Programs leading to the degree of Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) offer a very small number of unusually talented students, who have already earned the Master of Laws degree, the opportunity to concentrate on research and writing in a specific area of interest.
U.S. Law School Graduates
For SJD applicants who earned their first law degree from a U.S. law school, the following requirements pertain. Applicants must hold a BA or equivalent degree from a regionally accredited college or university and a JD and an LLM or equivalent degrees, both earned with excellent records, from law schools that are members of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) or approved by the ABA. (The requirement for an LLM may be waived in exceptional circumstances.) Applicants must submit copies of their master’s thesis or one or more papers or articles they have written. Applicants must include a research proposal and dissertation topic approved by a full-time member of the Law School faculty who has agreed to serve as the faculty adviser if the applicant is admitted.
Non-U.S. Law School Graduates
For S.J.D. applicants who earned their first law degree at a non-U.S. law school, the following entrance requirements pertain. Applicants must have graduated with an excellent academic record from a non-U.S. law school known for high academic standards; such a determination will be made by the Graduate Programs Office or by a qualified faculty member. As outlined above for U.S. law school graduates, additional requirements include an LL.M. (which may be waived in exceptional circumstances), copies of the master’s thesis or one or more papers or articles written by the applicant, and a research proposal and dissertation topic approved by a full-time member of the Law School faculty who has agreed to serve as the faculty adviser if the applicant is admitted. Consideration for admission requires proficiency in the English language, both oral and written, as determined by the Graduate Programs Office or by a faculty member designated by the dean.
Candidates for the SJD degree must complete the following requirements to be awarded the degree: an enrollment period of not less than one academic year; a course of study and research, designated by the dissertation committee, of no less than 8 credit hours; and completion and acceptance of a dissertation (see below).
The course work for the SJD degree will normally be completed during the first two years of study. During this period, tuition is paid in four equal payments and no limit is placed on the number of credit hours for which a degree candidate may enroll with his or her adviser’s approval. After the first two years from the date of matriculation, tuition will be charged by the credit hour for any additional courses taken by the degree candidate, either for credit or as an auditor.
The dissertation must be submitted no later than three years from the date of admission to candidacy for the S.J.D. degree. The applicant who proposes to write on a comparative law topic must have a reading knowledge of the language in which the relevant materials are to be found. When the dissertation is submitted, the consultative committee will set the date for oral examination. This examination is conducted by the consultative committee and such other members of the faculty and qualified experts as are selected by the appropriate program director in consultation with the dean.
No later than one month before the expected date of graduation, the candidate must submit to the senior associate dean for academic affairs two complete copies of the dissertation and two copies of an abstract of the dissertation. To be acceptable, the dissertation must, in the opinion of the examining committee, constitute a substantial contribution to the field of law concerned and be suitable for publication. Additional information can be obtained from the senior associate dean for academic affairs. Dissertations are submitted to the University through Proquest/UMI as electronic documents; see library.gwu.edu/etds. Students on continuous enrollment as of fall 2009 are exempt from the requirement to submit the dissertation electronically.
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