The fall 2013 S.J.D. application period is closed.
S.J.D. Admission Requirements:
The S.J.D. Program is intended for individuals who have demonstrated evidence of superior scholarly potential and who are engaged in, or plan to pursue, careers in academia, government service, or the judiciary. Candidates accepted into the Program must have the ability to conduct sustained and original academic research at a high intellectual level, culminating in the submission of a doctoral dissertation.
To be considered for admission, an applicant must either (1) have obtained his or her first law degree from a recognized university outside of the United States along with an advanced law degree (e.g., LL.M.) from an accredited law school within the United States, or (2) hold both the J.D. and the LL.M. degree from an accredited law school in the United States. In rendering admissions decisions, preference will be given to the Law School’s own LL.M. graduates.
For Current S.J.D. Applicants:
We appreciate your interest in our S.J.D. program and we will make admission decisions as timely as possible. However, because of the volume of applications, accompanying documents and status inquiries, we are not able to respond to inquiries about S.J.D. application receipt and status. Should the S.J.D. Admissions Committee need additional information about your application we will be sure to contact you. We also cannot substitute or replace documents once your materials have been received and your application has been submitted to the Admissions Committee. Therefore we strongly encourage you to only send us a complete application when you are satisfied that all your materials are in final form.
The S.J.D. Program:
S.J.D. candidates are expected to spend the first two academic semesters of the Program in residence at the Law School. However, consideration may be given to a shorter residency period in appropriate circumstances. Students have the option of attending courses in furtherance of their degree. Because all candidates will have completed an LL.M., however, there is no other required coursework apart from the S.J.D. dissertation (LAW7974 SJD Dissertation and, if necessary, LAW7976 SJD Continuous Registration).
To apply, applicants must send the following materials, in electronic form, to firstname.lastname@example.org by April 15 for fall admission and October 1 for spring admission. If your application is by email rather than through LSAC, please attach all of your documents in one email. Please do not send multiple emails with application materials.
1. A completed application form. This must be included in your application materials. You can download a copy of the application in Adobe PDF format (below).
2. A letter of application briefly summarizing the applicant’s background, his or her reasons for pursuing an S.J.D., and how the degree will further the applicant’s professional aspirations.
3. A resume or curriculum vitae.
4. Official transcripts from each university and law school attended, with English translations where necessary.
5. An example of the applicant’s prior legal scholarship written in the English language. This writing sample should preferably be an LL.M. thesis; however, the applicant may also submit a research paper of sufficient depth and complexity to demonstrate the applicant’s capacity to engage in original, autonomous scholarly research.
6. A dissertation proposal of not less than 2000 words (including footnotes) that includes the following:
(a) a clear, law-related research question or problem that will be addressed;
(b) a review of the literature addressing the question or problem (including any relevant literature from other disciplines, such as economics, sociology, or history) that demonstrates an ongoing debate among scholars, policy makers or other professional groups on the proposed question, or a lack of recognition of, or attention to, the problem;
(c) an explanation of the methods, theories or approaches to be used to answer the question or resolve the problem and, if an empirical or comparative project, a discussion of the kind of evidence to be produced that will answer the question or resolve the problem; and
(d) an explanation of the expected contribution of the independent research project to the scholarly literature.
7. Two recommendation letters from individuals familiar with the applicant’s academic and professional work. At least one letter must (a) come from a faculty member at the accredited law school in the United States from which the applicant obtained the LL.M. degree, and (b) address the feasibility of the dissertation proposal.
International applicants must also submit the following:
10. Evidence that the applicant meets the requirements for English language proficiency (below).
English Language Requirement for S.J.D. Admissions
Unless the applicant qualifies for an exemption as outlined below, any international applicant who earned his or her first law degree outside the U.S. must obtain a minimum TOEFL IBT® score of 95 or a minimum IELTS score of 7.0, in order to be considered for admission to the S.J.D. Program at the University of Connecticut School of Law. However, if the applicant meets this required minimum but does not attain a score of 100 or higher on the TOEFL IBT® or 7.5 or higher on the IELTS, the applicant must further substantiate proficiency in English through additional evidence of English language skills. This substantiation must include, but is not limited to, a strong S.J.D. proposal in conjunction with an interview with an Admissions representative, conducted in-person, by phone, or online (using Skype or similar service).
The applicant may request an exemption from the TOEFL IBT® or IELTS requirement if:
• the applicant obtained his or her LL.M. degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law; or
• the language of instruction at the university where the applicant obtained his or her first law degree was in English.
Please note that any international applicant claiming exemption from the TOEFL IBT®/IELTS requirement must submit a written request with his or her application for admission that includes an explanation of the applicant’s proficiency in English along with original documentation supporting the requested exemption on the basis of one or more of the above categories. Exemptions are not automatic and require the approval of the Admissions Committee.
In all instances, regardless of TOEFL IBT® or IELTS score, the Admissions Committee reserves the right to deny an application or to require an online, phone, or in-person interview as part of the application process.