photo of a student studying in the law library.

J.S.D. Program

The Doctor of Juridical Science is the law school’s most advanced degree. It makes full use of our creative and interdisciplinary faculty to prepare students for careers as law professors, judicial and other public offices, as well as high-level policy positions in international organizations.

In their doctoral dissertation, the successful J.S.D. student will produce an original, innovative piece of scholarship that makes a contribution to our understanding of law.

Our Program

The University at Buffalo's research doctorate is for lawyers throughout the world interested in analyzing, understanding, assessing and using law as a mode of social organization and an instrument of governance.  Our program trains legal scholars to employ interdisciplinary tools to observe, analyze and assess legal doctrines, policies and institutions. Located within a leading U.S. university (UB is a member of the Association of American Universities, composed of prominent research institutions), our program is designed to enable students to:

  • explore law in its social context and from a comparative perspective in an American setting; 
  • understand different schools of legal theory and bring them into dialogue with their previous legal training;
  • apply such theoretical approaches to the analysis of legal problems and institutions; 
  • understand and critically assess the full range of research methods used in legal scholarship; and 
  • identify and master those methods most appropriate to their proposed project.

The program draws on the strengths of our research centers and our welcoming and interdisciplinary faculty. Students are encouraged to address legal issues and institutions theoretically and comparatively, topically and from an interdisciplinary policy perspective. The program inculcates the research skills most relevant to each student's research agenda and culminates in the preparation of a substantial work of original legal scholarship.

Our Approach The Curriculum Program Timing Admission Tuition


The first year of the J.S.D. program must be completed in residence. Students pay the University’s full-time Graduate tuition.

During the subsequent period of research and writing (generally one to two additional years), J.S.D. students are required to register for a minimum of one credit in the fall and spring semesters.

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