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SJD Program

The Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) in Corporate and Business Law or Health Law offers the opportunity to demonstrate high scholarly achievement in the field of corporate law or health law and policy. The SJD is designed for exceptional candidates who possess an LLM in corporate law or health law, or a related field and wish to pursue advanced study, research and writing. Candidates to the SJD program must have earned an LLM from a U.S. law school accredited by the American Bar Association, or from a non-U.S. Law School with equivalent standards and degree requirements.

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Curriculum Requirements

An SJD candidate must be a full-time student in residence at Delaware Law School for two academic years. SJD candidates must complete 23 credits the first year, 14 credits the second year, and 6 credits in the third year of the program for a total of 43 credits for graduation. After two years, students who successfully complete their residency requirements are not required to be full-time students, unless they are residing in the U.S. on a student visa. Students may continue their research away from the law school for a period up to one year. Attendance at classes, programs, or conferences relating to the candidate's research may be recommended or required by Dissertation Supervisor.

The SJD candidate must correspond regularly with his/her Dissertation Supervisor (e.g., several times per semester but no less than 3 communications) to discuss the student's progress and future steps in the research process. The candidate should periodically submit written drafts to the Dissertation Supervisor for review, comment, and revision.

First Year

During the first year, students are expected to:

  • Complete and submit to his/her Dissertation Supervisor a revised research proposal and a bibliography that substantially builds on the initial proposal submitted with the student’s application;
  • Complete a specially designated 3 credit writing course offered in the first semester; followed by 2 credits in the next semester for a total of 5 credits;
  • Enroll in a 3-credit colloquium course in the first semester; followed by a second, advanced, 3-credit colloquium course in the next semester for a total of 6 credits;
  • Enroll in 6 credits of SJD Dissertation Research in the first semester; followed by 4 credits of SJD Dissertation Research in the next semester for a total of 10 credits; and
  • Enroll in 2 credits of SJD Dissertation Research in the summer semester.
  • Total first year credits: 23

Second Year Requirements

If the Dissertation Supervisor approves the proposal, during the second year the student is expected to:

  • Submit a dissertation outline to his/her to the Dissertation Supervisor;
  • Complete a specially designated 2-credit writing course offered for both the fall and spring semesters for a total of 4 credits;
  • Enroll in 4 credits of SJD Dissertation Research per semester in the fall and spring for a total of 8 credits; and
  • Enroll in 2 credits of SJD Dissertation Research for the summer semester.
  • Total second year credits: 14

Third Year Requirements

During the third years students will:

  • Enroll in 3 credits of SJD Dissertation Research per semester in the fall and spring for a total of 6 credits;
  • Submit a draft dissertation to his/her Dissertation Supervisor; and
  • Submit a completed dissertation of at least 75,000 words, including notes to his/her Dissertation Supervisor for approval. The dissertation may be in the form of a book or article, and may consist of up to three non-duplicative articles or chapters. Upon submission of the final paper, the candidate may defend his or her dissertation before the Dissertation Committee.
  • Total third year credits: 6


An SJD student’s program may be terminated:

  • If a student’s Dissertation Supervisor, in consultation with the Graduate Programs Committee, determines that the student is not making satisfactory progress toward the completion of the dissertation, the student may be dismissed from the program;
  • If a student fails to pay the required tuition and fees, the student may be dismissed from the program in accordance with University policy; and
  • Termination decisions may be appealed to the Committee on Academic Standing.

Admission Requirements

Learn about our admission requirements.


Visit the Tuition Rate and Payment Guides for tuition rates and other fees. Please be aware that the SJD program is not eligible for federal financial aid.  The Financial Aid Office will process a private education loan for US Citizens or Eligible Non-Citizens seeking US funding. If a student is planning on borrowing a private loan, an individual cost of attendance will be developed in conjunction with the Director of the program based on the required curriculum and our standard budget components.