J.S.D. Program

The Doctor of Juridical Science (J.S.D.) is Berkeley Law’s most advanced law degree, preparing its graduates to excel in careers in teaching and legal scholarship anywhere in the world. Our J.S.D. program emphasizes independent research and writing leading to the completion of a dissertation of publishable quality, representing a significant contribution to a candidate’s field of study. 

First-year students take a J.S.D. legal scholarship seminar designed to expose students to canonical arguments and central topics in American legal theory, and which also serves as a forum for students to receive guidance and feedback on their own developing research. Beyond this initial required seminar, students take only a limited amount of coursework as approved by their faculty advisor.

Each J.S.D. student works closely with a tenured or tenure-track member of the law faculty who specializes in a field of law related to the student’s research and serves as the student’s primary advisor. The faculty advisor supervises the student’s dissertation research and writing, and assists the student in assembling a dissertation committee and qualifying exam committee.

The J.S.D. program is three years in length and students are expected to maintain full-time registration for the duration of the program.  Upon completing the required seminar and passing an oral qualifying examination, students advance to J.S.D. candidacy. J.S.D. candidates receive a waiver of the nonresident tuition fee (if applicable) for the subsequent two years of the program.