Frequently asked questions regarding the Ph.D. Program
Applications will be accepted in the Fall of 2015 for study to commence in the Fall of 2016. The application deadline is December 15, 2015, but the committee will begin to review each application when it is complete. Applications must be submitted via the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences application website.
1. Personal statement (500-1000 words)
The personal statement should describe the applicant’s motivations for pursuing a Ph.D. in law and should describe the applicant’s qualifications to undertake her or his proposed course of study, especially qualifications that are not evident from the applicant’s CV.
2. Research proposal (1000 words)
The research proposal should describe the project that the student plans to undertake as her or his dissertation. The proposal should describe the project’s scope, its importance and research methodology, including any source materials on which the project will rely or empirical research the student will undertake.
The research proposal need not be as fully developed as a dissertation prospectus and students’ projects are expected to evolve over the course of students’ time in the program. Nonetheless, applicants are expected to have a clear sense of the general research project that they will undertake.
3. Writing sample
The writing sample should be a piece of legal scholarship authored solely by the applicant. Ideally, the writing sample will be on a subject related to the student’s proposed research project. Submitted writing samples should be no more than the equivalent of 30-published pages in length (15,000 words)- an excerpt from a longer work may be used.
4. Letters of recommendation
The applicant will be asked to identify three individuals willing to write letters of recommendation for her or him. Recommenders will then receive an email with instructions about how to submit letters directly.
Recommenders should be the individuals best situated to evaluate a candidates’ past academic work and potential to produce first-rate legal scholarship. The Ph.D. admissions committee strongly recommends that at least two recommenders hold academic appointments at a law school.
5. LSAT score/TOEFL
Applicants will be asked to self-report their LSAT scores, and scores from any administration of the exam will be accepted. Prior to matriculation, those admitted to the program will be required to provide formal confirmation of the self-reported score. The test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is not required.
You will need to upload a record of your academic performance to your on-line application as you will not be able to submit your application if you do not do so. No transcripts are to be mailed. This upload may be in the form of a scanned copy of your transcript or academic record. If the transcript is in a language other than English you will need to have it translated to English. The translation must be certified to be an accurate translation of the original and be notarized or otherwise authenticated. The translation and the original transcript can then be uploaded to your application.
7. Curriculum vitae
Applicants should submit a curriculum vitae listing all academic honors and awards, publications and presentations, and other professional accomplishments.
8. Application fee
Applicants must pay the application fee in the amount and manner required by the Graduate School.
9. Previous applicants who were not admitted to the PhD program must submit a completely new application and pay the application fee. Applicants who have been denied admission three times may not file further applications.