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

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Application Procedure

To be eligible for S.J.D. admission consideration, Temple LL.M. graduates must:

  1. Take courses for grades during the LL.M. degree program.
  2. Earn a final cumulative Temple Law School Grade Point Average of 3.33 or higher
  3. Earn a grade of B+ (3.33) or higher in Legal Research and Writing I.
  4. Earn a grade of B (3.00) or higher in an upper division research writing seminar
  5. Demonstrate of TOEFL IBT score of 100 or IELTS score of at least 7.0 with no individual scores below 6.5 points.
  6. Complete and submit an on-line Temple S.J.D. application
  7. Provide two letters of recommendation from two Temple law professors. The letters must (a) endorse the applicant’s English writing ability; (b) recommend the applicant’s admission into the program and (c) endorse the subject matter of the proposed dissertation.
  8. Submit a detailed dissertation topic proposal.
  9. Resume or CV
  10. Personal statement describing your goals and motivation to earn the S.J.D. degree

S.J.D. applicants should not solicit Temple law professors regarding S.J.D. dissertation supervision in advance. A Temple Law faculty S.J.D. Committee has been established to review each S.J.D. applicant’s file. That Committee decides if an applicant’s S.J.D. file is suitable for presentation to a tenured Temple law professor that the Committee has identified as a potential S.J.D. research advisor and dissertation committee chairperson. The faculty S.J.D. Committee– and not individual law professors will make all final decisions regarding S.J.D. admission and dissertation advisor assignments.

Academic Requirements for Admitted S.J.D. Students who are Temple LL.M. Graduates

If admitted to the S.J.D. program, a Temple LL.M. graduate will thereafter register for two credits of Dissertation Research for every semester of enrollment in the program. 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. S.J.D. candidates have three years in which to complete the dissertation. In extraordinary circumstances, the dissertation advisor has the discretion to grant extension to this period. At the end of each academic year of enrollment, the dissertation advisor must certify to the S.J.D. Committee that the candidate has made satisfactory progress. If in the estimation of the advisor, the candidate has not made satisfactory progress at the end of any academic year, the student will receive a written warning that they must make satisfactory progress by the end of the following semester to continue in the program.

To be eligible for S.J.D. admission consideration, applicants who did not earn their LL.M. degree at Temple Law School must submit the following:

  1. Complete and submit an on-line Temple Law S.J.D. application
  2. Official transcripts from all Law Schools and universities previously attended
  3. An official TOEFL or IELTS score report. SJD applicants must demonstrate and IBT score of at least 100 or IELTS overall score of 7.0 with no individual scores below 6.5.
  4. Two letters of recommendation from either professors or work place superiors who are able to certify an applicant’s legal research and writing skills.
  5. A detailed dissertation topic proposal
  6. Resume or CV
  7. Personal statement describing your goals and motivation to earn the S.J.D. degree

S.J.D. applicants should not solicit Temple law professors regarding S.J.D. dissertation supervision in advance. The applicant must meet the requirements for admission into our LL.M. program. In addition, the law faculty S.J.D. Committee will review each applicant’s file and decide if an applicant’s proposal will be passed on to a tenured law professor who might be willing to serve as an advisor and student dissertation chairperson. If a professor is identified and amenable, the candidate may be admitted into the S.J.D. program. The faculty S.J.D. Committee will make all final decisions regarding S.J.D. admission and dissertation advisor assignments. Individual professors cannot independently make S.J.D. admission offers.

Academic Requirements for Admitted S.J.D. Students who are not Temple LL.M. Graduates

Compulsory Curriculum in the First Year of the S.J.D. Program for Non-Temple LL.M. Graduates

Non-Temple LL.M. graduates admitted to the S.J.D. program are required to enroll in at least one semester of graded Temple Law classes before they will be permitted to begin work on their dissertation. The required S.J.D. student First-Year classes would be individually designated subjects from the JD curriculum that relate to the student’s research topic, including at least one law writing class (LRW I for foreign students would suffice). The student must earn a cumulative G.P.A. of 3.33 or higher and must earn a grade of B or higher in the writing class (B+ for the foreign student LRW class). If a student fails to satisfy the grade requirement after one semester, the advisor and the Office of Graduate and International Programs will consider whether to allow the student to enroll in spring semester classes to bring his or her record into compliance. Students who enroll in the spring semester must pay full tuition for that second semester of law course work.

Tuition & 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.

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