S.J.D. Admission and Program Requirements

The primary purpose of the S.J.D. degree is to provide an opportunity and environment for scholarly research mainly for persons who are either in or preparing for academic or comparable scholarly legal careers.

  1. Admission. The conditions of admission to the S.J.D. program are:
    1. A J.D. or equivalent American or foreign first law degree, as well as work satisfying 1(d), below;
    2. in the case of holders of law degrees from foreign countries, proof of completion of all academic work necessary for entering upon the practice or apprenticeship for the practice of law, judicial office, or the teaching of law at university level;
    3. outstanding academic performance as evidenced by the quality of program, written work, recommendations from teachers, and grades;
    4. submission of a substantial written research project demonstrating a high capacity for the legal research and writing in English necessary for a successful S.J.D. dissertation. The preferred evidence of such capacity is a good quality University of Wisconsin LL.M. thesis. S.J.D. applicants may, however, present equivalent work (such as substantial LL.M. thesis done at another University, a monograph or law review article);
    5. in the case of holders of law degrees from universities where the greater part of their instruction was not in English, proof of high proficiency in English for advanced study of law; high proficiency will ordinarily be demonstrated by a score of at least 625/263 (computer-based) on the TOEFL examination;
    6. a detailed research proposal of at least six (6) double-spaced typed pages specifying the objectives, methodology, required materials and timetable;
    7. acceptance by the Graduate Programs Committee
    8. consent of a faculty member of the Law School to act as the candidate's principal academic advisor (the Graduate Programs Committee will first decide on admission and then it will seek an advisor; if no suitable advisor is available, admission will also be declined).
  2. Program. The S.J.D. program shall adhere to the following guidelines:
    1. Research toward a doctoral dissertation is the core of the program. The dissertation should be equivalent in quality and substance to a substantial monograph.
    2. Ordinarily, students seeking the S.J.D. may not take courses for credit. Exceptions may be made on the advice of the advisor and with the consent of the chair of the Graduate Programs Committee when the course is a seminar involving substantial writing obligations consistent with the thesis topic.
    3. Full-time S.J.D. candidates shall register for 12 credits for each of the first two semesters of residency, unless they have already established residency from immediately preceding LL.M. work being continued in the S.J.D. dissertation without a break of more than one semester=s time. Except where a seminar is authorized, those credits shall be in directed research. A minimum of 24 credit hours is required for completion of the S.J.D. degree. To qualify for the S.J.D. degree, the candidate must also prepare an acceptable thesis (see 5 below)
  3. Residence.
    Registration and physical presence as a full-time student for one academic year with satisfactory completion of at least 24 credits is required. S.J.D. candidates who have completed their residence requirement, including those who have completed their residence requirement from an immediately preceding LL.M. program (see 2(c), above), may maintain full-time law school status during the second year registering for 3 credits each semester
  4. Term for completion of program.
    The program is to be completed no later than three calendar years after the residence period. A residence period that was established during immediately preceding LL.M. work being continued in the S.J.D. program is considered the residence period of the S.J.D. program for the purposes of this section.
  5. Award of degree.
    1. The granting of a degree shall be recommended to the Law School faculty on the completion of the following: approval of the thesis by the principal academic advisor and the Reading Committee and approval of the completed program by the Graduate Programs Committee.
    2. Prior to the recommendation of a degree to the faculty, the candidate shall deposit two suitable copies of the thesis with the Law Library and pay the library's filing expense charge.

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