Washington College of Law

The S.J.D. Program is a vibrant center of intellectual life at WCL. With approximately 20 active S.J.D. candidates from around the world, the S.J.D. Program is designed for aspiring legal academics and other top legal professionals to pursue sustained independent research and writing in a given field of legal specialization. The S.J.D. Program culminates in a dissertation of publishable quality that represents a valuable, original contribution to the scholarship in that candidate’s field and a candidate’s public presentation and defense of his or her dissertation before an S.J.D. examining committee and members of the WCL community. Upon successful completion of the S.J.D. Program requirements, we are pleased to celebrate our new Doctors of Juridical Science and welcome them to our community of scholars. I hope you will enjoy learning about all of the opportunities WCL has to offer.

The Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) is the most advanced law degree at American University Washington College of Law. The program is designed for highly qualified lawyers seeking to pursue scholarly research and writing in the law. The program selects candidates who are prepared to write a doctoral dissertation, who will make original contributions to the legal literature, and who have a strong intellectual commitment to advanced legal study.

The S.J.D. program covers a breadth of legal topics ranging from international human rights law to international finance and tax law. The program takes pride in its diverse community of candidates, faculty, and legal topics. S.J.D. candidates represent a distinct intellectual community and go on to pursue an array of scholarly, judicial, and political careers in the U.S. and abroad.

Tuition Fee $32,436 - first year, $7,208 - second year. $3,604 - third year onwards.
Credits 12
Duration full-time 4-5
Languages English
Location 4801 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016, United States
Website https://www.wcl.american.edu/sjd/
Completion Requirement First Year: Residency, Research, and Planning
During the first year, candidates participate in the innovative Doctoral Colloquium, audit law school courses necessary for their dissertation research, and conduct advanced legal research on their dissertation topic. By the end of the first year, candidates have a completed draft outline of their dissertation.

Second and Third Year: Writing and Editing
During the second year, candidates draft their dissertation and receive feedback from their faculty advisors and committee members.

Final Year: Editing and Oral Defense
During their final year, candidates edit and finalize their dissertations and participate in the rigorous oral defense of their dissertations
Language Requirement Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). A minimum TOEFL score of 100 iBt (250 for computer based test), with a minimum writing score of 24, is required for admission.
International English Language Testing System (IELTS). A minimum IELTS score of 7.0 is required for admission.


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