S.J.D. Admissions

Admission to study toward the S.J.D. Degree at IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law is determined by the law school's S.J.D. Admissions Committee. Please be aware that the requirements for admission are strictly applied and the number of candidates selected for study is very small.

Only applicants with exceptionally dissertation advisors, strong credentials, dissertation proposals, and English language proficiency are admitted. 

To be eligible for admission as an S.J.D. candidate, an applicant must further satisfy the following criteria:

  • hold the first degree in law (J.D. or LL.B);
  • hold the Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree from IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law or another ABA accredited law school;
  • demonstrate exceptional promise as a legal scholar, through submission of academic transcripts that reveal outstanding performance in prior academic programs, prior written work (such as an LL.M. thesis or published work) of high quality, and letters of recommendation attesting to the applicant's academic/professional achievements and strengths and weaknesses in ability to conduct sustained and in-depth research and legal analysis;
  • submit a dissertation proposal that is sufficiently detailed and comprehensive to demonstrate that the dissertation will constitute an original and substantial contribution, of publishable quality, to legal scholarship, and that the applicant will be able to successfully complete the proposed dissertation; and
  • obtain the written agreement of a tenured member of the law faculty who has agreed to serve and will be qualified to serve as Dissertation Supervisor.

All S.J.D. Applications must have a dissertation advisor as described above. Applications without a dissertation advisor will not be processed. S.J.D Applicants are personally responsible for obtaining the written agreement of a tenured member of the law faculty.

Non-Native English Speakers

Applicants for whom English is a second language must demonstrate English language proficiency sufficient to successfully undertake the research and writing required for the S.J.D. dissertation. Evidence of English language proficiency will include performance in prior academic degree programs for which English was the language of instruction and prior writings produced in English. The S.J.D. Degree at IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law is not a course-based program of study and ordinarily, coursework in law will have been completed as part of the first law degree and the Master of Laws degree. However, in the discretion of the S.J.D. Admissions Committee, admission may be conditioned on the applicant's completion of one or more courses in research methodologies or scholarly writing.

Application for Admission pdf file