S.J.D. Admission Requirements


The S.J.D. program at Penn State Dickinson Law is highly selective with limited admission each year. In order to be accepted into the S.J.D. degree, applicants must have already earned an LL.B., B.A., or J.D. degree in law, or its equivalent, from a duly accredited or recognized national or international institution of higher education, as well as either an LL.M. degree from Dickinson Law or another American Bar Association-accredited law school in the U.S. or a duly accredited or recognized foreign law faculty, or another degree equivalent to at least a master’s degree in law.

Each admitted S.J.D. student will be assigned a primary faculty supervisor at the time of admission. As such, each applicant must submit a dissertation proposal that aligns with the expertise of a Dickinson Law faculty member who is willing and eligible to serve as an S.J.D. faculty supervisor. Applicants are encouraged to contact a potential faculty supervisor prior to official applying for admission. See S.J.D. Core Faculty for more information.

Admissibility is determined on review of the following materials:

  • LSAC Application
  • Research Proposal
  • Writing Sample
  • Personal Statement
  • Résumé or Curriculum Vitae
  • Official Transcript(s)
  • TOEFL (>88), IELTS (>6.5) or other evidence of English language proficiency.
  • Letters of Recommendation (3 required, 4 accepted)

Applications shall be evaluated by Dickinson Law’s S.J.D. Admissions Committee comprised of Dickinson Law faculty and administrators. Admissible applicants may be interviewed (in person or via Zoom) by the S.J.D. Admissions Committee and appropriate members of the Dickinson Law faculty. The S.J.D. Program Committee reserves the right to appoint a co-supervisor, if needed. Generally, a co-supervisor is appointed in circumstances such as when the proposed area of research is interdisciplinary and extends beyond any one area of disciplinary scholarship or faculty expertise.

Application Deadlines

S.J.D. students will generally be admitted in the fall term (August). Spring (January) admission may be possible in limited circumstances provided enrollment capacity allows. Students are not permitted to transfer into the S.J.D. program. Please note that applications are reviewed on a rolling basis until program capacity has been met, at which point the application will be closed.

Fall Admission: May 1
Spring Admission:          October 1

International students who require a visa for study in the U.S. should apply no later than six months ahead of the anticipate start date.