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Degrees for International Students

Dissertation Passage Requirements

  • Successful completion of all required courses with a grade of C or better.
  • Production of a dissertation that is between 150 - 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.

Remote Defense Policy

S.J.D. candidates are required to defend their dissertation at the law school. However, in exceptional circumstances, candidates may request an exemption from this requirement in order to defend their dissertation remotely via videoconference, upon prior approval of the Associate Dean for International & Comparative Law, in consultation with their chairperson. To request an exemption, candidates must:

  1. have demonstrated the ability to complete their dissertation and schedule the defense within the timeframe approved by their chairperson.
  2. be in compliance with any degree completion plan established by their chair.
  3. submit a request to both their chairperson indicating (A) the reason for the requested exemption; (B) where and how they propose to set up the videoconference necessary for a remote defense; and (C) the feasibility for a remote defense in light of the needs of their external committee member, the nature of their project, the technology described in (D) and any other relevant considerations. Candidates are encouraged to submit this request as early as possible and must do so no later than two (2) weeks prior to their departure from the United States.

Candidates who have been approved to defend their dissertation remotely must provide electronic copies of any slides or handouts they intend to use to their committee members in advance and will be required to test the proposed technology thoroughly with KU staff in advance of their defense.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: If technological or other reasons not within the control of the candidate’s chair, committee or the law school prevent the remote defense from occurring, the candidate will be required to defend their dissertation at the law school within a reasonable time period established by the chair. Candidates should be aware that this may delay their graduation and require them to enroll for an additional semester if the defense cannot be rescheduled within the same semester, as candidates must be enrolled in the semester they graduate.

Contact KU Law Admissions

Steven Freedman, Assistant Dean
Ethan Brown, Assistant Director for Recruiting
Mallory Baker, Admissions Coordinator

103 Green Hall

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