Butler library in the background with some green leaves in the foreground

J.S.D. Program and Curriculum

Join the next generation of leading legal scholars.

The Doctor of the Science of Law (J.S.D.), Columbia Law School’s most advanced law degree program, prepares students with exceptional academic aptitude for careers in legal scholarship. The program fosters opportunities for distinguished scholarship through advanced seminars and colloquia, facilities for independent research, and guidance from faculty advisers. 

As a J.S.D. student, you will benefit from Columbia University’s abundant resources, world-class faculty, and commitment to cultivating a richly diverse and intellectually curious scholarly community.

During the fall term, the graduate committee assigns an advisory committee to each J.S.D. candidate. All candidates in residence participate in the J.S.D. Workshop and are encouraged to participate in the weekly Academic Fellows Workshop.

As a J.S.D. candidate, you typically do not register for other classroom work, though you are free to audit any law course or seminar pertinent to your area of study with the instructor’s consent.

In consultation with your advisory committee, you will undertake substantial preliminary research to determine the scope of your proposed dissertation. While you must take the initiative in consulting with your advisory committee chair, the committee holds two formal meetings each year (in December and April). At a later stage, the advisory committee may become your examination committee.