SJD Application Requirements
The SJD is an intensive effort in research, writing, and analysis. The candidate must demonstrate capacity to do sustained, high-level work. Consideration is given to an applicant’s proposed research project, academic record, professional experience, recommendations and English-language ability.
To be considered for admission the candidate must submit the following materials:
Admission will be granted by the Dissertation Supervisor and the Office of Graduate, International, Compliance, & Legal Studies Admissions Committee. The Dissertation Supervisor will be appointed from a member of the Law School faculty or will be a prominent member of the legal field with sufficient knowledge and experience to serve as the candidate’s primary Dissertation Supervisor.
Candidates must complete and submit the SJD Application Form. It is recommended that candidates complete and submit the application online through the LSAC (Law School Admission Council) website unless candidate is a graduate of Delaware Law School. If a candidate wishes to apply directly to Delaware Law School, download the application (pdf).
Application Deadline: May 1st for the fall semester; October 1st for the spring semester; and February 1st for the summer semester.
Each application for admission must be accompanied by a non-refundable $75 application fee, which is payable through the LSAC online application service via credit card; or, if applying directly to Delaware Law School, a check or money order should accompany the application.
Candidates must demonstrate distinguished academic performance and provide official transcripts of all law, graduate, and undergraduate schools attended. Transcripts must be written in English or accompanied by a certified translation. All academic records should be sent through the LSAC Credential Assembly Service unless applicant is a graduate of Delaware Law School or should accompany candidate’s application if applying directly.
Candidates must submit two letters of recommendation from law professors, employers, or other persons familiar with the applicant’s academic and professional qualifications. If the candidate attended an LLM program in the US both letters of recommendation must be from professors that taught a substantive course in that LLM program.
Candidates must submit at least a one page single-spaced essay explaining why he or she is seeking the SJD degree from Delaware Law and how this degree will advance his/her professional objectives. This essay may include reference to a specific position that the applicant seeks to attain or to an area of law where the applicant plans to make a notable contribution.
The writing sample shall consist of example of student’s prior work, the legal subject matter of which does not need to be related to the dissertation proposal, must be in English, typed and double-spaced. There is no page limit.
Candidates must upload a résumé or curriculum vitae to the LSAC online application service, or include with application materials if applying directly.
Candidates must submit a detailed statement of the proposed dissertation topic. The proposal must be 10-15 pages in length, double-spaced, with Times New Roman 12-point font, and 1 inch margins on all sides. The dissertation proposal must be typed, double-spaced, and in the range of 2,500 words (ten pages), with a bibliography attached. The substance of the proposal should: (a) demonstrate the creative and independent thinking of the candidate; (b) indicate the importance of the proposal in law; and (c) indicate the methodology the candidate expects to use in the development of the dissertation.
Applicants whose first language is not English must submit test results for English competency, as described below. It is not necessary to submit more than one test result.
Waiver of Proof of Competency in English
Proof of competency in English cannot be waived unless applicants have received a bachelors or masters degree (including an LLM) from an accredited institution in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, or New Zealand. To request the waiver, please include your most recent TOEFL or IELTS score on the application and submit the transcript from the degree program that meets the above criteria. If a waiver is granted, applicants will not need to re-take the TOEFL or IELTS or submit an official score.
The candidate’s success relies heavily upon a high-level of English proficiency. SJD students must be able to communicate effectively with his/her Dissertation Supervisor. Students must be able to read and to express thoughts effectively in orally and in writing. Delaware Law School does not grant conditional admission to applicants while language proficiency test results are pending.