Law and Philosophy

UCLA School of Law and the UCLA Department of Philosophy jointly offer a J.D./Ph.D. program for exceptionally talented and committed students who hope to dedicate their careers to research and teaching in law and philosophy.

  • Admissions

    Admission is extremely competitive, and it would be highly unusual for more than one candidate to be admitted in a year. It is possible for no candidates to be admitted in an admission cycle. Before being considered for the program, applicants must first be admitted independently to UCLA Law and the UCLA Philosophy Department. Each year, the Philosophy Ph.D. program receives approximately 300 applications, and in recent years the starting class has usually numbered between five and seven students.

    A good candidate for the J.D./Ph.D. program would normally have a strong undergraduate philosophy background, with demonstrated ability to produce high-quality philosophical writing. One of the most important aspects of an application is a writing sample that displays exceptional aptitude for philosophical analysis. Most applicants have had substantial undergraduate training in philosophy or related subjects such as mathematics and logic. A good candidate will also have a demonstrated interest in the intersection between law and philosophy.

    Candidates for the joint degree program must:

    • Apply to the university under the "J.D./Ph.D. Program" listed under Concurrent Programs on the application site.
    • Apply and be admitted to UCLA Law.
    • Apply and be admitted to the Philosophy Ph.D. program.
    • Apply to the joint degree program by both a) indicating on the law school and Ph.D. program applications that they seek admission to the joint degree program and b) submitting with each application an essay of between two and five pages explaining their interest in law and philosophy and in the joint degree program.
    • Be accepted by the Law & Philosophy Program into the joint degree.

    Students already admitted into either the J.D. program or the Ph.D. program who wish to pursue the joint degree may apply to do so by completing the application steps listed above.

  • Requirements

    The J.D. normally takes three years. The Ph.D. normally takes six to seven years. Depending on their individual circumstances, some students may be able to save time on the coursework component of the program and thereby complete the joint degree program in less time than would be required to complete both degrees separately. A limited number of philosophy courses will be counted toward the J.D. requirements, and a limited number of law school courses will be counted toward the Ph.D. requirements.

    The program could follow one of many paths. In the typical case, the student would be expected to focus solely on philosophy for the first year of the philosophy graduate program and solely on law for the first year of the law school program. Thereafter, the student could take courses in both schools during the same academic year. There are various ways in which the program could be structured, depending on the student’s interests and needs.

    Students in the joint degree program will write a dissertation on a suitable topic related to law and philosophy.

  • Funding

    The program aspires to enable students to graduate with a relatively minimal debt burden to permit them to teach in both humanities programs and law schools. Funding for both the Ph.D. and the J.D. involves a very generous package including grants, teaching assistantships and research assistantships, providing an unparalleled opportunity for the student dedicated to this field.

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