Complete a two-year full-time course of study, research, and writing under the supervision of a full-time member of the faculty. During this period, the candidate must be in residence in the Washington, D.C. area. After these two years, the candidate may complete the dissertation away from the Washington, D.C. area if given permission from his/her faculty supervisor and the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs to do so. In this case, the candidate will be expected to return to the Law Center at least once a semester to meet with his or her faculty supervisor. While in residency, S.J.D. students are expected to be full-time students and to limit employment (on or off campus) to a maximum of 20 hours per week. This employment restriction applies regardless of whether a student's visa would permit more hours of employment.
Participate in the S.J.D. Colloquium and S.J.D. Methods Seminar during the candidate's time in residency. The S.J.D. Colloquium is a year-long class that allows students to present their work to one another. Its goal is to improve the quality of students' work in a collaborative and supportive environment. The S.J.D. Methods Seminar, which is also a year-long class, provides students with an introduction to the analysis of and methodology for the writing of a dissertation.
Make appropriate and adequate progress towards the completion of a dissertation. At the end of each academic year, the candidate’s dissertation committee will report to the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs whether the candidate is making satisfactory academic progress. If, in the opinion of the dissertation committee and the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs, the candidate is not making appropriate progress, the candidate may be terminated from the program.
Submit a dissertation that is accepted by the candidate’s dissertation committee and complete an oral defense of the dissertation. The dissertation must make an original and substantial contribution to legal scholarship. Where the scholarship is truly exceptional, the committee may recommend that the degree be awarded with distinction.