The Degree of Doctor of the Science of Law

The Doctor of the Science of Law (J.S.D.) program is a select program open only to graduates of the LL.M. program at Yale Law School.

Successful candidates for Yale Law School’s J.S.D. program have achieved high standing in earning the LL.M. degree at Yale Law School and demonstrate strong aptitude for performing advanced scholarly research. Admission to candidacy for the J.S.D. degree is highly selective; it does not follow automatically from the award of the LL.M. degree, but rests entirely on the Graduate Committee's independent judgment of the applicant's qualifications. Please refer to the Yale Law School Bulletin for complete admissions policies and requirements.

If admitted, J.S.D. candidates at Yale Law School must ...

  • successfully complete a dissertation that makes a substantial contribution to legal scholarship;
  • spend at least two terms of work in residence at the Law School (this requirement may be satisfied by residence as an LL.M. candidate); and
  • spend at least one additional year, not necessarily in residence, devoted to the preparation and revision of the dissertation.

International students should visit the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) for information about international students at Yale University.