The J.S.D. program is designed for individuals who have demonstrated exceptional intellectual and academic aptitude. Applicants should be able to present ample evidence of their legal research and writing achievements as well as their ability to work independently on a substantial research project.
Because diversity of all kinds deeply enriches the Columbia student body, our admissions process accommodates applicants with varied backgrounds and life experiences, which are integral to the social and intellectual life of our community.
J.S.D. applicants must hold either a Columbia Law JD or an LL.M. from Columbia Law or another university (or be in the process of obtaining an LL.M.). An LL.M. degree earned through correspondence coursework or distance learning does not suffice for admission. The admissions process prioritizes applicants who are completing or have completed their LL.M. at Columbia Law, but candidates with exceptional credentials from another institution might be admitted.
Admission for the J.S.D. degree is normally restricted to applicants who are interested in a career in law teaching. You must present evidence of impressive achievements in undergraduate law study or in subsequent scholarly or professional activities, with special emphasis on your capacity for innovative legal research and writing.