Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.)
The S.J.D. is the terminal degree in law, offered by a distinct minority of law schools. At Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, it is a research-based dissertation degree. It is not based upon a structured set of courses in which a candidate must enroll. Successful completion of candidacy requires production of a dissertation of publishable quality constituting an original and substantial scholarly contribution to the area of law in which it is written. This degree is designed for academic lawyers and persons seeking a career in academic law in the United States or abroad, or who seek affiliation with other scholarly/public policy enterprises.
The degree is not lightly conferred and application for admission should not be routinely or casually sought. Admission to study toward the S.J.D. at I.U. Robert H. McKinney School of Law is highly selective and limited to a small number of candidates. Applicants will be evaluated only when their completed applications and supporting documents are received. Careful consideration of applications may take several weeks. Consequently, applicants should plan accordingly and make application as early as possible.
To be awarded the S.J.D. degree, a candidate must complete and successfully defend, before a Dissertation Defense Committee selected by the law school's Graduate Affairs Committee, a dissertation of publishable quality that constitutes an original and substantial scholarly contribution to the areas of law in which it is written. While word length is not evidence of quality, ordinarily the dissertation will be between 100,000 and 150,000 words in length. The dissertation must be successfully defended and unanimously approved by the Dissertation Defense Committee appointed by the Graduate Affairs Committee.
The candidate must be in residence at the law school for the first two semester following admission. However, in the discretion of the dissertation supervisor, the candidate may be required to be in residence for a longer period of time, and the candidate may choose to be in residence for the duration of the studies.
At a minimum, the candidate will be required to submit written work-in-progress reports in January, May and September in each year of study to the dissertation supervisor and must comply with all other requirements established by the dissertation supervisor. In the discretion of the dissertation supervisor, the candidate may be required while in residence to participate in other law school and faculty activities, such as lectures or presentations for the law faculty or other groups of legal scholars.
Completion of the requirements for the S.J.D. degree will ordinarily take three years. In any case, the dissertation must be completed, submitted and successfully defended not later than five calendar years from the date of admission.
A more detailed statement of the policies and procedures governing study for the S.J.D. is available at the link below.