The S.J.D. degree program is designed for law school graduates who have excellent law school academic performance and writing skills indicating potential to conduct legal research and scholarship in the English language. The S.J.D. program is a very small and highly selective program. The Law School will accept no more than two S.J.D. candidates in a given academic year. Admitted S.J.D. students are expected to complete their dissertation research within 3 years.
The S.J.D. program has two-tracks:
TRACK 1: For Temple Law School LL.M. graduates
To be eligible for S.J.D. admission consideration, Temple LL.M. graduates must:
- Take courses for grades during the LL.M. degree program.
- Earn a final cumulative Temple Law School Grade Point Average of 3.33 or higher
- Earn a grade of B+ (3.33) or higher in Legal Research and Writing I.
- Earn a grade of B (3.00) or higher in an upper division research writing seminar
- Demonstrate of TOEFL IBT score of 100 or IELTS score of at least 7.0 with no individual scores below 6.5 points.
- Complete and submit an on-line Temple S.J.D. application
- Provide two letters of recommendation from two Temple law professors. The letters must (a) endorse the applicant’s English writing ability; (b) recommend the applicant’s admission into the program and (c) endorse the subject matter of the proposed dissertation.
- Submit a detailed dissertation topic proposal.
- Resume or CV
- Personal statement describing your goals and motivation to earn the S.J.D. degree
S.J.D. applicants should not solicit Temple law professors regarding S.J.D. dissertation supervision in advance. A Temple Law faculty S.J.D. Committee has been established to review each S.J.D. applicant’s file. That Committee decides if an applicant’s S.J.D. file is suitable for presentation to a tenured Temple law professor that the Committee has identified as a potential S.J.D. research advisor and dissertation committee chairperson. The faculty S.J.D. Committee– and not individual law professors will make all final decisions regarding S.J.D. admission and dissertation advisor assignments.
Academic Requirements for Admitted S.J.D. Students who are Temple LL.M. Graduates
If admitted to the S.J.D. program, a Temple LL.M. graduate will thereafter register for two credits of Dissertation Research for every semester of enrollment in the program. S.J.D. students are expected to spend at least one year in residence at the Temple Law School campus in Philadelphia to meet regularly with their dissertation advisor. S.J.D. candidates have three years in which to complete the dissertation. In extraordinary circumstances, the dissertation advisor has the discretion to grant extension to this period. At the end of each academic year of enrollment, the dissertation advisor must certify to the S.J.D. Committee that the candidate has made satisfactory progress. If in the estimation of the advisor, the candidate has not made satisfactory progress at the end of any academic year, the student will receive a written warning that they must make satisfactory progress by the end of the following semester to continue in the program.
TRACK 2: For LL.M. graduates from other law schools
To be eligible for S.J.D. admission consideration, applicants who did not earn their LL.M. degree at Temple Law School must submit the following:
- Complete and submit an on-line Temple Law S.J.D. application
- Official transcripts from all Law Schools and universities previously attended
- An official TOEFL or IELTS score report. SJD applicants must demonstrate and IBT score of at least 100 or IELTS overall score of 7.0 with no individual scores below 6.5.
- Two letters of recommendation from either professors or work place superiors who are able to certify an applicant’s legal research and writing skills.
- A detailed dissertation topic proposal
- Resume or CV
- Personal statement describing your goals and motivation to earn the S.J.D. degree
S.J.D. applicants should not solicit Temple law professors regarding S.J.D. dissertation supervision in advance. The applicant must meet the requirements for admission into our LL.M. program. In addition, the law faculty S.J.D. Committee will review each applicant’s file and decide if an applicant’s proposal will be passed on to a tenured law professor who might be willing to serve as an advisor and student dissertation chairperson. If a professor is identified and amenable, the candidate may be admitted into the S.J.D. program. The faculty S.J.D. Committee will make all final decisions regarding S.J.D. admission and dissertation advisor assignments. Individual professors cannot independently make S.J.D. admission offers.
Academic Requirements for Admitted S.J.D. Students who are not Temple LL.M. Graduates
Compulsory Curriculum in the First Year of the S.J.D. Program for Non-Temple LL.M. Graduates
Non-Temple LL.M. graduates admitted to the S.J.D. program are required to enroll in at least one semester of graded Temple Law classes before they will be permitted to begin work on their dissertation. The required S.J.D. student First-Year classes would be individually designated subjects from the JD curriculum that relate to the student’s research topic, including at least one law writing class (LRW I for foreign students would suffice). The student must earn a cumulative G.P.A. of 3.33 or higher and must earn a grade of B or higher in the writing class (B+ for the foreign student LRW class). If a student fails to satisfy the grade requirement after one semester, the advisor and the Office of Graduate and International Programs will consider whether to allow the student to enroll in spring semester classes to bring his or her record into compliance. Students who enroll in the spring semester must pay full tuition for that second semester of law course work.
Academic Progress Requirements to Maintain S.J.D. Program Enrollment
After the one or two semesters of course work are successfully completed, S.J.D. students who are not Temple LL.M. graduates will have three years in which to complete the dissertation. S.J.D. students are expected to spend at least one year in residence at the Temple Law School campus in Philadelphia to meet regularly with their dissertation advisor. As in the case of Temple LL.M. graduates enrolled in the S.J.D. program, the dissertation advisor has the discretion to grant extensions to the three-year period. At the end of the each academic year of enrollment, the dissertation advisor must certify to the S.J.D. Committee that the candidate has made satisfactory progress. If a dissertation advisor determines that a S.J.D. student has not made satisfactory progress at the end of any academic year, the student will be given a written warning that they must make satisfactory progress at the end of the following semester to continue in the program.
Other S.J.D. Student Program Requirements and Resources
After the first year of dissertation work, if the advisor deems that the candidate has made satisfactory progress, the advisor will form a dissertation committee consisting of at least two other faculty members, at least one of whom is tenured or on tenure track. Non-tenure tracked faculty may serve on a committee only if they have a long-term (5-year) contract. The advisor has the discretion to form that committee before the end of the first dissertation year.
Annual Public Presentation of S.J.D. Dissertation Work-In-Progress
Once S.J.D. students have begun working on their thesis, they must give a public presentation of their research during each academic year. This could be in a student organization event or a student panel organized by the Graduate and International Programs Office.
Faculty Colloquia Attendance
S.J.D. students should be informed of and invited to attend faculty colloquia. This will help students understand what is expected of legal academic researchers and will offer examples of how to present legal research in an academic setting.
Law Professor Mentor and Classroom Observation
Law professors may offer to mentor S.J.D. students by allowing them to observe one of their classes and provide information about pedagogical issues related to teaching law students.
Oral Dissertation Defense
When an advisor, in consultation with the candidate’s dissertation committee, has determined that the candidate is ready to defend the dissertation, the advisor will coordinate scheduling of the oral dissertation defense with the Office of Graduate and International Programs. If the candidate passes the defense, they will work with the Office of Graduate and International Programs to ensure that their dissertation is properly submitted to the University. If the candidate conditionally passes the defense, the advisor will give the candidate a deadline to satisfy any deficiencies in the dissertation and that deadline may not exceed one semester. If the candidate fails the defense, the candidate will be withdrawn from the program.
At the discretion of the advisor, the candidate may be awarded an “honors” designation on the transcript for an outstanding dissertation.
S.J.D. Tuition and Fees
All entering, S.J.D. candidates will be charged a one-time S.J.D. program fee of $12,000.
Temple LL.M. graduates enrolled in the S.J.D. program will thereafter register for two credits of Dissertation Research for every semester they are in the program. They will pay a per-credit hour tuition charge for each semester of enrollment set by the Temple University Board of Trustees.
Non-Temple LL.M. graduates enrolled in the S.J.D. program will register for law classes in the first semester. If a S.J.D. student who did not graduate from Temple’s LL.M. program is required to enroll for a second semester of classes, that student will be required to pay the full-time tuition rate for that second semester. If the S.J.D. student is approved to begin work on their dissertation, they shall thereafter register for two credits of Dissertation Research for every semester of S.J.D. program enrollment. They will pay a per-credit hour tuition charge for each semester of enrollment set by the Temple University Board of Trustees.
S.J.D. students will also be charged any mandatory Temple University student non-tuition fees including international student fees assessed to all F-1 visa students and university service fees assessed to all enrolled Temple University students.