Apply to S.J.D.

Important dates

For the S.J.D. program, the application cycle is open from September 15 to March 1.

Components of your application

1. S.J.D. application form

Please use the application form linked below. Our S.J.D. application form is NOT available in LSAC. If you wish to include supporting materials from LSAC, simply provide your LSAC account number on our application form and assign these materials to your Fordham Law S.J.D. application using your LSAC account. We will request your materials from LSAC. Applications to the S.J.D. program will not be considered until all relevant materials, including the application fee, have been received. Make sure each of these documents is ready before starting this application, as you cannot save this application form and return it later. You may upload either PDF or Microsoft Word documents.

The application form will be linked from here when the next admissions cycle opens on September 15.

2. Personal statement 

Submit a 500-1,000 word personal statement explaining why you want to do the program, why you are suited to performing high-level academic work, your career goals, and anything else that you may wish to communicate to the Admission Committee that may not be apparent from your record.

3. Resume or curriculum vitae

4. 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 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.

5. English language writing sample (50 pages)

Submit an English-language academic writing sample of at least 50 pages on a legal topic.  The writing sample should demonstrate your ability to conduct advanced, academic legal research. If you do not have an appropriate paper that meets this page requirement, you may submit up to three separate papers to complete the page requirement.

6. Transcripts from all university-level studies (official copies)

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 with 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, then provide a translation. If you are using LSAC to submit your transcripts, be sure you have included your LSAC number on our application form. We will request your report from LSAC. Do not submit a duplicate application form in LSAC.

7. Two or more letters of recommendation

Applicants should submit two or more letters of recommendation. At least one letter must be from a full-time professor who taught you during your U.S. LL.M. degree program. Letters of recommendation must be written on official letterhead. If you are mailing your letters to us, each letter must be submitted with a completed S.J.D. Recommendation Request Form. Each recommender must sign the back flap of the sealed envelope.

If you are using LSAC to submit your letters of recommendation, observe LSAC's requirements for submission and the form required by LSAC (do not use our form). Be sure to include your LSAC number on our application form. Do not submit a duplicate application form in LSAC.

8. Application fee

The fee for applying to Fordham’s SJD program is $70. This fee is non-refundable and is not credited toward tuition or other fees.  A link to pay the fee will appear after you submit the application form. Make sure to submit all additional required documents through the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) by providing your LSAC number on our S.J.D. application form or via direct mail containing unopened, official copies of supporting materials to our office address:

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

Admission criteria and eligibility

S.J.D. candidates are generally expected to hold an LL.M. degree from Fordham Law or another leading U.S. law school. In some rare cases, an applicant with an LL.M. degree from another common law country will be admitted.

Successful completion of Fordham Law's LL.M. program does not guarantee admission into our highly competitive S.J.D. program. The admissions committee must be convinced that the applicant can research and write a dissertation that will significantly contribute 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.