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Application for Admission to the S.J.D. Program

Important: Please read this page in its entirety before beginning your application to the S.J.D. program.


We are accepting applications for our Fall 2015 term and the application deadline is March 1, 2015.  We will not accept late applications or documentation.  There is no spring semester entry to the S.J.D. Program. 

Applications are considered on a rolling basis. 


  • S.J.D. online application form*
  • Dissertation proposal
  • Transcripts from all university-level studies
  • Resume or curriculum vitae
  • English-language writing sample
  • Personal statement
  • Two (or more) letters of recommendation
  • Application fee

* You will be required to upload your dissertation proposal, resume or curriculum vitae, writing sample, and personal statement in order to complete the online application form.

Please either submit all additional required documentation through the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) or directly to our office at the following address:

Fordham University School of Law
Doctor of Juridical Science Program
150 West 62nd Street, Suite 8-131
New York, New York 10023

 Eligibility and Admission Criteria


S.J.D. candidates are generally expected to hold a Master of Laws degree from Fordham Law or another leading U.S. law school.  It is highly unlikely that a student without an LL.M. degree from Fordham or another leading U.S. law school would be admitted to S.J.D. candidacy.

Please note that successful completion of the Fordham Law School LL.M. program does not guarantee admission into our highly-competitive S.J.D. program.

Admission Criteria

The admissions committee will consider the following in evaluating applicants to the S.J.D. degree program:

  • Purpose in pursuing the degree
  • Academic record
  • Recommendations
  • Experience
  • English-language ability
  • Past record and future promise as a legal scholar

The admissions committee must be convinced that the applicant is capable of researching and writing a dissertation that will make a significant contribution to legal scholarship.

Admission to the program will be contingent upon the agreement of a member of the full-time faculty of Fordham Law School to act as Dissertation Adviser.

 Application Procedure

Only complete applications will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee. Complete applications must contain the following:

  • S.J.D. Online Application Form
    Please answer each of the questions on the electronic application form.  
  • Dissertation Proposal
    Please submit a dissertation proposal in the range of 5,000 words.  There is no prescribed format for the dissertation proposal, but it should be in proper academic format with regard to references, quotations, and footnotes.  It should include a table of contents and should be appropriately paginated throughout.  Please also indicate if there is a member of the Fordham Law School full-time faculty whom you would like to serve as your Dissertation Advisor (not required).

    The proposal should contain the following elements:

    • Meaningful working title.
    • Statement of research objectives, which should include the thesis or inquiry to be pursued and demonstrate the originality of the project and the contribution to the field or how the research will be useful to others.
    • Review of current literature.
    • Preliminary organizational and structural components of the project.
    • Methodological strategies to be pursued.
    • Two-page bibliography that lists relevant works that were significant in the formulation of the applicant's thinking about the project.
    • Difficulties that may be encountered in the course of the project.
  • Law School and Other University Transcripts
    You must submit a sealed, official transcript from each college, university, graduate, and law school attended. You should confirm with each school that the transcript shows in detail your academic record (courses taken and grade received for each), degree(s) earned, and the date(s) awarded. An official class ranking must be provided, if available. If there is no official ranking, applicants must explain their school’s grading system and their academic record in relation to it. All transcripts must be in English, and should include an explanation of the grading system. If your school does not provide an English translation of the transcript, a certified translation must be done by the consulate or by a professional agency.
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae
    Your resume or curriculum vitae should include your complete university educational experience, your complete employment history, and any additional academic or professional activities. Please also include references to any publications and presentations.
  • Writing Sample
    Submit an English-language writing sample of at least 50 pages on a legal topic. 
  • Personal Statement
    Submit a typewritten 500-1,000 word personal statement explaining why you want to do the program, why you are suited to performing high-leval academic work, your career goals, and anything else that you may want to communicate to the Admission Committee that may not be apparent from your record.
  • Letters of Recommendation
    Applicants should submit two or more letters of recommendation.  It is generally expected that at least one letter will be from a professor at a U.S. law school. 

    Letters of recommendation must be written on official letterhead.  Each letter must be attached to a completed recommendation request form, available below.  Please submit each letter of recommendation together with a completed recommendation request form in a sealed envelope to our office.  Each recommender must sign the back flap of the sealed envelope.  If you are using LSAC to submit your letters of recommendation, please observe their requirements for submission and use their required form (do not use our form).

    >> click here for our Recommendation Request Form
  • Application Fee
    The fee for submitting an application to Fordham’s S.J.D. program is $70. For applications submitted after the May 1 deadline, the fee is $100. This fee is non-refundable, and is not credited toward tuition or other fees.

    >> click here to pay the S.J.D. application fee


Applications to the S.J.D. program will not be considered until all relevant materials, including the application fee, have been received.

Please note: You will be required to upload your resume/C.V., dissertation proposal, writing sample, and personal statement as part of this application. Please be sure you have both of these documents ready before starting this application, as you cannot save this application form and return to it later.  You may upload either PDF or Microsoft Word documents.

>> Continue to the S.J.D. Application Form
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