Applying for the Ph.D. (JSP) Program

JSP Admissions

The JSP Program annually enrolls 8-10 students to maintain a cohort of about 50 graduate students. Our students come from a large variety of undergraduate backgrounds and institutions. Many have earned advanced degrees or completed significant work experience before beginning study at JSP. But many come to us straight from college, following the completion of the BA degree. No prior legal education is required for admission to the JSP Program.

What unites JSP graduate students in a shared interest in the social and philosophical study of law, legal institutions, and legal discourse, and the exploration of law’s connection with other cultural practices and norms. Those JSP students, who considered graduate study in more traditional departments, find it advantageous to be placed in a community of scholars who share their broad interests in law and society. This critical mass of students and faculty – trained in a variety of disciplines and combining disciplinary approaches in different ways – forms one of the special strengths and attractions of study at JSP.

The JSP Student Affairs Officer can provide additional information, and can help potential applications make contact with current students and faculty who share their academic interests or backgrounds.

Applying to the JSP Program

Students are admitted to the program by the Graduate Division of the University of California, Berkeley, on recommendation of the Jurisprudence and Social Policy admissions committee. Applications and other graduate forms can also be obtained from the UC Berkeley Graduate Division. Applicants are encouraged to use the web-based application form.

Additional information about the program may be obtained from:

The Graduate Assistant
Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program
School of Law
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720-2150
E-mail to:

Along with the Graduate Division forms, applicants are asked to submit:

  •  transcripts of grades
  •  GRE aptitude test scores
  •  three letters of recommendation
  •  a statement of purpose
  •  a sample of past written work

The deadline to apply to the program is December 15, (for admissions and fellowships) each year. Applicants are strongly encouraged to notify the JSP Program Assistant if they also are applying separately for admission to the School of Law’s J.D. program. Additional application instructions.

Combining the JD and JSP Degrees

Admission to the Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program is completely separate from admission to the School of Law’s professional law (J.D.) program. Although it is possible to work simultaneously toward degrees in both programs, this requires separate admission to each program.

Applications, forms and further information about the School of Law’s J.D. program can be obtained from the Admissions section of the Boalt Hall website.

For More Information

More information about combining the JSP Ph.D. and J.D. degrees is available on this website.

J.D. applications also may be obtained by writing to:

Office of Admissions
School of Law
5 Boalt Hall
University of California at Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200