Doctor of Juridical Science, Doctor of the Science of Law, (in Latin) Scientiae Juridicae Doctor or Juridicae Scientiae Doctor (sometimes also referred to as a Doctor of Laws), abbreviated S.J.D. or J.S.D., respectively, is a research doctorate in law equivalent to the more commonly awarded research doctorate, the Ph.D. It is offered primarily in the United States, where it originated, in Canada and in Australia. As a research doctorate, it follows professional training in law (LL.B. or J.D.) and the first research degree in law (Master of Laws). It is primarily aimed at educating professors, legal scientists, and other scholars in law.
The J.S.D., or S.J.D. is a research doctorate, and as such it is generally accepted as equivalent to the more commonly awarded research doctorate, the Ph.D. It is considered the "most advanced law degree" by Berkeley Law, Harvard Law School, Yale Law School, George Washington, New York University, Stanford Law,, and UCLA. According to Indiana University it is the “terminal degree in law". The National Association of Legal Professionals states that the J.S.D./S.J.D. is "the most advanced (or terminal) law degree that would follow the earning of the J.D. and LL.M. degrees."
Applicants for the program must have outstanding academic credentials . A first degree in law (such as a J.D. or LL.B.) is required, as well as an LL.M.. Exceptions as to the latter condition (i.e. holding an LL.M.) are seldom—if ever—granted.
The J.S.D. typically requires three to five years to complete . The program begins with a combination of required and elective coursework. Then, upon passage of the oral exam, the student advances to doctoral candidacy. Completion of the program requires a dissertation, which serves as an original contribution to the scholarly field of law.
Notable recipients of the degree of Doctor of Juridical Science include:
Harvey L. Strelzin (New York U., 1906), New York State Assembly member and professor at New York U.
Lowell Turrentine (Harvard, 1929), prominent professor of law at Stanford University
Ayala Procaccia (University of Pennsylvania, 1972), Israel Supreme Court Justice
Christos Rozakis (University of Illinois, 1973) (President of the Administrative Tribunal of the Council of Europe and former vice-president of the European Court of Human Rights
Ma Ying-jeou (Harvard, 1980), President of the Republic of China
Theodor Meron (Harvard Law School), professor of law (New York University) and president of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia
Hanoch Dagan, (Yale Law School, 1993), Stewart and Judy Colton Professor of Legal Theory and Innovation and former Dean of Tel Aviv University Faculty of Law, Justin D'Atri Visiting Professor of Law at Columbia University