FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The University of Connecticut School of Law is launching a new Doctor of Science of Law degree (S.J.D.) program, becoming the only public university in the Northeast to offer that advanced credential. The S.J.D is a research-oriented degree, and qualified applicants will already have earned a Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree and a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree or the equivalent of a J.D. in another nation.
UConn plans to enroll about five S.J.D. students annually and has accepted its first degree candidate, a student from the country of Georgia who starts his studies at UConn later this month. Most applicants are expected to be international students who earned their LL.M. degrees at UConn or elsewhere in the U.S. and want the S.J.D. for teaching, legal practice, government work, or other service in their native countries.
“Every LL.M. and S.J.D. graduate is an ambassador not only of the university, but also of Connecticut and of the United States,” says Professor Peter L. Lindseth, the Olimpiad S. Ioffe Professor of International and Comparative Law, director of international programs at the law school and academic advisor to the S.J.D. program. “Educating these students contributes to establishing a broader reliance upon a common legal language across the world,” he says.
China, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, and several other countries encourage their most promising law graduates to obtain the S.J.D. in addition to the LL.M. before returning home to resume their academic careers. A significant number of UConn’s LL.M. students come from those countries.
“Foreign graduate law students play a critical role in making UConn a global law school, and S.J.D. students studying insurance and financial services law will reinforce Connecticut’s reputation as a national and worldwide center of expertise in these areas,” “Foreign graduate law students play a critical role in making UConn a global law school, and SJD students studying insurance and financial services law will reinforce Connecticut’s reputation as a national and worldwide center of expertise in these areas,” says Peter Kochenburger, executive director of the Insurance Law Center, director of graduate programs, and associate clinical professor of law.
“The addition of the S.J.D. degree allows the law school to recruit outstanding foreign students,” says Willajeanne F. McLean, interim dean of the law school. “This new degree signals to the world that the University of Connecticut School of Law continues to offer the sort of sophisticated training and research associated with the very best law schools both here and abroad.”
UConn’s School of Law currently offers the J.D.; LL.M. programs in U.S. Legal Studies and Insurance Law; and several certificate programs in both the J.D. and U.S. Legal Studies LL.M. programs. No other public law schools in New England, New York or New Jersey offer an S.J.D. program.
Professor Mark Weston Janis, the William F. Starr Professor of Law, initiated the law school’s LL.M. Program in U.S. Legal Studies in 1985.
S.J.D. candidates at UConn will focus on preparing and defending a dissertation, differing from the academic focus on legal theory and skills found in J.D. programs. Since students will focus on their dissertations and not serve as teaching assistants, they will not be eligible to receive salaries, benefits, or tuition waivers.
Plans for the S.J.D. program have been in the works for several years, and started coming to fruition last year with approvals from the University of Connecticut’s Board of Trustees and the Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education.