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Doctor of Juridical Science

The Emory Law SJD degree program is designed for those seeking careers as teachers and scholars of the law. It is a highly selective program open only to applicants who possess a distinguished academic record in law, show promise of outstanding scholarship, and demonstrate potential for completing a scholarly dissertation of high quality.


  • All doctor of juridical science (SJD) applicants are expected to hold a JD or its foreign equivalent and an LLM degree from a US institution.
  • In exceptional circumstances, the US LLM degree requirement may be waived for applicants who have a law degree from a common law country, and/or a graduate degree in law or related field.
  • For foreign-educated lawyers, first law degree designations vary by country. For a list of law degrees that meet this requirement, please refer to the Minimum Degree Requirements by Country chart found on the LSAC website.
  • The selection process for the SJD program is rigorous. After thorough review of all application materials, in a typical year one or two students are selected to begin the SJD program.

English Language Ability

Students in the SJD program should be prepared to read and discuss in class difficult technical material. Foreign SJD students are examined and graded separately from the JD students in their classes. Daily class preparation is demanding. Students with English language limitations may have difficulty. Only students who feel confident in their English language ability should apply.

For this reason, the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is required of foreign applicants seeking admission from nations in which English is not the primary language of instruction. A TOEFL score of 600 on the paper-based test, 100 on the internet-based test, or 250 on the computer-based test is expected. Emory Law also accepts scores from the IELTS examination; a minimum score of 7.0 is expected.

Typical SJD Schedule

Over the course of the program, a student must accumulate a total of 108 credits to graduate:

First SemesterSecond Semester
First Year

 15 credits

15 credits
Second Year

12 credits

+ 3 credits: Prospectus Defense

12 credits
Third Year12 credits12 credits
Fourth Year12 credits

12 credits

+ 3 credits: Dissertation Defense

Students in the S.J.D. program must be physically in residence and conduct their work from Emory Law’s Atlanta campus during the first two semesters of the program. After the first two semesters in residency, students must be enrolled in the program, but may complete their research and writing from another location if remote work is approved by the student’s faculty supervisor and the 24 Executive Director of Graduate Programs. Students are strongly encouraged to stay in residence in Atlanta for at least their third and fourth semesters.


Artemis Aghdasi

Admission Advisor