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Doctor of Science of Law (JSD)

The Doctor of the Science of Law (JSD) is the Law School's most advanced law degree. It is designed for those interested in becoming scholars and teachers of law.

Study toward this postdoctoral degree is open only to exceptionally well-qualified students who hold a JD or its equivalent. It is awarded to students who, under the personal supervision of a faculty member, successfully pursue a course of advanced research in a field in which they are already well grounded, and who produce an advanced dissertation that, in the opinion of the supervising faculty member, makes a substantial contribution to knowledge. The JSD program is limited to a small number of students of exceptional distinction and promise.

Only students who have completed the Stanford Program in International Legal Studies at Stanford Law School are eligible to apply for the JSD Program. For those interested in eventually pursuing a JSD at Stanford, SPILS offers a good opportunity to form relationships with faculty members who might serve as a JSD thesis advisor, to develop a promising dissertation topic, and to demonstrate the intellectual qualifications and scholarly ability that are required of doctoral candidates.

Admission to the JSD program is on a highly selective basis. Please note that admission to SPILS does not imply a commitment by Stanford Law School to accept a student into the JSD program. An applicant whose prior performance in law school and SPILS was not outstanding has little chance of being admitted.

Candidates accepted for admission to the JSD program are required to be in residence at the Law School for the first academic year of the JSD program.

Questions concerning the JSD program should be directed to