S.J.D. Application Instructions

Students in classroom

For admission to the S.J.D. program, applicants must submit an application via the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). Only complete and verified applications received from LSAC will be reviewed.

Begin with creating an account with the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). Then, follow these steps:

  • Click on “School Search”
  • Choose the alphabetical range option to search for “The Pennsylvania State University, Dickinson Law”
  • Click on “Add” and go back to “My Home” and Dickinson Law should now be listed under “My School List”
  • Click on “The Pennsylvania State University, Dickinson Law”
  • Click on “Application Information” and select SJD Application for the desired semester.
  • Click on “Apply and Submit Online”

Dickinson Law does not assess any application fees, h. However, LSAC does require certain fees that cannot be waived.

Please note that all applicants must register for the Credential Assembly Service (CAS). As part of that service, LSAC will compile official transcripts and letters of recommendation and send a comprehensive packet of these necessary documents to Dickinson Law.

Application Requirements

The following application documentation is required:

  • LSAC Application and Research Proposal — Applicants must submit a research proposal (usually less than 10 pages) that describes the proposed research topic, the research questions to be pursued, and the research methodology. The proposal should also provide a clear rationale for how the proposed research will make an original and significant contribution to a particular field of legal scholarship.
  • Writing Sample — Applicants must submit a writing sample (in English) written entirely by the applicant without assistance, usually in the form of a legal research paper.
  • Personal Statement — Applicants must submit a brief personal statement (less than 2 pages) that provides a rationale for pursuing an S.J.D. and specifically at Penn State Dickinson Law. This rationale should explain the applicants career plans and the relevance of an S.J.D. degree in realization of those plans.
  • Résumé or Curriculum Vita — Applicants must submit a résumé or CV outlining relevant work experience, education, and publications.
  • Official Transcript(s) — Applicants are required to have official transcripts submitted to LSAC from each degree-granting, post-secondary institution previously attended. Transcripts must include both the original and, if need, a certified English translation. Applicants must comply with all LSAC requirements and policies regarding transcripts and submit official transcripts and translations with the LSAC form(s) through the LSAC LL.M. Credential Assembly Service.
  • TOEFL (>88), IELTS (>6.5) or other evidence of English language proficiency — Applicants for whom English is a native language or who have received an academic degree from a college or university whose language of instruction is English meet the language requirement. In some cases, an oral proficiency interview may still be required. For applicants who are not native English speakers and have not received a degree from a college or university whose language of instruction is English, a TOEFL or IELTS score that meets Dickinson Law’s minimum requirements is required.
  • Letter(s) of Recommendation — Applicants are required to submit three letters of recommendation [three (3) required, four (4) accepted] in English (or certified translations into English), including one from a law professor with whom the applicant previously studied. Recommenders should have knowledge of the applicant’s academic achievement and potential for scholarly research and writing. Each recommender should evaluate the applicant’s capacity for advanced legal research and scholarship, and potential for fulfilling the professional objectives for which the applicant seeks the degree.