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SJD Application Information

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Application information for the SJD Program

Applicants to Duke Law's SJD program may begin submitting applications for the 2021-2022 academic year on September 1, 2020. The application deadline for the SJD program is February 20, 2021.

Access the Admitted Students Website here: Link 

 

Application Review

The application review process includes a thorough evaluation of a candidate's performance in previous law studies. Also of special significance are the applicant's professional experience, areas of special interest and expertise, professional and personal goals, strong letters of recommendation and English proficiency. To be eligible for admission to the SJD program, applicants must hold a first degree in law - the JD, LLB, or the
equivalent - from an accredited or comparably recognized law school or law faculty program. Additionally, applicants must hold an LLM degree from an English-speaking university in an English-speaking country. 

Admission Decisions

Admission decisions are made beginning in March. Admission to the SJD program is for fall semester only.

2021 SJD Application Procedures

Our preferred method for submitting application materials is electronically via LSAC (Law School Admission Council). Please visit the LSAC website for account access or to create a new account. Complete application instructions are available on the electronic application for the Duke Law SJD program.

You may also submit your application materials directly to our office. The application checklist allows you to investigate the options available for both application types. Please note that you must omit the box number
from the address if you plan to send application materials via courier (DHL, FedEx, etc.) to the International Admissions office.  Please note that we do not accept applications materials submitted via e-mail.

It is important to review the detailed application procedures.

Application Checklist

Checklist Mail-in Application Applying Online Through LSAC
Application & Signed Certification Letter Download the application form and certification letter, complete and sign You must electronically certify your application
$80 Application Fee

Include with application (see detailed procedures here)

You may submit payment via credit card or mail payment to International Admissions
Resume Include with application Use electronic attachment
Personal Statement Include with application Use electronic attachment
Recommendation Letters May be submitted with application materials or referees may send directly to International Admissions Utilize LSAC's LOR service or submit directly to International Admissions
Short Statement of Proposed Research Focus  Include with application Use electronic attachment
Writing Sample 
 
Include with application Use electronic attachment
Transcripts May be submitted with application materials or institutions may send directly to International Admissions Included in Credential Assembly Service (CAS) report
TOEFL Score Report Have TOEFL submit your score report to Duke - institution code 5156, department code 03 Included in CAS report

2021

Application Checklist

The following items are required to complete your application for SJD program admission. Application files will not be evaluated until all required items have been received. Applicants will receive an e-mail acknowledging receipt of materials that contains login and password information to check the status of their application. Please note that e-mails are not sent indicating completion of application files.

  • Application form completed. If applying via LSAC, certification must be signed electronically. If not, you must also complete and sign the Certification Letter and submit to International Admissions.
  • $80 non-refundable application processing fee. If applying electronically via LSAC, you may submit payment via credit card. You may also submit payment (see following acceptable forms) directly to the International Admissions office.  Acceptable forms of payment are 1) checks in USD drawn on a U.S. bank, 2) postal or bank money order in USD, or 3) travelers checks (please sign on both the top and bottom lines if using travelers checks). Non-credit card payment methods should be made payable to Duke Law School. Please contact the International Studies office directly for wire transfer instructions. Duke University School of Law does not waive application fees for SJD applicants.
  • Resume. If you are applying electronically, use electronic attachment.
  • Personal statement 2-5 pages in length. If you are applying electronically, use electronic attachment.
  • Transcripts for all previously attended academic institutions. You may utilize the LSAC Credential Assembly Service (CAS) or have transcripts mailed directly to the International Admissions office. If still enrolled in courses when application is submitted, include transcripts for all completed work and indicate when final transcript will be available.
  • Recommendation letters. SJD program applicants should include at least three recommendation letters, one of which should be from an individual familiar with the applicant's academic performance during the LLM program. You may utilize the LSAC LOR service or submit letters directly to International Admissions office.
  • Short Statement of Proposed Research Focus. SJD applicants should include a brief (2-5 pages) research proposal describing the applicant's research interest.
  • Writing sample. SJD applicants should include a sample indicative of their scholarship and writing ability.
  • TOEFL score report. If applying electronically, score is included in CAS report. If not, have ETS submit your score to Duke, institution code 5156, department code 03.
  • Scholarships.  Unless they are sponsored by home governments or universities, admitted SJD candidates receive full-tuition scholarships.  Please note, however, that Duke Law does not offer scholarships that cover educational fees or living expenses, nor does it offer stipends to SJD candidates.

Application Deadline

The recommended application deadline for the SJD program is February 20, 2021. 

How to Apply

Our preferred method for submitting application materials for the SJD program is electronically via LSAC (Law School Admission Council). Please visit the LSAC website for account access or to create a new account. Complete application instructions are available on the electronic application for the Duke Law SJD program.

You may also submit your application materials in hard copy form directly to the International Admissions office (address below). Please note that you must omit the box number from our mailing address if you plan to send application materials via courier (DHL, FedEx, etc.).  Please note that we do not accept application materials submitted electronically via e-mail.

 

Application Processing Fee

If you apply electronically through LSAC, you have the option to pay by credit card. Please note that the only way to utilize a credit card to pay the application fee is by applying electronically through LSAC. You may also submit a check (in USD drawn on a U.S. bank), postal or bank money order or travelers checks (signed on both the top and bottom lines) made payable to Duke Law School in the amount of $80. Please contact the International Studies office directly for wire transfer instructions. Duke University School of Law does not waive application fees for SJD applicants.

Resume

Please submit a resume with your application. If you apply via LSAC, use the electronic attachment.

Personal Statement

You are required to submit a 2-5 page personal statement. If you apply via LSAC, use the electronic attachment. The personal statement should include your professional and educational experience, special areas of interest, previous overseas experience, and any other information that supports your application. Please let us know if there is a special reason for applying to Duke Law School such as family members who are alumni or who are living in North Carolina, or a spouse or significant other with admission to a nearby school.

Recommendation Letters

A minimum of three letters of recommendation should be submitted on behalf of the SJD applicant. Such letters should not be from relatives or close family friends. The letters should explain the relationship of the writer to the applicant. At least one letter should be from a faculty member familiar with the applicant's LLM experience. 

If applying electronically, LSAC offers an LOR service for letters of recommendations.  Please follow the instructions on the LSAC site. If application materials are being submitted in hard copy format directly to the International Studies office, there are two methods of submitting letters of recommendation. Applicants may include with their application materials recommendation letters in sealed envelopes with the referee's signature across the seal. Referees may also submit recommendation letters directly to the International Studies office. We prefer recommendation letters in hard copy format but will accept electronic letters if referees are unable to submit letters prior to the application deadline. 

 

Academic Transcripts

Transcripts for all previously attended academic institutions must be submitted. Applicants can either utilize the Credential Assembly Service (CAS) with LSAC or have them sent to the International Admissions office directly from the academic institution. Purchase of the Transcript Authentication and Evaluation Service offered by LSAC is optional. Transcripts may also be submitted directly by the applicant with their application materials. Please note that if you are not utilizing the Credential Assembly Service all transcripts must include an English translation, containing the seal or signature of a professional translator, and an explanation of the grading system.

TOEFL Score Report

Register for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) at least two months before the examination is given. Because it may take more than one month for score results to reach Duke, it is advisable to take the test as soon as possible. TOEFL scores must be less than two years old from the date of the application to be considered valid. Candidates who are native English speakers or who have received degrees of at least three years in length from a university where English was the medium of instruction and where English is an official language of the country, may be exempt from this requirement. All other applicants must submit test scores in order to complete the admissions process. Duke's TOEFL institution code is 5156 and its department code is 03. TOEFL score results for students utilizing the LSAC Credential Assembly Service will automatically be included in the report. Students admitted to graduate study normally have scores of at least 100 on the Internet-based test (iBT).

Application Review

The SJD program at Duke has a very small enrollment. Criteria for admission include an outstanding academic record in legal studies. SJD applicants must have completed an LLM degree at an accredited American law school. In exceptional cases, consideration will be given to applicants who have completed LLM programs of study in common law countries. Applicants must also submit a well-structured research proposal on a topic taught by a tenured faculty member. Applicant are requested not to contact individual Duke Law School faculty members. The entire application will be reviewed by faculty members on the SJD committee, and that committee will arrange for an appropriate faculty supervisor for faculty supervisor for applicants whoa are admitted. If further information is necessary, the applicant will be notified. Admissions decisions will be made starting in March. 

Content

The Annual Security Report and Annual Fire Safety Report include institutional policies concerning campus safety and security, as well as statistics for the previous three years concerning reported crimes that occurred on Duke University property and on public property adjacent to campus and fires that have occurred in residence halls. A copy of this Report can be obtained by contacting the Duke Police Department at 684-4602 or writing to 502 Oregon Street, Durham, NC 27708 or at this page.

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