The S.J.D. degree program is designed for law school graduates who have excellent law school academic performance and writing skills indicating potential to conduct legal research and scholarship in the English language. The S.J.D. program is a very small and highly selective program. The Law School will accept no more than two S.J.D. candidates in a given academic year. Admitted S.J.D. students are expected to complete their dissertation research within 3 years.

The S.J.D. program has two-tracks:

Track 1: For Temple Law School LL.M. graduates

Track 2: For LL.M. graduates from other law schools

Academic Progress Requirements to Maintain S.J.D. Program Enrollment

After the one or two semesters of course work are successfully completed, S.J.D. students who are not Temple LL.M. graduates will have three years in which to complete the dissertation. S.J.D. students are expected to spend at least one year in residence at the Temple Law School campus in Philadelphia to meet regularly with their dissertation advisor. As in the case of Temple LL.M. graduates enrolled in the S.J.D. program, the dissertation advisor has the discretion to grant extensions to the three-year period. At the end of the each academic year of enrollment, the dissertation advisor must certify to the S.J.D. Committee that the candidate has made satisfactory progress. If a dissertation advisor determines that a S.J.D. student has not made satisfactory progress at the end of any academic year, the student will be given a written warning that they must make satisfactory progress at the end of the following semester to continue in the program.

Other S.J.D. Student Program Requirements and Resources

Dissertation Committee
After the first year of dissertation work, if the advisor deems that the candidate has made satisfactory progress, the advisor will form a dissertation committee consisting of at least two other faculty members, at least one of whom is tenured or on tenure track. Non-tenure tracked faculty may serve on a committee only if they have a long-term (5-year) contract. The advisor has the discretion to form that committee before the end of the first dissertation year.

Annual Public Presentation of S.J.D. Dissertation Work-In-Progress
Once S.J.D. students have begun working on their thesis, they must give a public presentation of their research during each academic year. This could be in a student organization event or a student panel organized by the Graduate and International Programs Office.

Faculty Colloquia Attendance
S.J.D. students should be informed of and invited to attend faculty colloquia. This will help students understand what is expected of legal academic researchers and will offer examples of how to present legal research in an academic setting.

Law Professor Mentor and Classroom Observation
Law professors may offer to mentor S.J.D. students by allowing them to observe one of their classes and provide information about pedagogical issues related to teaching law students.

Oral Dissertation Defense
When an advisor, in consultation with the candidate’s dissertation committee, has determined that the candidate is ready to defend the dissertation, the advisor will coordinate scheduling of the oral dissertation defense with the Office of Graduate and International Programs. If the candidate passes the defense, they will work with the Office of Graduate and International Programs to ensure that their dissertation is properly submitted to the University. If the candidate conditionally passes the defense, the advisor will give the candidate a deadline to satisfy any deficiencies in the dissertation and that deadline may not exceed one semester. If the candidate fails the defense, the candidate will be withdrawn from the program.

Dissertation Honors
At the discretion of the advisor, the candidate may be awarded an “honors” designation on the transcript for an outstanding dissertation.

S.J.D. Tuition and Fees

All entering, S.J.D. candidates will be charged a one-time S.J.D. program fee of $12,000.

Temple LL.M. graduates enrolled in the S.J.D. program will thereafter register for two credits of Dissertation Research for every semester they are in the program. They will pay a per-credit hour tuition charge for each semester of enrollment set by the Temple University Board of Trustees.

Non-Temple LL.M. graduates enrolled in the S.J.D. program will register for law classes in the first semester. If a S.J.D. student who did not graduate from Temple’s LL.M. program is required to enroll for a second semester of classes, that student will be required to pay the full-time tuition rate for that second semester. If the S.J.D. student is approved to begin work on their dissertation, they shall thereafter register for two credits of Dissertation Research for every semester of S.J.D. program enrollment. They will pay a per-credit hour tuition charge for each semester of enrollment set by the Temple University Board of Trustees.

S.J.D. students will also be charged any mandatory Temple University student non-tuition fees including international student fees assessed to all F-1 visa students and university service fees assessed to all enrolled Temple University students.