Program at a Glance


International Legal Studies, SJD


Online, Hybrid


$21,802 per residency term | $1000 per candidacy term

Program Overview

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.

SJD students are required to register for two courses below in the first fall or spring semester. Note: these courses count toward the eight units that students must complete.

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.

Learning Outcomes

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.

Admissions Requirements

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
  • 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