JSD Application Steps For Those Who Have Not Attended Chicago

In a typical year approximately 25 -30 J.S.D. applications will be submitted to the Law School from prospective students who have not already been enrolled at Chicago. From this group of candidates the Graduate Studies Committee has annually offered admission to one or two applicants and in some years, none. The profile of those offered admission will generally include the following characteristics: 1) prior attendance at a first tier U.S. Law School (the current J.S.D. students who did not attend Chicago have degrees from Duke, Harvard and Columbia); an academic record at that law school which places them in the top 10 -15% of their class; 3) very enthusiastic recommendation letters from at least two faculty members who taught them at that law school; and 4) a well constructed dissertation proposal which will tie in with academic interests of full time (not adjunct) Chicago faculty members - please note that applicants should not  contact Chicago faculty members directly until they have been offered admission.

The following procedure describes how candidates for the J.S.D. Program, who have not participated in our LL.M. Program, may apply. Since we are asking for material which our own current and former students have already submitted, some of the following steps and material will be "LL.M." related. If there are questions about the Law School or these materials please feel free to e-mail Associate Dean Richard Badger at rbadger@uchicago.edu.

Although J.S.D. candidates can download and complete our application materials, they may not submit them electronically to our office. Those documents must be submitted in hard copy format as described below. We do ask that you submit some information to us electronically via our Basic Information Form (see item #4 below.)  Please note that you may not use the LSAC application system to apply to our J.S.D. Program or submit transcripts and recommendation letters. There is no application fee required to apply.

1) Download the J.S.D. PDF Application (containing the Application for Admission, the Application Materials Form, and the Recommendation Form.)  Either fill out the PDF documents on your computer and then print them, or print the blank PDF documents first and fill them out manually. You may refer to the two lists of countries and educational institutions used in the electronic Basic Information Form for LL.M. Students (see the link under section 4 below). If your answers to any of the questions require further explanation, or if there is other information not called for on the forms that you think may assist the Graduate Studies Committee considering your application, you are encouraged to attach an additional statement.

2) You will need to provide a current transcript from the U.S. law school you attended. You do not need to provide transcripts from your other schools at this time but you will be asked to submit them if you are offered admission and decide to enroll at Chicago. Request the registrar at the U.S. law school you attended to provide you, in a sealed envelope, an official transcript. Include this transcript in an unopened envelope with your application. Officials may send the transcript directly to the J.S.D. Admissions Office if they prefer.

3) Give copies of the J.S.D. Recommendation Letter Form to at least two and no more than four people at the United States law school you attended for confidential letters of recommendation to be sent to the Law School and indicate the names of those people on the Application Materials Form. Recommendation letters, in sealed envelopes, may be enclosed with the application or they may be submitted directly to the J.S.D. Admission Office if your recommenders prefer. Please note that our recommendation request form requires applicants to provide recommenders with a copy of the dissertation topic proposal and the academic transcript from his or her US law school.
Do not submit any recommendation letters from faculty who did not teach you in a U.S. law school.

4) Please supply the information requested in the Basic Information Form for LL.M. Students and submit it electronically before you send your application materials to the Law School via regular mail or FedEx/UPS/DHL or similar courier service. We use the same database for LL.M. and J.S.D. candidates. Although all of the information requested is also supplied by you on the hard copy Application for Admission, submitting this information to us electronically before you apply will enable the J.S.D. Admissions Office to expedite the processing of your application materials once they are received. Note that on the Basic Information Form there are two response requests which are different from the information requested of LL.M. applicants:

1. In the box requesting an "LSAC LL.M. Credential Assembly Account Number" type in "J.S.D."

2. In the box requesting "the name of the organization where you currently work" type in the name of the U.S. law school where you did your J.D. or LL.M. degree and the year you received or expect to receive that degree.

When you submit the Basic Information Form for LL.M. Students you will receive an acknowledgement statement which will contain a BIF code. This BIF code must be entered in question 10 of the hard copy of your application.

5) Please enclose with the J.S.D. Application for Admission:

  • A description - in the form of a resume, curriculum vitae, or similar document - of your academic and professional background. This should include the following items: name, address, e-mail address, phone number, fax number, any academic honors you have received (describe as fully as necessary the significance of any honors or distinctions so that the Graduate Studies Committee may compare your academic performance with others), scholarly publications, employment in law or related fields including employer, title, dates of employment, and description of duties, membership of honorary, professional, or other societies. It may be helpful to look at the sample resume PDF posted on our Web page before preparing this document.
  • A dissertation proposal of the topic you would like to develop in the J.S.D. Program. Attach to your proposal the names of the Chicago faculty members you would like to supervise your dissertation. Please do not contact Chicago faculty members until your application has been approved by the Graduate Studies Committee.
  • A statement describing why you wish to pursue the J.S.D. degree and how that degree will be useful in your future career.
  • The Application Materials Form.

Send all of these documents to the J.S.D. Admissions Office, University of Chicago Law School, 1111 East 60th Street, Chicago, IL 60637.

6) J.S.D. applications should not be submitted before March 1, or after the application deadline of  April 1. This means there is a one month application window to be considered for starting the J.S.D. Program in September of the year of the application.