How to Apply

Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.)

Visit the tabs below to learn about the application requirements for the S.J.D. program:

Submit a completed application by February 15, 2018

KU Law uses the LSAC Credential Assembly Service (CAS) to process S.J.D. applications. CAS will compile all your documents and verify foreign transcripts. This is a great convenience for both the applicant and KU Law. You can find out complete information on how to open a LSAC account at

To find our application, you will choose the KU Law LL.M. application. Be sure to check the “SJD” box on the LL.M. application. The deadline to apply to the program is February 15, 2018. Students must submit all available documents by that date, including the following documents:

  • Official transcripts from all undergraduate and law school programs attended
  • At least two letters of recommendation attesting to your ability to complete the S.J.D. program
  • Dissertation proposal
  • A statement of interest describing your purpose for pursuing the S.J.D. as well as your professional goals
  • C.V. or resume
  • $55 application fee

If any transcripts or letters of recommendation are missing or unavailable, candidates will have until March 15, 2018 to submit them to LSAC. These are the only documents that may be submitted after February 15. Note that submitting these documents after February 15 may negatively affect a candidate's chances for admission. In all cases, applications must be fully completed by March 15, 2018. Applications that are incomplete at that date will be denied. In that event, students may reapply for the following academic year.

Please note that, upon admission, you will be required to submit financial documents verifying that you have sufficient resources to cover the cost of attendance (tuition, fees, living expenses and mandatory health insurance) for the academic year in which you will be enrolling. You will be required to submit these documents before an I-20 form will be issued to you.


Dissertation Proposal

Every candidate must submit a dissertation proposal. The proposal should include a title, table of contents, explanation and sample bibliography. This is the most important component of the application and should reveal why the candidate wants to study the dissertation topic and what arguments are likely to be raised in defense of the proposal.

Dissertation proposals can be submitted directly to the Office of Admissions at If you are emailing your proposal, please add copies of your CV and two letters of recommendation.

Dissertation Chair

Each S.J.D. candidate pursues the degree under the supervision of an overall faculty supervisor known as the dissertation chair, who must be a full-time member of the KU Law faculty. Although candidates may suggest potential dissertation chairs, they are discouraged from contacting KU Law faculty on their own. To match candidates with an appropriate chair, KU Law has instituted the following process:

  • After a candidate has submitted a complete application and a dissertation proposal, the Admissions Office will forward the proposal to three faculty members with relevant academic expertise
  • Once a professor has expressed an interest in serving as chair, the candidate and the professor are encouraged to conference either by phone or Skype. The Admissions Office will facilitate such a conference.

Dissertation chair information can be submitted directly to the Office of Admissions at


A minimum residency period of one year at KU is required. During this time, the candidate completes KU Law courses necessary for dissertation research. The successful completion of 16 credit hours of coursework is required in the first year.

Following the residency period, some candidates obtain or return to prominent jobs in the U.S. or their home countries and write their dissertation remotely. However, all students remain continuously enrolled – whether or not in residence at KU – until the degree is completed.

After the candidate has earned 16 credits of coursework during the residence period, he or she will need 6 more credits (22 total) to complete the S.J.D. degree. The final 6 credits are obtained through dissertation research and preparation.

Proof of English Proficiency

Applicants must establish English proficiency as evidenced by TOEFL exam scores or successful completion of a basic law degree, or master’s degree, from a program conducted in English. KU Law may require the submission of a TOEFL score or request a personal interview for a candidate who holds an LL.M.

Dissertation Passage Requirements

  • Successful completion of all required courses with a grade of C or better.

  • Production of a dissertation of no less than 200 single-spaced pages, including front material, footnotes, and bibliography. Paper type, font, margins, and other format and style matters must conform to KU's Graduate School Instructions to Candidates for Doctoral Degrees in order for the dissertation to be deposited in the KU Libraries.

  • Evidence that the candidate has identified a legal issue of relevance; constructed an original argument about that legal issue; defended that argument in a manner that is clear, organized, well-written and well-reasoned; and produced a work that would be publishable as a book, extended law review article, or linked series of law review articles.

  • Successful, public defense of the dissertation to committee.

Basic S.J.D. Dissertation Guidelines

Page Length

  1. 200 single-spaced pages maximum (with some flexibility to go longer).
  2. The 200 pages include front material, footnotes, and bibliography.


  1. Dissertation must follow general University of Kansas Graduate School Instructions to Candidates for Doctoral Degrees, for both manuscript production and binding, so that the final bound product may be deposited in the KU Libraries.
  2. All footnotes must be in Law School Blue Book Style.
  3. Neither the Chair of the Dissertation Committee, nor any other Law School faculty member will edit the dissertation to correct format mistakes.
  4. Please contact the KU Wheat Law Library for help on formatting details.


  1. Explain any and all technical jargon.
  2. No paragraph should go on longer than 1/3 of a page. Each paragraph should have 1, and only 1, idea.
  3. Transition sentences. The last sentence of one paragraph should flow nicely into the first sentence of the next paragraph.


  1. The dissertation must be free of grammatical errors.
  2. Neither the Chair of the Dissertation Committee, nor any other Law School faculty member will edit the dissertation to correct English mistakes.


  1. Your Dissertation Committee consists of 4 persons in total: your Chair, 2 KU Law School Faculty members, and 1 External Examiner. Co-Chairs are not permitted.
  2. Aside from your Chair, you are responsible for identifying and assembling your Committee.
  3. The External Examiner may be an academic or practitioner anywhere in the world other than KU Law School. If appropriate, the External Examiner may be a non-legal academic or non-practicing lawyer.


  1. Public oral examination is required.
  2. You are responsible for scheduling this defense at a time suitable for the Committee members.
Wheat Law Library S.J.D. Student Resources

Tuition & Fees

All S.J.D. students are required to take 16 credits during their one-year residency. In addition, students are assessed a $5,000-per-semester S.J.D. fee for two semesters each year. After the first year, students must enroll in 1 credit per semester. Below is an example of a typical tuition schedule for an S.J.D. student. Note that tuition rates are based on the 2017-18 academic year, and are subject to change.

Estimated Annual Expenses - First Year S.J.D. Students
Tuition per credit hour
(16 hours in first year)
S.J.D. Semester Fees ($5,000 per semester) $10,000
School Fees $916
Total for Tuition/Fees $31,220
Room and Board $9,164
Personal Expenses $2,408
Transportation $2,624
Books $1,340
Total* $46,756
Estimated Annual Expenses - Subsequent Years S.J.D. Students
Tuition (1 credit per fall, spring, summer) $3,807
S.J.D. Fee ($5,000 per fall, spring semester) $10,000
Total for Tuition/Fees $13,807

*Costs for room and board, personal expenses, transportation and books are estimates determined by the KU Office of Student Financial Aid.

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