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Ph.D. Program

The Ph.D. in Law is designed to prepare J.D. graduates for careers in legal scholarship through three years of coursework and the production of a substantial body of academic research and writing under the close supervision of a three-member faculty dissertation committee. Unlike programs designed for students who wish to learn about law from the disciplinary perspectives of the social sciences or the humanities, the Ph.D. in Law degree is for students who have already earned a J.D. from an American law school and who wish to pursue advanced studies in law from the standpoint of law. This program will offer young scholars an opportunity to contribute to the development of law as an academic field, and it will provide an alternate path into law teaching alongside existing routes such as fellowships, advanced degrees in cognate fields, and transitioning directly from practice or clerkships.

Because admitted candidates will have completed their J.D. degree, the anticipated course of study toward the Ph.D. is three years in residence. In their first two semesters, Ph.D. candidates will enroll in courses designed to help them acquire the background and research skills they need to complete a dissertation in their field of interest and to prepare them for qualifying examinations that are designed to test the depth and breadth of the literacies and skills they have acquired. During their second year, candidates will prepare a dissertation prospectus and begin work on a dissertation. The dissertation may take the form of either three law review articles or a book-length manuscript and will make up a portfolio of writing that will be essential for success in the job market.. Ph.D. candidates will receive the full support of Yale Law School’s Law Teaching Program, which has had remarkable success in placing graduates in tenure-track positions at law schools.

Applications for admission to the Ph.D. in Law Program will be available starting on August 15. The deadline for submission of all materials is no later than December 15. Applicants to the Ph.D. in Law Program must complete a J.D. degree at a United States law school before they matriculate and begin the Ph.D. Program. Any questions about the program may be directed to Gordon Silverstein, Assistant Dean for Graduate Programs (gordon.silverstein@yale.edu).

Ph.D. candidates will receive a full tuition waiver, health insurance coverage and a stipend to cover their year-round living expenses.

Interested applicants are encouraged to explore the links at the left to learn more about the Ph.D. program. A press release and a Yale Law Report story on the Ph.D. program may be of interest for a more general audience.

Current Candidates