Doctor of Laws (J.S.D./S.J.D.)

After graduating with a Juris Doctor a person is eligible for practicing law in the particular state where they pass their bar examination.

A person may then go on to specialize in a specific area of the law and study for a Master of Laws degree.

For those individuals who prefer to work in academia or in other types of work that have an emphasis on legal scholarship, the Doctor of Laws is the next step.

A Doctor of Law degree is the highest level of law degree that is offered in the United States.

The Doctor of Laws degree falls into four general categories including a Doctor of Juridical Science, a Doctor of Jurisprudence, a Doctor of Philosophy, and a Doctor of Comparative Law.

The American Bar Association states that there are around 20 law schools in the United States that currently offer doctor of law degrees.

The majority of the programs are exclusive and limit enrollment to only one or possibly two exceptional and extraordinary candidates each year. what is a doctor of laws

Degree and Application Requirements

While the number of doctoral programs is limited, the requirements for application and degree requirements vary greatly.

Almost all of the programs will require that an individual complete a master of laws program or a comparative program such as a Master’s in Comparative Law, a Juris Master’s, or a Master’s of Jurisprudence.

There are some law schools that limit enrollment in their doctoral programs to only those who have completed an LL.M. program with their particular school.

This means that if you complete a master’s program at one law school you may not be eligible for admission into a particular law school for your doctorate.

It is important to factor this limitation into the decision-making process when considering law schools for your master’s program if you are considering a doctorate program afterward.

There are numerous doctorate programs that require individual applicants to gain approval from a member of the faculty stating that they are willing to be the applicant’s advisor and committee chairperson for their dissertation.

This must be accomplished before a person applies to the program.

Doctorate Program Considerations

When considering a doctorate program it is essential to evaluate each of the programs carefully.

It is essential to look at the programs and weigh your own particular area of interest against the specializations of the faculty of each of the schools.

If interested in writing a dissertation and conducting specific research, consider a school that has a faculty member who has similar interests.

There are some doctoral programs that will require the student to pursue coursework in additional areas and other programs do not have this requirement.

Almost all of the programs will require the student to write a dissertation that could be published and that makes a contribution of value to the literature of law.

Most programs will require that a doctoral student conduct their research under the supervision of a faculty advisor.

The majority of these programs will require that the degree be completed in a time frame of two to five years, with the first two years being completed “in residence.”

The rate for these programs will vary, but no financial aid is typically available for a doctorate program.

Michael Morales

About Michael Morales

Michael Morales is the Webmaster and Editor in Chief for With a strong background in Web Publishing and Internet Marketing, he currently works as an independent consultant. A former paramedic and ems educator, he enjoys punishing himself doing triathlons and endurance sports. Michael currently lives in sunny Northern California, home of the highest tax rates in the world.

2 Responses to Doctor of Laws (J.S.D./S.J.D.)

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    Brad Roberts #

    I am researching the best program since I am so eager to become a Doctor of Philosophy because we are a family of lawyers, I am willing to take the challenge.

  2. Avatar
    Marc Stewart #

    So, this is what Juris Doctors are. I am dating one and I have no idea what a Juris Doctor does. Thanks for the info!

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