Program at a Glance
International Legal Studies, SJD
$21,802 per residency term | $1000 per candidacy term
The Doctor of Juridical Sciences (SJD) in International Legal Studies is designed to give students the opportunity to acquire specialized knowledge in a particular area of international law, with an emphasis on the legal, cultural, sociological, and business activities of the Pacific Rim, the European Community, and other regions of the world as they interact with one another and with the United States.
Applicants to the SJD program must identify the field or fields in which they intend to concentrate their research. The fields are intended to ensure that the student acquires in-depth knowledge in a variety of areas related to the dissertation topic, and thus develops mature and reflective perspectives on that topic.
Students admitted to the SJD program must earn a minimum of 8 units and spend at least two semesters in residency. Each student’s program of study must be approved by the committee on advanced international legal studies in consultation with the dissertation supervisor.
Each SJD student will work closely with the dissertation supervisor during the residency period. At the end of the second semester in residence, the student must present a selected bibliography, a detailed outline, and a draft chapter of the dissertation, as well as pass a qualifying oral examination. Students who successfully complete these tasks will be advanced to candidacy. The SJD candidate is expected to work closely with the members of the dissertation committee during the candidacy period and must present a final dissertation in publishable form no later than four years after advancing to candidacy.
SJD students must enroll in SJD 910 SJD Residency for two semesters as one of the program requirements, which are typically their first two semesters after matriculating into the program. Each student’s dissertation topic and areas of research must be approved by the SJD Program Director.
SJD students must complete a minimum of eight units to meet the coursework requirements of the SJD degree.
At the end of the second semester in residence, each student must submit a detailed research plan that includes a comprehensive bibliography, an introduction, and the first chapter of the dissertation to secure the committee’s approval of the plan and materials. Students are expected to successfully present all documents above at the First Oral Exam before their dissertation committees by the end of the second semester. The dissertation committee decides whether or not to advance the student to the next phase (Candidacy).
During the SJD Candidacy Phase, the SJD candidate should be registered for “SJD Candidacy” during every semester until completion of the program. The candidate should remain in contact with the members of their Committee during this period, and must be able to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the SJD Program Director that the candidate is making progress toward completion of the dissertation. The student must present a final dissertation in publishable form no later than four years after advancing to candidacy. The final step toward completion of the program is the candidate’s successful public defense before the candidate’s dissertation committee.
SJD students are bound by the Continuous Enrollment Policy at the law school and must register for the fall and spring semesters for each year during their study. Students who do not register for any given semester may be subject to administrative withdrawal from the program. Certain students will be required to register for the summer term as directed by the SJD Program Director. Please read all applicable rules and policies in Graduate Law Program section of this handbook.
The Sompong Sucharitkul Center
for Advanced International Legal Studies (SSCAILS)
The Sompong Sucharitkul Center for Advanced International Legal Studies at Golden Gate University School of Law brings together scholars and students interested in international legal studies.
The Center’s journal, the Annual Survey of International and Comparative Law, contains articles written by professors and legal scholars of civil, common law, and other legal systems. The published articles address a broad range of issues concerning international law. The Survey editors encourage research based on empirical observations and experience in addition to theoretical and multi-disciplinary approaches.
The Center’s Annual Fulbright Symposium provides a forum for engagement and debate among scholars, practitioners, and other professionals working in the areas of international and comparative law and related fields. Each year, the conference theme addresses cutting edge issues in international law. The conference offers law faculty and students rare access to Fulbright scholars, diplomatic and consul officers, and other international law experts.
Students graduating from the Doctor of Juridical Science program will acquire:
- Improved Intellectual Skills: Graduates will demonstrate the ability to understand legal concepts, rules, and procedures.
- Cognitive Ability: Graduates will demonstrate they possess critical thinking skills and are able to think strategically, organize, and behave professionally.
- Pedagogy Skills: Graduates will demonstrate the ability to acquire and advance their pedagogical skills to be able to teach and impact knowledge to other students.
- Scholarly Writing: Graduates will demonstrate they possess research and writing skills necessary for writing publishable scholarly works.
- Professional and Career Attitude: Graduates will demonstrate they possess the necessary skills for a successful career in whatever career path they choose. They will demonstrate they possess the interpersonal skills and networking abilities to pursue enhanced career options.
All applicants are encouraged to apply as early as possible during the admission cycle. To receive consideration by the Admissions Committee, applicants must submit their applications by the posted deadline. Applications may be accepted after the posted deadline and are reviewed on a space-available basis.
A complete SJD program application consists of the following:
- Completed and signed Application Form, available at www.lsac.org
- Research Statement;
- Resume or Curriculum Vitae (C.V.);
- Writing Sample
- Character and Fitness Addendum (if applicable);
- Letters of Recommendation;
- Law School Transcripts (translated if not in English);
- Interview (if applicable); and
- Non-US applicants must submit additional documents
There is no fee to apply. It is highly recommended that applicants apply prior to the priority deadline as admission and scholarship decisions are made on a rolling basis.
- March 1 is the priority application deadline
Please note fall semester classes are scheduled August to December, spring semester classes are scheduled January to May, and summer semester classes are scheduled May to July, with most classes held in the evening.
Applications are complete when they contain all of the required materials detailed below. Once an application is complete, it is forwarded to the Admissions Committee for review. A decision is typically rendered four to six weeks after an application is forwarded to the Committee, but may be reached sooner. Applicants will be notified of decisions through email and LSAC’s Online Status Check (see below). All admission decisions are final.
Applicants may use the electronic application form available through the LSAC website. Applicants are advised to read the application form thoroughly and follow the instructions carefully. Applications are open one year prior to the start of the term.
Applicants must submit a written research statement. The statement must be no more than 10 double-spaced, typed 8.5-11-inch (or A4) pages. The statement should provide a narrative description of the applicant’s reasons for seeking an SJD in International Legal Studies degree. It should also set forth in specific terms the applicant’s intended fields of inquiry and research objectives. In addition, the applicant may submit a bibliography in support of the statement. Please not that the bibliography is not an acceptable substitute for the narrative research statement. View the SJD procedural guidelines.
Resume or C.V.
Applicants must include a current résumé or C.V. detailing educational and work history along with any current or past community service or volunteer experience.
SJD Writing Sample
Applicants must submit one writing sample written in the English language on a legal topic (e.g., published article or LLM thesis).
Character and Fitness Addendum
If an applicant answers “Yes” to any of the questions in the Character and Fitness section, an addendum is required. Applicants must provide a statement that includes the date(s) of occurrence, an explanation of relevant circumstances, and how the matter was resolved for each “Yes” response in that section. If an applicant has questions or is uncertain about how to answer, the applicant is strongly encouraged to consult our Office of Admissions and/or the Committee of Bar Examiners in the state in which the applicant intends to practice law.
Letters of Recommendation
Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit at least two, but no more than four, letters of recommendation. Letters from current or former professors, professional colleagues, and/or supervisors who can attest to the applicant’s intellectual and professional attributes are most effective. Letters from friends, family members, and other such acquaintances are not advisable. All letters of recommendation must be submitted by the recommender directly.
Law School Transripts
Applicants must provide all undergraduate and graduate school transcripts. AT MINIMUM, APPLICANTS MUST POSSESS AN LLM OR EQUIVALENT LAW DEGREE FROM A LAW SCHOOL OR UNIVERSITY BEFORE THE FIRST DAY OF NEW STUDENT ORIENTATION. Applicants are required to provide original, official transcripts or certified true copies of their academic record, whether from a U.S. institution or non-U.S. institution. These records must be in the original issuing language and come directly from the issuing academic institution. If that issuing language is not English, a certified English translation must accompany the record. If these records are included with the applicant’s submission, academic records should be in an official, sealed envelope from the institution. GGU Law will withdraw offers of admission from admitted students who cannot show proof of a conferred law degree.
Although an interview is not required, one may be scheduled upon request.
Through the LSAC website, GGU Law provides an Online Status Check for applicants to check the progress of their application. We encourage applicants to check their status via this service, as it provides the most up-to-date information. Once the Admissions Office receives an application, the applicant is emailed a confirmation, which includes a unique username and password to access the Online Status Check.