Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.)

Dickinson Law offers a limited-residency, three-year S.J.D. program that allows students to pursue supervised research leading to the production of a dissertation that should serve as an original and valuable contribution to legal scholarship.

S.J.D. Academics


Residency. All S.J.D. students are required to be in residence at Dickinson Law for one academic year (or two semesters), preferably during year one of the S.J.D. program. During the residency period, students complete two courses: Research Methods (2 credits) and Research Colloquium (2 credits). Whereas Research Methods focuses on the methodological considerations in the proposed area of legal research, the Research Colloquium is designed to engage scholars in a public facing discussion of their proposed research. S.J.D. students may enroll in additional Dickinson Law courses by assignment or with approval. Additional tuition and fees may apply.

Candidacy. In order to move into Candidacy, each S.J.D. student must pass an oral defense to an appointed Candidacy Committee, which usually takes place at the end of the first year. Candidates are encouraged to remain in residence unless their research requires other arrangements. In order to remain a candidate, each must submit an Annual Progress Report to demonstrate that satisfactory research progress is being made.

Defense. Students are expected to complete the program within two years after meeting the minimum residency requirement and achieving candidacy. When appropriate, a candidate’s faculty supervisor will recommend to the S.J.D. Program Committee that the candidate be scheduled to defend the dissertation to an appointed Committee of Examiners. Upon successfully defending the dissertation and submitting the written dissertation as prescribed to Penn State Dickinson Law, the S.J.D degree will be conferred.

S.J.D. students are required to remain enrolled full-time throughout the duration of their S.J.D. studies (i.e., generally a minimum of 12 credits per semester).  As long as one stays enrolled full-time, there are no minimum credit requirements to fulfill the degree requirements.  For example, a typical three-year program would include 12 credits per semester for six semesters (72 credits).  In addition to the two required courses of 2 credits each, students will have earned 76 credits in total. A typical three-year schedule is as follows:

S.J.D. Table


Contact Us

Please contact us with any questions. Prospective applicants may also direct questions regarding the S.J.D. program to:

Tony OgdenAnthony C. Ogden, Ph.D.
Director, International Programs and Graduate Education
Phone: 717-241-3532