Law J.S.D (Ithaca)

Field of Study


Program Description

The Doctor of Science of Law degree is intended for students who want to become legal scholars and to pursue original investigations into the function, administration, history, and progress of law.

The minimum residence requirement is two full terms; the program normally requires at least three to four terms. Candidates ordinarily concentrate on one legal field and do a substantial amount of work in at least one other field.

The catalog of the Law School contains descriptions of subject areas and of the Graduate Legal Studies.

Contact Information

Phone: 607 255-5185

Hughes Hall
Suite L46
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY  14853

Concentrations by Subject

  • law


Visit the Graduate School's Tuition Rates page.

Application Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadlines:

May 1

Requirements Summary:

All applicants should state, in as much detail as possible, why they want to do advanced graduate work and the particular fields of study they want to pursue.
The J.S.D. program has extremely limited enrollment; approximately one to three students are admitted each year, most following completion of the LL.M. degree at Cornell Law School. Students who wish to continue their studies after the LL.M. degree from Cornell Law School must generally have all honors grades.
Students who meet the requirements for admission but who do not want to become candidates for a degree may, at the discretion of the faculty, be admitted as non-degree students.
Further information on the J.S.D. degree may be obtained from the Law School Web site:


Learning Outcomes

The Field of Law expects J.S.D. candidates to conduct original research into specific legal topics of individual interest while deepening their understanding of American domestic law, international law, and/or comparative law, particularly in areas in which Cornell’s faculty is world renowned. In that regard, our J.S.D. students work closely with their selected Special Committee and are encouraged to review our updated Field of Law Handbook each academic year of enrollment.

Upon completion of the J.S.D. degree, graduates are expected to have demonstrated proficiency in the following areas:

  • Cultivate and maintain a level of expertise in the general Field of Law that befits the degree level and institutional standards.
  • Demonstrate an in-depth and dynamic knowledge of a specific, major or emerging topic in the Field of Law.
  • Develop necessary effective professional skills, including surveying current events within the field, producing clear and concise writing, and creating well-organized presentations.
  • Adhere to an approved timeline of research and exploration, faculty consultation, writing objectives, and progression towards a comprehensive dissertation defense.
  • Produce original, publishable work(s) of novel and relevant scholarship, including publication of the dissertation in an external publication either prior to completing the degree or upon completion.
  • Participate in topic-specific professional organizations, publications, and conferences in order to maintain a peer scholar network.
  • Successfully complete and pass a Prospectus and B Examination prior to final dissertation submission.
  • Represent and uphold the rigorous academic standards, ideals, and ethics of Cornell Law School and the Cornell University Graduate School throughout the program of study and after graduation.