How to Apply

Entry Requirements

SJD applicants must have completed their first degree in law at a university outside of the United States and have completed (or be in the process of completing) an LL.M. degree at the University of Minnesota Law School or another American Bar Association-approved law school. 

Applicants whose native language is not English must also demonstrate proficiency in English. Minimum TOEFL score is 80, with strong preference given to candidates who score 100 or higher. IELTS scores are also accepted, with a minimum score of 6.5 required.

The ideal S.J.D. candidate meets the above requirements and is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School LL.M. or JD program.

2024-25 Tuition and Fees (estimated)

Tuition* $59,200 
Mandatory insurance & fees $6,300 
Living expenses & textbooks $18,500 (for one person in modest accommodations)

If offered admission to the program, applicants must provide evidence of adequate financial support for their educational and personal expenses (including tuition and fees, mandatory health insurance, textbook costs, and living expenses for one year). Limited funding is available from the University of Minnesota Law School for scholarships. Every admitted student is automatically considered for a scholarship; no additional scholarship application is required.

All costs are estimates and subject to change. Final tuition and fee rates are set by the central University at the beginning of each fiscal year.

*Tuition fees after the first year will be determined by the number of credits taken in subsequent years.

Application Process

A completed application includes:

  • application form and application fee
  • résumé or CV
  • personal statement
  • official academic transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
  • two letters of recommendation
  • proof of English proficiency
  • a detailed dissertation proposal demonstrating that the dissertation will constitute an original and substantial contribution, of publishable quality, to legal scholarship
  • an extensive, high quality writing sample written in English to demonstrate the ability to engage in advanced research and writing

To apply for the 2024-25 S.J.D. cohort:

  • Application available: October 1, 2023
  • Priority Application Deadline: March 1, 2024

S.J.D. applications received after March 1 and before the final application deadline of May 1 are reviewed on a space-available basis. Qualified applicants may be interviewed by phone (or in person, if practical).

To apply online:
S.J.D applicants should use the LSAC online application which becomes available on October 1. Before you begin to complete the online application, please review the University of Minnesota’s requirements and application instructions by clicking on “Law School Instructions.” Please note that you will be required to use the complete LSAC Credential Assembly Service and to pay the application fee with a credit card. 

To apply via postal mail (by request only):
Applicants with extenuating circumstances may request to apply via postal mail instead of online. Instructions for applying are included on the  S.J.D. Application PDF or  S.J.D. Application Word Doc If you download the paper application forms, you must pay the application fee with a check in U.S. dollars, which must be enclosed with your application.


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