Ph.D. Admission

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 Admissions Committee will begin to review each application when it is complete. Applications must be submitted via Yale University's 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 the Ph.D. in Law degree 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 applicant plans to undertake as her or his dissertation. The proposal should describe the project’s scope, its scholarly significance and research methodology, including any source materials on which the project will rely or any empirical research that the applicant intends to undertake. The research proposal need not be as fully developed as a dissertation prospectus, and 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 should be on a subject related to the applicant’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 on his or her behalf. Recommenders will then receive an email with instructions about how to submit letters directly to the Graduate School. Recommenders should be the individuals best situated to evaluate an applicant’s past academic work and his or her 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. Test Scores
    The applicant will be asked to self-report his or her LSAT score; scores from any administration of the exam will be accepted. Prior to matriculation, those admitted to the Ph.D. in Law 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.
  6. Transcripts
    The applicant will need to upload records of academic performance to his or her online application prior to submission. No transcripts are to be mailed. This upload may be in the form of a scanned copy of the applicant's transcript or academic record. If the transcript is in a language other than English, the applicant will need to have it translated into 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 the application.
  7. Curriculum Vitae
    The applicant should submit a curriculum vitae listing all academic honors and awards, publications and presentations, and other professional accomplishments.
  8. Application Fee
    Each applicant must pay the application fee in the amount and manner required by the Graduate School.

Previous applicants who were not admitted to the Ph.D. in Law program and who wish to reapply must submit a completely new application and pay the application fee. Applicants who have been denied admission three times may not submit further applications.