The Doctor of Juridical Science (J.S.D.) is Berkeley Law’s most advanced law degree, aimed at training legal scholars. During the first year, students are exposed to a wide range of classes. These include courses on quantitative and qualitative methodology, ensuring a holistic understanding and mastering of the theoretical underpinnings of law. After advancing to doctoral candidacy in the second year, the focus shifts to academic research. This two-track trajectory ensures that our graduates are well-prepared to undertake and excel in careers in teaching and legal scholarship, anywhere in the world.
Each J.S.D. student works closely with a faculty advisor who specializes in a field of law related to the candidate’s research. The faculty advisor typically chairs the candidate’s dissertation committee. Only law faculty with the title of Professor or Assistant Professor may serve as J.S.D. advisors.
J.S.D. students complete a program of study including a combination of required and elective coursework and independent research. 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. Upon completing the coursework requirement and passing a preliminary oral exam, students advance to J.S.D. candidacy. After advancing to candidacy, the nonresident tuition fee (if applicable) is waived for the subsequent two years of the program.
The J.S.D. program is three years in length and students must be registered on campus full-time for the duration of the program. During the second and third years of the program, J.S.D. candidates focus on research and writing a dissertation, which may consist of either a monograph or a paper series of publishable quality, representing a significant contribution to the field of study. The law school does not provide funding for J.S.D. candidates, although candidates may pursue work as research or teaching assistants on campus.