The Doctor of Juridical Science Program (SJD) is the highest law degree offered by the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School. The SJD program focuses on research and the production of original scholarship. The degree is granted upon the successful completion and defense of a dissertation.
All SJD candidates are required to be in residence at Penn for the first year of the program. Residency after this period is encouraged as it is highly conducive to completion of the dissertation. View degree requirements.
Admission to the program is based upon the evaluation of a candidate’s past record and future promise as a legal scholar. Consideration is given to an applicant’s proposed research project, writing sample, academic record, professional experience, recommendations, personal statement, and English-language ability. General application information.
Research Proposal: All applicants must have a well-stated scholarly proposal that sets forth the project that the applicant intends to pursue in the SJD Program. An application will be successful only if the proposal indicates a strong likelihood that, upon completion, the project will make a significant contribution to legal scholarship and will satisfy the dissertation requirements. There is no specific requirement regarding the length of the proposal, but most submissions are 5-10 pages in length.
Writing Sample: Applicants must also submit a sample, in English, of their research-based writing on a legal topic of approximately 5-10 pages. This may be a work that has already been published and/or an excerpt of a longer work, so long as the candidate is the sole author of the submission.
In keeping with its mission of training future legal academics and global leaders, Penn Carey Law provides fellowships for eligible SJD candidates that include full tuition, health insurance, and a stipend. Fellowships will cover three years of residence at Penn Carey Law.