SJD Degree

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Students with outstanding academic credentials who intend to pursue an academic career are welcome to apply to the SJD program.

SJD candidates must have completed the LLM degree at an accredited American law school. In exceptional cases, consideration will be given to applicants who have completed programs of study in common law countries. Each SJD candidate will be assigned a primary faculty supervisor with expertise in the student's research area and two additional faculty members who form the student's doctoral committee. Duke graduates, with the SJD or LLM degrees, hold academic positions in Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Israel, Mexico, New Zealand, Japan, and Taiwan.

Daniel Ribeiro

For the SJD, I wanted to work under [Prof. Jonathan Wiener's] academic supervision and with Prof. Mathew Adler. Together, they are the leading scholars in my field of research (law and economics of regulatory policy). In addition, Duke has top schools in business, public policy, and environmental studies where I planned to take courses and expand my interdisciplinary view of the law.

Daniel Ribeiro LLM '09 SJD '18
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Degree Overview

The SJD program normally takes a minimum of three years and a maximum of five years. The program requires one to two semesters of course work as recommended by the faculty supervisor completed in residence at Duke Law School. The student must successfully pass written and oral examinations in the general field of study before formal admission to candidacy. The student will be asked to prepare a research proposal, which must be accepted before research on the dissertation begins. The SJD student's faculty committee will assess the student's progress, make recommendations, and hold an oral examination on the final draft of the dissertation.

The SJD program application deadline is March 20, however, applicants should submit a preliminary statement of interest to by January 20.  The application should include transcripts from all previously attended academic institutions. A minimum of three recommendation letters are required including at least one recommendation from a faculty member well acquainted with the applicant's performance in the LLM degree program. A substantial sample of the applicant's writing should be submitted as well as a brief research proposal (approximately 2-5 pages) describing the applicant's research interest. Applicants are requested not to contact individual Duke Law School faculty members. The entire application will be reviewed by the Faculty Committee on Comparative and International Studies. If further information is necessary, the applicant will be notified. Admissions decisions will be made starting in March.


Applicants to Duke Law's LLM, SJD and exchange programs may begin submitting applications for the 2020-2021 academic year on September 1, 2019. The application deadline for the LLM program is January 20, 2020. The application deadline for the SJD program is February 20, 2020.