Dickinson Law launches Doctor of Juridical Science program

July 22, 2020

CARLISLE, Pa. — Penn State Dickinson Law has expanded its law degree offerings by introducing its doctor of juridical science (S.J.D.) degree. As Dickinson Law’s most advanced law degree, the S.J.D. is designed for both domestic and foreign lawyers seeking specialized knowledge in a particular area of law; a career in academic law or other scholarly, research, policy, or professional endeavors; or career advancement through the acquisition of an academic doctorate in law.

“As the highest research degree in law, the S.J.D. degree enhances the scope of Dickinson Law’s global curricular offerings to legal scholars,” said Dean and Donald J. Farage Professor of Law Danielle M. Conway. “Aspiring legal scholars who want to continue their education and engage in intensive legal research and writing now have the option to do so at Dickinson Law.”

According to William E. Butler, John Edward Fowler Distinguished Professor of Law, the course of study required for the S.J.D. degree will offer students an opportunity to work under the supervision of a faculty adviser to pursue sustained, supervised research and writing leading to the production of a dissertation that makes an original and valuable contribution to legal scholarship.

“From national security and international criminal law to intellectual property and international comparative law, our globally aware faculty -- including Fulbright scholars and grant recipients -- are accomplished leaders in their respective fields and are actively contributing to research and scholarship where the rule of law is most crucial,” said Butler.

The S.J.D. program requires students to complete at least one but no more than two academic years in residence at Dickinson Law. During the semesters in residence, students are expected to complete the Research Methods Seminar and other courses as recommended by the Admissions Committee and faculty based on the students’ background, experience, prior research degrees, and dissertation topic. After the minimum residency requirement is met, students may pursue field research opportunities on or off the law school campus. Students are expected to complete the program within three years, culminating in an oral defense of a dissertation.

Applicants will have already earned an LL.B., B.A., or J.D. degree from a duly accredited or recognized national or international institution of higher education, as well as either an LL.M. degree from Dickinson Law or another American Bar Association-accredited law school in the U.S. or a duly accredited or recognized foreign law faculty, or another degree equivalent to at least a Ph.D. degree.

“Because of our intentionally small community, students can pursue their legal studies in an intimate academic environment backed by not only the world-class resources of a public research university but also by professors who are willing to build close relationships with them, learn their strengths, and recognize their potential,” said Director of Non-J.D. Programs and Visiting Associate Professor Emily Michiko Morris. “I am eager to welcome a new cohort of legal scholars from the U.S. and beyond whose research and contributions will impact some of the most pressing legal issues in the world today.”

Dickinson Law received acquiescence from the American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar in May 2020. The program will be selective, such that the law school plans to enroll no more than five S.J.D. students annually. Its first degree candidate will begin the program in the 2020-21 academic year.

In addition to the S.J.D. degree, Dickinson Law offers J.D. and LL.M. degrees and several joint degree and certificate programs as part of its academic program.

Click here to learn more about the S.J.D. degree program, including admission and degree requirements.

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Last Updated July 23, 2020