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 April 15, 2015

Please note that we will not begin reviewing applications until Nov. 1.

  • Applications completed by Nov. 1 will receive decisions by Dec. 21
  • Applications completed by Dec. 1 will receive decisions by Jan. 21.
  • Applications completed by Jan. 15 will receive decisions by March 10.
  • Applications completed by Feb. 15 will receive decisions by April 10.
  • Applications completed by March 15 will receive decisions by May 10.

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 www.lsac.org.

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.

Among the documents you will need:

  • Official transcripts from all undergraduate and law school programs attended
     
  • Include at least two letters of recommendation attesting to your ability to complete the S.J.D. program
     
  • $55 application fee

Separately, please complete the Supplemental KU Law application for international students, which is used to help prepare your I-20. You can download the form and e-mail it directly to us at admitlaw@ku.edu.

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 admitlaw@ku.edu. 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. 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.

  • Although candidates may suggest potential dissertation chairs, they are discouraged from contacting KU Law faculty on their own.

  • 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 admitlaw@ku.edu.

Residency

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.

Format

  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.

Style

  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.

English

  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.

Committee

  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.

Defense

  1. Public oral examination is required.
  2. You are responsible for scheduling this defense at a time suitable for the Committee members.

Tuition & Fees

All S.J.D. students are required to take 16 credits during their one-year residency. In addition, students are assessed a $1,000-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 subject to change.

Estimated Annual Expenses - First Year S.J.D. Students
Tuition for 1st year
(16 credit hours)
$1,144.45
S.J.D. Semester Fees ($1,000 per semester) $2,000
School Fees $900.08
Total for Tuition/Fees $21,211.28
Room and Board $11,108
Personal Expenses $2,232
Transportation $2,454
Books $1,200
Total* $38,205.28
Estimated Annual Expenses - Subsequent Years S.J.D. Students
Tuition (1 credit per fall, spring, summer) $3,433.35
S.J.D. Fee ($1,000 per fall, spring semester) $2,000
Total for Tuition/Fees $5,433.35          

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

 

More information on programs for international students at KU Law
Check application status

Office of Admissions

103 Green Hall
1535 W. 15th Street
Lawrence, KS 66045-7608

admitlaw@ku.edu
p: 866-220-3654
f: 785-864-5054

Why KU
  • One-third of full-time faculty have written casebooks used at U.S. law schools
  • 2 KU law faculty were U.S. Supreme Court clerks
  • KU’s Project for Innocence: 33 conviction reversals since 2009
  • 7,300+ alumni live in all 50 states and 18 foreign countries
  • #18 “best value” law school in the nation — National Jurist Magazine
  • 12 interdisciplinary joint degrees
  • 27th nationwide for lowest debt at graduation. — U.S. News & World Report
  • 70 percent of upper-level law classes have 25 or fewer students
  • Nearly 800 employment interviews at law school, 2012-13
  • Top 25% for number of 2013 grads hired by the nation’s largest law firms
  • 20th: for number of law alumni promoted to partner at the 250 largest law firms