Admissions to the S.J.D. Program
Study toward this postdoctoral degree is open only to exceptionally well-qualified students who hold an LL.M. from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law or the equivalent at the discretion of the Associate Dean with advice from the Director of the Center for International Legal Education (CILE).
The first step in the process is to obtain a faculty member's commitment to serve as your academic advisor and chair of your dissertation committee. You should select a faculty member whose research interests fit well with your proposed dissertation topic. You must have a written (email is acceptable) statement from the faculty member committing to be your adviser and to chair your committee to submit with your SJD application form.
Along with the statement of faculty commitment and the S.J.D. program application, the following documents are required to complete your admission packet:
Submit original or certified (notarized) copies of all original language academic records/mark sheets/transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended. Copies or student copies of transcripts are not acceptable. Applicants must include certified copies of their LL.M. degree and transcript. Applicants who are graduates of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law LL.M. program need not submit academic records for post-secondary institutions attended prior to attending the University of Pittsburgh LL.M. program.
The writing sample, the legal subject matter of which need not be related to the dissertation proposal, must be in English, typed and double-spaced. There is no page limit.
The dissertation proposal must be typed, double-spaced, and in the range of 2,500 words (ten pages), with a two-page bibliography attached that lists relevant works that proved significant in the formulation of the applicant's thinking about his or her proposal. The substance of the proposal should: (a) demonstrate the originality of the research project; (b) indicate the importance of the project within the applicant's field of study; and (c) indicate the methodology the applicant expects to employ in the development of the dissertation.
Statement of Interest
S.J.D. applicants are required to provide a narrative statement (approximately 2 - 3 pages) detailing why he or she wishes to pursue a S.J.D.
Curriculum Vitae or Resume
S.J.D. applicants are required to enclose a current curriculum vitae or resume with his or her application.
Certification of English Language Skills
University of Pittsburgh School of Law course work and related academic activities require written and spoken fluency in English. Graduate students whose native language is not English must submit their scores on the standardized Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). These scores must be sent directly to the University of Pittsburgh by the Educational Testing Service. Copies of TOEFL test results are not acceptable.
For information or to apply for the TOEFL, contact the Educational Testing Service, P.O. Box 6151, Princeton, New Jersey, 08541-6151, U.S.A. (http://www.toefl.org) The University of Pittsburgh ETS code is 2927 and the department code for Law is 03.
S.J.D. applicants who are graduates of the University of Pittsburgh LL.M. program need not resubmit TOEFL results. Applicants may request a waiver of the TOEFL if they have studied previously in an English-speaking institution or have used English extensively in their professional work for at least two years. Applicants seeking a waiver should furnish a formal letter requesting such an exemption, as well as evidence of their linguistic competence (e.g. a letter from an employer or an article published in English).
Prior to applying for the S.J.D. program, S.J.D. applicants are required to obtain a recommendation from a University of Pittsburgh School of Law faculty member who is interested and available to supervise the applicant's S.J.D. and to serve as the chair of the applicant's dissertation committee if admitted to the S.J.D. program.
Additionally, S.J.D. applicants must identify and seek the recommendations of two other individuals who are in a position to evaluate the applicant's ability, motivation and potential for succeeding in the University of Pittsburgh S.J.D. program. At least one of these two recommendations should be from a law professor from the school at which the applicant received his or her degree(s) in law, and should evaluate the applicant's capacity for advanced (S.J.D. level) legal scholarship and the applicant's prospects for an academic career or other career for which the applicant seeks the S.J.D.
All completed recommendation forms must be submitted by the individual completing the Recommendation Form. For their convenience in assessing your skills, please provide those persons from whom you seek recommendations with a copy of your dissertation proposal. Also, please provide those persons from whom you seek recommendations with a stamped envelope addressed to the Center for International Legal Education. The recommendation form, a component of the S.J.D. application, may be downloaded in PDF format.
During the first year of the S.J.D. program, the one required year in residence, the tuition will be the same as the tuition for the LL.M. program. See the University's tuition page for the current rate. Tuition beyond the first year of the S.J.D. program is charged based on the full time dissertation credit rate.