D. program plan (i.e. time in degree program, courses to take, etc.) to help determine and manage their anticipated costs. Download the S.J.D. Program Cost-of-Attendance information.
The College of Law will consider all applicants for partial-tuition scholarships to reduce the cost of S.J.D. program tuition. There is no separate scholarship application. Students are encouraged to explore outside sources of funding through organizations such as Fulbright. The College of Law does not provide stipends to cover personal living and other expenses.
The S.J.D. curriculum involves participation in the SJD Colloquium course, thesis research, and elective coursework that will culminate in the preparation of a dissertation and oral dissertation defense. Download and review our Academic Rules for S.J.D. Students.
In Year 1: S.J.D. students must complete the following academic requirements during their first two semesters in residence:
In Subsequent Years: After the first year in residence, students will have the opportunity to spend semesters engaged in a combination of dissertation research and/or additional coursework described in more detail below.
The table below presents a sample 4-year S.J.D. program plan:
|Fall Semester||Spring Semester|
|Year 1 (Mandatory in-residence)||S.J.D. Colloquium Course (3 credits) + minimum 6 credits of Law and/or graduate-level coursework.||S.J.D. Colloquium Course (3 credits) + minimum 6 credits of Law and/or graduate-level coursework.|
|Year 2||Additional coursework and/or dissertation research.||Additional coursework and/or dissertation research.|
|Year 3||Additional coursework and/or dissertation research.||Additional coursework and/or dissertation research.|
|Year 4||Additional coursework and/or dissertation research.||Dissertation submission and defense before committee.|
Throughout the program, students are expected to collaborate regularly with their faculty adviser and meet dissertation milestones set out in the S.J.D. Student Handbook.
Upon completion of six semesters, but no more than ten semesters, an S.J.D. student may submit a complete draft of his or her dissertation for oral defense before a committee. S.J.D. students are expected to create theses at a level of quality appropriate for publication and in a format readily adaptable into publishable form.
The typical dissertation will be similar to that in a traditional doctoral program. The S.J.D. dissertation is to make a substantial and valuable contribution to the scholarship in its field. The dissertation will be considered to constitute such a contribution if, for example, it explores new areas of intellectual inquiry, provides new insights or analyses, or offers a new conceptual or theoretical framework for understanding the subject area. A dissertation that merely surveys, catalogs, or compiles relevant literature, legislation, case material, and/or the ideas of others does not satisfy the standard.
Extensions of time to defend one’s dissertation beyond the completion of 10 semesters will be subject to approval by the S.J.D. Program Director and the student’s S.J.D. adviser.
Email the S.J.D. Program at SJD@law.syr.edu with any questions you may have. Alternatively, you may write directly to Program Director and Faculty Director of International Programs Professor Arlene Kanter or Assistant Dean of International Programs Andrew S. Horsfall.