Doctor of Juridical Science (J.S.D.)

A J.S.D., or Doctor of Juridical Science, is, in effect, legal education’s counterpart to the Ph.D. Those who have already earned an advanced law degree and wish to do intensive, in-depth work in a specific topic in International Legal Studies or International Water Resources Law, normally over a period of several years, should apply to one of the J.S.D. programs.

J.S.D. - International Water Resources Law

A student is eligible to graduate upon successful completion of:

  • 12 units and achievement of a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.7 during the residency period, and
  • successful dissertation proposal presentation, and
  •  8 units earned through enrollment as a JSD candidate, and
  • dissertation defense.

J.S.D. - International Legal Studies

A student is eligible to graduate upon successful completion of:

  • 12 units and achievement of a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.7 during the residency period, and
  • successful dissertation proposal presentation, and
  •  8 units earned through enrollment as a JSD candidate, and
  • dissertation defense.

Questions?

Contact the Graduate & International Programs Office
Email |916.739.7019

Residency Period (For Both JSD Programs)

Students are expected to be in residence at McGeorge for at least two semesters, though they may extend their residency by up to two semesters in order to take additional courses and/or if they need additional time to prepare their Dissertation Proposal. The principal purpose of Residency is the preparation of the Dissertation Proposal, in consultation with the student’s adviser.

Students are required to take the following courses during their residency: 

  • Fall Semester:  Writing for Publication (1 unit); Directed Research (2 units). 
  • Spring Semester:  JSD Research Seminar (1 unit); Directed Research (2 units).
  • Public International Law (3 units) (a requirement that may be waived by the Assistant Dean or Director of International Programs if the student has successfully completed the course elsewhere or if it lacks relevance to their proposed research topic).
  • Electives, as discussed and approved by the Faculty Supervisor.

By the conclusion of the Fall Semester of their residency, JSD students must submit a draft of their research question and literature review to their faculty adviser and Writing for Publication professor.

At the conclusion of their residency, and in order to become JSD candidates, students must submit their Dissertation Proposal to their faculty adviser for approval and give an oral Presentation to a panel comprised of three faculty members. The Dissertation Proposal should include:

  1. a concise statement of the research question; and
  2. a literature review (revised based on feedback received from faculty adviser(s)); and
  3. a précis of the anticipated dissertation; and
  4. a bibliography. 

The Dissertation Proposal should be at least 3500 words in length and should include citations in appropriate format. 

If, in the judgment of a student’s faculty adviser, the Dissertation Proposal indicates that the student has the capacity to write a Dissertation that is of publishable quality and that makes a contribution to the literature, the student will be invited to present his or her Dissertation Proposal. The student’s Presentation should be around 30 minutes in length and should include visual aids (such as PowerPoint slides). The faculty panel and audience members will have 30 minutes to ask questions, make comments, and offer suggestions. Following the presentation, unless the faculty panel determines that more work on the proposal is required, the student will be admitted to candidacy, assuming the students has completed the course work and received the GPA necessary as described above. The next step in the doctoral process.

Candidacy Period (For Both Programs)

JSD candidates may take up to 3 years to submit their Dissertation, though the period of candidacy may be extended if the student receives written permission from the Director of International Programs and his or her faculty adviser. During the course of writing the Dissertation, candidates are expected to remain in regular touch with their adviser(s). They are also expected to submit preliminary drafts for feedback prior to submitting a final draft. The Dissertation is expected to be “book-length” — i.e., around 200 pages (55,000 words). If, in the judgment of a candidate’s faculty adviser, the Dissertation is of publishable quality and makes a contribution to the literature, the candidate will be invited to defend it before a Dissertation Committee comprised of three faculty members selected by the faculty adviser in consultation with the candidate and ideally chaired by an outside expert in the field.  The Dissertation defense, including questions, comments and suggestions by the Committee, normally lasts one hour.  At the conclusion of the defense the Dissertation Committee retires to consider whether to approve of the Dissertation. The JSD degree will be awarded to the candidate if the Dissertation Committee concludes that the Dissertation is of publishable quality and makes a contribution to the literature.  The Dissertation Committee may condition its approval of the Dissertation upon specified modifications.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate the ability to identify and understand key concepts in substantive law, legal theory, and procedure in international law context;
  2. Apply knowledge and critical thinking skills to perform competent legal analysis, reasoning, and problem solving of a particular matter;
  3. Demonstrate the ability to conduct international legal research;
  4. Demonstrate written communication skills.