Dissertation-only JSD

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by sanantone, Apr 26, 2024.

  1. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    I still think we could use a humanities sub-forum.

    The St. Thomas University School of Law offers a JSD that has no courses. The way it works is that you earn their LLM in Intercultural Human Rights (two semesters and not online), and if you graduate with a 3.0 GPA, you can be admitted to their JSD program. Immediately, you will start on the 75,000 word thesis, but you must be in the program for at least two years. I find this to be kind of odd since this might lead to them artificially drawing out the program. They state that it will take two semesters to evaluate and approve the thesis after its completion.

    What makes this program interesting is that you don't need to be on campus while working on your thesis. You also don't need a JD or LLB to gain admission to the LLM or JSD program.

    If someone graduated from another law school's LLM program, an "outstanding scholar" might also gain admission. However, they must meet the residency requirement by attending classes on campus for two terms. They must also earn 12 of the credits in the LLM in Human Rights program.

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  2. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    It's been my first-hand experience that this tends to be the upper limit, not the lower limit. Still, because thesis requirements are do demanding, it is actually more challenging to stay under such a limit than it is to reach it.
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  3. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    75,000 words is the minimum for this program. If my calculations are correct, that is 300 pages double-spaced. This would actually be an abnormally long dissertation for many fields, especially STEM and economics. Humanities dissertations tend to be longer probably because they're less quantitative. Social science dissertations, with the exception of economics and some fields of psychology, tend to be somewhere between the length of STEM and humanities dissertations. I've looked at a good number of criminal justice and criminology dissertations, and they tend to be between 100 and 200 pages.

    Back in 2014, someone crunched the numbers for University of Minnesota dissertations.

  4. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Notre Dame law school offers a similar J.S.D. program but they have no arbitrary minimum dissertation length and you can be enrolled simultaneously for their LL.M. and J.S.D. so I suppose the J.S.D. could be seen as not requiring additional coursework.
  5. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    Can the JSD be completed off campus?
  6. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Notre Dame probably requires a JD for entry, though. STU doesn't.
  7. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    I was going to say something snarky about Notre Dame being a real research university but given the nature of legal research I'm not sure that matters so much. On the other hand there's no real demand in the U.S. for J.S.D. training. Who is this degree for?
  8. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Lastly, I do think that advanced scholarship in International Human Rights law is far from a silly pursuit. Whether there's enough demand to support both St. Thomas and Notre Dame I don't know. I suppose there might be a difference in emphasis, though, Notre Dame being pretty Catholic.
  9. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    I think both schools have the same "in residence" requirements.
  10. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    That 3.0 requirement seems odd. You shouldn't be able to graduate from any LL.M. with less.
  11. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    STU is also Catholic, but I don't know if it leans secular like many loosely religiously-affiliated colleges and universities.
  12. freeloader

    freeloader Member

    My understanding is that the SJD/JSD degree is traditionally for foreign-trained attorneys who wish to teach in the United States and whose legal education was at the baccalaureate rather than the post-baccalaureate and who need a doctoral-level credential to teach in an American university or for those who wish to teach in countries where a research-based doctorate in law is typically required to become a law school faculty member. Where lots of domestically educated law school faculty members will have BA/BS and JD, a person who began their education elsewhere might have LLB, LLM, JSD/SJD. An American wanting to teach abroad might need BA, JD, LLM, SJD/JSD to meet the research requirement for law school faculty.

    Of course, it seems like law schools have decided that domestic JDs (and even non-attorneys) can pay JSD/SJD tuition just as well as foreign-trained attorneys, so these programs seem to be getting more numerous and less exclusively for foreign applicants. Having said that, however, many of the JSD/SJD programs do seem to focus on international law, comparative law, human rights and humanitarian law, and other subjects not tied to domestic law of the United States.
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  13. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    How many PhDs does the U.S. have in law? I haven't taken a good look. The JSD might be the rare pathway for a non-attorney to enter the academic side of law. I just haven't seen many job openings for law instructors that don't require a JD. Even outside of law programs, lawyers typically teach law courses. I've taken business law, criminal law, and forensic science law courses all from attorneys.

    Liberty University does have a Doctor of Law and Policy for non-attorneys.
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  14. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

  15. Jonathan Whatley

    Jonathan Whatley Well-Known Member

    That Northeastern hybrid DLP has class sessions in Boston, Seattle, or Charlotte.

    We also know the non-bar Executive JD and JD Executive Tracks exist.
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  16. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    The executive JDs are supposed to be for practitioners, but they're expensive and can't compete with the shorter MLS programs, which are growing in popularity.

    Realistically, people working on a doctorate want the doctor title to come with the hard work. Will they commonly be considered "doctors" with an executive JD? I have yet to run into someone with this degree.
  17. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    University of Washington has a Ph.D. in law. Yale had one...if you got admitted there you received full funding. J.S.D. programs are more common but many are targeted to foreign law scholars.

    It does seem to me that J.S.D. programs are becoming more common.

    I'm going to repeat an explanation about the difference between a Ph.D. and a J.S.D. that I read somewhere years ago but if it isn't true kindly say so at once:

    A Ph.D. comes from the University as an institution whereas a J.S.D. is awarded by the faculty of the Law School.

    If this is true, the difference is not trivial. Law professors are usually not trained in academic research. They generally don't hold dissertation doctorates. Most law review articles aren't peer reviewed. Academic law is a different animal altogether.
  18. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Oh, and the J.D. does not customarily carry the "Doctor" title. Nor should it.

    The J.S.D. does carry the title.
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  19. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    As I'm looking at executive JD programs, I'm realizing that the name has no meaning other than that all the programs claim to somehow serve working professionals. There are the executive JD programs that are for those not wanting to become attorneys i.e. Purdue Global and Taft. I saw one executive JD program that is accelerated; the program is condensed into two years and is for licensure. There's one executive JD program that is part-time, spread out over five years, and is for licensure. Another one is for licensure and calls itself an executive JD because it's hybrid.
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  20. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    If you want to study law, there's no good reason for seeking a non Bar qualifying degree. Once upon a time there was a significant tax deduction and that might return in the next couple of years but not right now.

    A non Bar J.D. is the ultimate "degree with an explanation ".

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