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Doctor of Juridical Science in Environmental Law

Academics Env. SJD

The Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) in Environmental Law is a graduate research degree intended to prepare legal scholars to research, publish and teach in the field of environmental law, whether in the United States or elsewhere in the world.

Candidates for the SJD work under close faculty supervision to research, write and defend a publishable doctoral dissertation that creates original knowledge about their chosen topics in environmental law. This is a process which requires at least one academic year in residence at Pace Law School, although it may take two to three years or even longer.

Admission to the SJD program is competitive and highly selective. Ordinarily, only one new candidate is admitted each year. A primary consideration in the admission of each new SJD candidate is whether a suitable faculty supervisor is available to supervise that particular candidate for the duration of his or her SJD program.

Before enrolling, SJD candidates should have completed substantial graduate coursework in environmental law, and ideally a full LLM degree in environmental law, either at Pace Law School or at a comparable institution. A candidate who does not hold an LLM in environmental law may be admitted on condition that he or she complete 24 credits in environmental law subjects, with at least a 3.0 GPA, before progressing to the dissertation stage of the SJD program.

The SJD program itself consists of three stages:

Preliminary Coursework Stage

This stage is only required of candidates who have not completed an LLM degree in environmental law before enrolling in the SJD program. The duration of the Preliminary Coursework Stage will depend on the extent of any prior environmental law coursework which the candidate may have completed prior to enrollment.

Dissertation Stage

The Dissertation Stage is the heart of the SJD program. In this stage, candidates spend at least one academic year (two full-time semesters) in residence at Pace Law School, working with their faculty supervisor as they create a research plan and outline, and then proceed with the actual research and writing of the doctoral dissertation. Upon completion of the dissertation itself, candidates then prepare for the oral defense of their dissertations before a faculty panel.

Continuation Stage

After completion of two full-time semesters in the Dissertation Stage, candidates who need additional time to complete their dissertations may extend their enrollment. During the Continuation Stage, they may remain in residence at Pace Law School, but are not required to do so. Candidates in this stage are not required to pay additional tuition; instead they pay an administrative fee for each semester.


How to apply to the SJD program