Doctor of Science of Law (JSD)

June 2017 JSD cohort with our beloved mentor, Professor Deborah Hensler
June 2017 JSD cohort with their beloved mentor, Professor Deborah Hensler

The Doctor of the Science of Law (JSD) is the Law School’s most advanced law degree, and is considered a doctorate equivalent to a Ph.D.  It is designed for those interested in becoming scholars and teachers of law including interdisciplinary approaches to law.

Study toward the degree is open only to a small number of exceptionally well-qualified students who hold a JD or LL.B earned outside the United States.  Students in the program develop substantive expertise in one or more fields of law and have the opportunity to pursue substantive and methodological training in allied disciplines across the broader university, including but not limited to, the social sciences, humanities, and engineering.  The program culminates in the student producing a dissertation under the personal supervision of a Faculty committee comprised of law school professors as well as, where appropriate given the student’s interests, faculty from other departments of the university.

As of the coming academic year (2022-23), there will be two different tracks for admission into the JSD program.  A minimum of two students will be admitted from among students who have completed the Stanford Program in International Legal Studies (SPILS) at Stanford Law School.  In addition, students at Stanford and at other law schools in the United States who will have completed LLM degrees prior to the commencement of the JSD program are encouraged to apply for admission and will be seriously considered.  To be competitive, students applying from LLM programs must have completed (and must submit) a serious piece of independent, original research demonstrating their scholarly potential.

Admission to the JSD program is on a highly selective basis. Please note that admission to SPILS or to any Stanford LLM program does not imply a commitment by Stanford Law School to accept a student into the JSD program.

Some need-based funding, as well as funding to conduct research and attend conferences is available to admitted JSD students.

Questions concerning the JSD program should be directed to


JSD Candidates

Luis Bergolla

Luis Bergolla

  • JSD Candidate
  • Lecturer & Teaching Fellow in the International Economic Law, Business and Policy LL.M. Program
  • Professor of Practice, University of Arizona College of Law

JSD Alumni

Having a JSD from Stanford Law School opens up countless career opportunities.

Our alumni hold faculty positions in top universities in the United States and around the world, secure positions in the private sector and in non-profit organizations. Together they comprise a tight network of Stanford JSD graduates.