The Law School offers two graduate degrees beyond the masters level: Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.S.D.), and Doctor of Comparative Law (D.Comp.L.). While most students elect to receive the J.S.D., the D.Comp.L. will be awarded at the student's option if the same degree requirements are met.
Although most candidates in the J.S.D. Program first spend a year in the Law School's LL.M. Program, outstanding LL.M. or J.D. graduates of other law school programs in the United States may be admitted to the Chicago J.S.D. Program. Candidates will not be considered for admission to the J.S.D. Program unless they already have an LL.M. or J.D. degree from a law school in the United States or are currently in such a program. LL.M. degrees earned in other countries, including those using the common law, do not meet this application requirement.
In order to earn the J.S.D. degree, a candidate must produce a dissertation which makes a creditable contribution to legal scholarship. The dissertation must be supervised by at least two members of the faculty and must be completed within five years of the candidate's first registration in the J.S.D. Program. The candidate must also spend at least one year (three consecutive quarters) in residence at the Law School while working on the dissertation. During that year in residence the candidate will be expected to participate in academic activities at the Law School including regular attendance at one of the faculty workshops throughout the year and the regular Research Colloquium for our J.S.D students and fellows. When J.S.D. students are not in residence in the Law School they are expected to keep in close contact with their faculty sponsors.
Waivers of the five year requirement may be granted by the Graduate Studies Committee but only upon demonstration that the candidate has made an active and good faith effort throughout the five years to complete the dissertation. It is the Committee's expectation that J.S.D. candidates will regularly consult with their dissertation advisors and, where appropriate, submit drafts of their work.
Although there is no required coursework for the J.S.D. degree, candidates may take courses in the Law School and the University if they wish. J.S.D. students may also receive a one-time travel subsidy of up to $500 to present a research paper at a recognized law conference anywhere in the world.
Please go to this page for a description of the J.S.D. application process. Note that there is one set of procedures for candidates who are current Chicago LL.M. students or graduates, and a different set of application procedures for candidates who are LL.M. students or graduates of other U.S. law schools.
Once a candidate has been admitted to the J.S.D. Program, the student must register with the University for three quarters - usually the Autumn, Winter, and Spring Quarters - each academic year until the J.S.D. is awarded or the student is no longer in the Program. The registration will be Advanced Residence. The University defines Advanced Residence as a full-time student status. Students are eligible for all the benefits associated with full-time registration: access to student housing, full library privileges, use of athletic facilities, quarterly computer time, access to student health insurance and the services of the University's Student Care Center, ability to borrow under federal student loan programs (so long as the student is otherwise eligible), and deferment of payment of past federal loans.
Students in the J.S.D. Program should contact the Law School Registrar (773.702.9485), each summer to make arrangements for the following academic year. Please provide the Registrar with a current address, telephone number, and e-mail address if available. J.S.D. candidates should also contact the Office of International Affairs (773.702.7752) to make any necessary visa arrangements.
Tuition and Fees
All students in the J.S.D. Program receive scholarships to cover their full tuition charges. This means that the only expenses for students in the Program are the ones mentioned below (for the 2012-2013 academic year) and any other living expenses they might have. J.S.D. candidates who are living in Chicago are required to pay the Student Life Fee of $284 per quarter. Candidates living away are not required to pay the Student Life Fee. J.S.D. candidates are also eligible for individual and dependent health insurance. J.S.D. candidates may audit classes in the Law School and elsewhere in the University with permission of the instructor.
Any student who expects to receive the J.S.D. degree at the end of a quarter must file a degree application with the University, through the student's myUChicago account, before the beginning of the quarter in which the degree is to be awarded.
The University has set up a central office to receive dissertations and to ensure that the final copy meets the minimum standards before the student is awarded a degree. This function includes informing students and departments about the University's minimum standards, helping students to understand them and comply with them, and certifying that the copy of the dissertation has been received and that it meets those requirements and has been approved formally by the department. Please go to the following web page maintained by the Dissertation Office for complete instructions on dissertation formats and submission deadlines: http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/e/phd/ The Dissertation Office is located in Room 100-B, Regenstein Library.
Candidates submit their dissertations electronically to the web site identified by the Dissertation Office. That Office then asks the Law School to complete an approval form indicating that the Law School accepts the dissertation. Once that approval form has been submitted the Dissertation Office checks that the dissertation meets University-wide requirements. If there are deficiencies, the office notifies the candidate and the Law School, detailing what must be corrected for the student to be eligible to receive the J.S.D. degree.