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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:

  • Application Form
  • Application Fee
  • Official copies of academic Records
  • Two letters of Recommendation
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Writing sample
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae
  • Dissertation Proposal in required format
  • Official Proof of English Competency

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.


Submit an online application.

Application Deadlines:

If you are a U.S. Citizen or reside in the U.S.:

May 1st for the summer semester
August 1st for the fall semester
December 15th for the spring semester

If you are not a U.S. citizen or reside outside the U.S. and require travel documents:

March 1st for the summer semester
May 1st for the fall semester
November 1st for the spring semester

Applications may be submitted after the stated deadlines, however, we encourage you to apply early to ensure timely processing of your application.

Application Fee

Each application for admission must be accompanied by a non-refundable $60 application fee.

Academic Records

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 from schools outside the United States require a credential evaluation service report (WES is recommended).

Letters of Recommendation

Candidates must submit two letters of recommendation from law professors, employers, or other persons familiar with the applicant’s academic and professional qualificationsIf 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.

Statement of Purpose

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.

Writing Sample

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.

Résumé or Curriculum Vitae

Candidates must upload a résumé or curriculum vitae.

Dissertation Proposal

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 to 3,000 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.  

Proof of Competency in English

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 may be waived if 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.

To request an English language proficiency waiver, please complete the English Language Proficiency Test Waiver form and submit it to your admissions representative or to [email protected].

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.