S.J.D. Degree Requirements

Students in classroom

As a rule, individuals in the S.J.D. program will be physically resident and maintain full-time registered status at Dickinson Law in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, for at least one but no more than two academic years (excluding the summer session). During the individuals’ period in residence at Dickinson Law, they will be expected to:

  • Enroll in and complete the Research Methods Seminar (approximately 2 credits);
  • Enroll in and complete such other courses that the Admissions Committee, in conjunction with the individuals’ Faculty Advisors, may require, depending upon the individuals’ background, experience, and prior research degrees
  • Enroll in or audit any additional courses that the Admissions Committee may, in consultation with the individuals’ Faculty Advisors, recommend as relevant to the candidates’ dissertation research;
  • Undertake and, insofar as possible, complete research on or off site from Dickinson Law; and
  • Report on their progress towards completion of their degree requirements each semester.

Individuals undertaking the S.J.D. program will take all courses on a pass/fail basis and will not receive a Grade Point Average or class rank. Those in their period of residence in the S.J.D. program will be graded with an “R” (Research) for successful progress or completion (pass), which will remain on the individuals’ transcripts as the final evaluation for the course. If an individual’s Faculty Advisor determines that the individual is not maintaining appropriate progress toward degree completion, an “F” (Failure) may be recorded.

By the end of the individuals’ first academic year in residence but no later than the second semester of the second academic year in residence, the individuals must:

  • Complete and submit their “Candidacy Submissions,” which shall include a chapter of their dissertation proposals, or equivalent papers, along with detailed bibliographies and outlines of their entire dissertations, to their respective Candidacy Committees; and
  • Orally present their Candidacy Submissions to their respective Candidacy Committees.
  • Individuals unable to complete these requirements within two full-time academic years may apply to the Associate Dean of Dickinson Law for an extension of time for good cause. Individuals not approved for an extension by the Associate Dean shall be dismissed from the S.J.D. program.

Students who successfully satisfy the Candidacy Committee as to their progress will be considered Candidates for the S.J.D. degree. Individuals who have passed their candidacy requirements:

  • May remain in residence thereafter and register in S.J.D. Dissertation for residents or decide not to remain in residence and register for S.J.D. Dissertation for nonresidents;
  • Must within no more than three years after completing their required term in residency complete their dissertations at a standard that the Dissertation Defense Committee deems suitable for publication;
  • Must defend their dissertations during oral defenses arranged and held by their Dissertation Defense Committees and open to the public; and
  • Upon completion of their oral dissertation defenses, must submit the S.J.D. Candidacy Dissertation Form to the Registrar of Dickinson Law.

A Candidate who is unable to complete the dissertation within three calendar years following admission to Candidate status may apply for an extension of time for good cause to the Associate Dean of Dickinson Law.