Curriculum & Requirements

Requirements to earn an S.J.D. degree:

  • complete 24 credits of course work at the University of Minnesota, excluding credits earned during an LL.M. degree program, as described under Course Requirements below
  • pass the Preliminary Examination
  • complete 24 thesis credits during research and writing phase
  • maintain continuous enrollment until completion of the dissertation
  • demonstrate the capacity for independent research in law by the completion of an original dissertation of publishable quality approved by the student’s dissertation committee
  • make a substantive presentation of the student’s dissertation
  • pass an oral examination on the dissertation

All S.J.D. students must comply with the Law School's academic and conduct regulations applicable to LL.M. students.

Course Requirements

The student will consult with their faculty advisor to select the 24 credits of coursework. Courses typically include the following:

  • An advanced legal research course offered by the Law Library
  • Comprehensive seminars or lecture courses in the substantive field of interest
  • A seminar in which the student can present a paper involving some part of the student’s proposed project
  • A seminar or independent study unit in which the student will prepare a draft dissertation proposal
  • Courses or seminars that teach or apply various alternative methodologies for research and writing in law, including: traditional legal analysis, economic analysis, critical studies and related analyses, and historical analysis

At least 2/3 of this course work (other than the thesis credits) must be graded on the A/F scale. The student must have a grade point average of 3.000 or higher in these courses to continue in the S.J.D. program.