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Doctor of Juridical Science Program

The Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) program is a small and selective program for students who wish to make an original, significant contribution to legal scholarship.

Graduates celebrate at Commencement


An applicant for the SJD program must hold an LL.M. degree or its equivalent either from Tulane University or other accredited American universities or foreign universities which the Graduate Affairs Committee (the faculty admissions committee) has ascertained have good standing among the higher education community in the home country. 


Admission to the SJD candidacy requires the endorsement of the Graduate Affairs Committee. The Committee will examine, along with the student’s performance at the LL.M. or the equivalent qualifying degree level the strength of the candidate’s proposal to determine whether the individual has the capacity for advanced legal research and for outstanding scholarship. Strong interest in and support of the proposal and the candidacy of the applicant by a Tulane Law School faculty member who is willing to serve as a supervisor will be an important factor in the Committee’s decision. Applicants are strongly encouraged to make every effort to find a supervisor, but they are discouraged from circulating mass letters to the faculty of the Law School.

Course of Study

Each SJD student is assigned a faculty advisor upon admission. During the first semester of enrollment, SJD students take between 10 and 12 credits of coursework. Thereafter, most SJD students work full-time on the dissertation until it is completed. Tulane’s expectation is that the final SJD dissertation will be submitted within four years following initial enrollment in the program. The dissertation is to make an original and significant contribution to legal scholarship. Each candidate defends his or her dissertation in an oral examination before a committee of the Tulane Law School faculty, supplemented with other University faculty where appropriate.