Eligibility & Admission Standards

Applicants for admission to the J.S.D. Program must meet the same requirements as those for admission to the LL.M. Program; in addition, applicants must have earned an LL.M. degree at Berkeley Law or another school with a comparable LL.M. program before applying to the J.S.D. program. The LL.M. degree may be from a US school or international.

The J.S.D. Program is severely restricted in size, and admission is normally limited to individuals who are engaged in or are outstanding candidates for academic work or other careers that emphasize legal scholarship.

Faculty Advisor

Admission is contingent upon the support of a suitable faculty member who agrees to serve as the student’s primary advisor. Applications without a signed Faculty Advisor Agreement Form will not be reviewed by the admissions committeeOnly current Academic Senate faculty members may serve as J.S.D. advisors. Click here for a link to the form and some tips on searching for a faculty advisor.

English Language Requirement

Although we do not expect all students who are not native English speakers to be perfectly fluent in English, a student with significant language limitations will have great difficulty coping with the demands of a new cultural, social and academic environment.

The university and the law school require official score reports of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) before admitting an applicant whose primary language is not English. The minimum score required is 100 on the TOEFL Internet-based test, 600 on the TOEFL paper-based test, or 7.0 on the IELTS. For further details on the English language requirement, including how to request a waiver, please go to the Application Checklist page.

Application Evaluation

In evaluating J.S.D. applicants, substantial consideration is given to grades, the dissertation proposal summary, writing sample, personal statement, letters of recommendation, and professional and academic experience. 

Berkeley does not have a minimum GPA requirement or work requirement for J.S.D. applications. We do not require or accept the LSAT or GRE.