Program Stages & Requirements

First Year Candidate Presentations

S.J.D. candidates pursue the degree under the supervision of a faculty advisor who is an expert in the candidate’s chosen field. Candidates, in consultation with their faculty advisors, must develop and submit a Semester Progress Plan at the beginning of each semester. This form requires a report of progress made in researching and drafting the dissertation and a detailed plan of action for the ensuing semester for both the candidate and the advisor.

Each year of the S.J.D. Program is comprised of a distinct focus:

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.

Dr. Qilin Ma and Dissertation Committee

Current S.J.D. Candidates, please see the 2016 SJD Handbook for specific information about the required course of study.