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Cornell Law School: J.S.D. Degree

Doctor of the Science of Law (J.S.D.) Degree Program

The Doctor of the Science of Law (J.S.D.) degree program at Cornell Law School is designed for students holding a first degree in law as well as an LL.M. (or its equivalent) who wish to pursue an academic career.

Cornell’s J.S.D. program is highly selective. Except in unusual circumstances, applicants are admitted to the J.S.D. program only from Cornell Law School's LL.M. program (in which they must have received all honor grades). Applicants must also secure the agreement of a Cornell Law School faculty member to serve as the Chairperson of his or her Special Committee.

Aside from the J.S.D. Graduate Colloquium, there are no specific courses required for the J.S.D. degree; however, J.S.D. students must meet certain requirements by the end of their first year of the J.S.D. program to be admitted to candidacy for the degree (see, J.S.D. Degree Requirements). A minimum of two (2) semesters of residency at the Law School is required, though completion of the degree normally requires 4-6 semesters (not all necessarily in residence).

J.S.D. students are integrated into the academic life of the law school and have the option of attending the weekly faculty speakers’ series and other academic events at the Law School. They are encouraged to participate in the annual Inter-University Graduate Student Conference at the Law School.

Career advisement for J.S.D. students is handled through the Graduate Legal Studies Program Office, working in conjunction with the student’s special committee members and other faculty.