SJD Program at a Glance

Each admitted candidate commits to a three- to five-year program of study. All candidates spend their first year in residence at WCL, where they participate in an innovative Doctoral Colloquium, audit law school courses relating to their dissertation research, and conduct advanced legal research on their dissertation topics. Following the residency year, candidates may remain in Washington D.C. or may continue working on dissertation research and writing in another location in the U.S. or abroad.

Throughout the program—regardless of location—candidates stay in close contact with their faculty advisors and with the SJD staff, working toward program benchmarks and making progress toward the completion of their dissertations. In their final year of the program, candidates edit and finalize their dissertations, incorporating extensive feedback from their faculty advisors and faculty committee members. Candidates also publicly present and defend their dissertations before examining committees and members of the WCL community. For detailed information about the academic requirements and timeline of the SJD program, please see the SJD Handbook.

Candidates have many opportunities throughout the program to present their work to faculty and peers, and to participate in workshops and conferences such as the National SJD Roundtable, as well as meetings and research exchanges organized by the Association of Transnational Law Schools (ATLAS).