Apply for the S.J.D. Program

UCLA School of Law S.J.D. Program admits only the most highly qualified applicants who complete all elements of the Application for Admission, provide clear evidence of academic excellence, and demonstrate high potential for completing a scholarly dissertation that constitutes a substantial contribution to knowledge.

Upon matriculation, applicants must have received a professional degree in law (such as a J.D. or LL.B.), as well as an LL.M. degree.

Application Process

  • Prior to Applying

    Students interested in applying for admission to the S.J.D. Program must submit a Preliminary Application Inquiry Form. This form will be available between November 1 and February 15. The form will request the following information:

    1. What is your proposed area of research?
    2. Is there a UCLA School of Law faculty member with whom you are particularly interested in working?
    3. Where did you receive your first law degree (i.e., J.D. or LL.B.)?
    4. What was your grade point average and/or class rank during your J.D./LL.B. studies?
    5. Where did you receive your LL.M. degree?
    6. What was your grade point average and/or class rank during your LL.M. studies?
    7. Have you published any academic writing in print (i.e. in a law review, journal, or book)?

    After you submit the form, the Graduate Studies Committee will review your responses and determine whether our small, competitive program is a good fit for you. We will inform you of the Committee's decision within 2-3 weeks.

  • Faculty Supervisor

    If the Committee invites you to formally apply for admission to the S.J.D. Program, we will work with you to locate a UCLA faculty member who is willing to supervise your research. (Please do not contact faculty members without first being granted permission to do so.) Please feel free to review our the faculty listed in our Areas of Focus to learn more about them. Bear in mind that only a tenure-track faculty member with a title such as "Professor" or "Acting Professor" may serve as an S.J.D. dissertation supervisor. Those with titles such as "Lecturer," "Adjunct Faculty," or "Director" are not eligible to supervise.

  • Applying to the S.J.D. Program

    Students who are invited to apply for admission will receive instructions for submitting the application form and supporting documentation (résumé, personal statement, academic transcripts, recommendation letters, and TOEFL score (if necessary)).

Degree Requirements & Admission Standards

  • Degree Requirements

    Students in the S.J.D. program must enter with an LL.M. degree, must be in residence for two semesters, and take a minimum of ten units of graded coursework each semester, which must be approved by the supervising faculty member and Graduate Studies Committee. The choice of courses will be from among those generally offered at the Law School and will depend on the particular subject matter and course of study approved for each S.J.D. student.

    Applicants should bear in mind that, due to curriculum scheduling and faculty availability, not every class listed is taught each year. This is most often true in the case of specialized seminars. The final schedule of law classes will be available shortly before the enrollment process begins in July. The law school academic year begins in the middle of August with a fall semester of 15 weeks. After examinations and vacation in December, classes resume early in January for another 15-week semester that ends in mid-May.

    Upon successful completion of the residency requirement and performance in courses at a level substantially above the quality expected of J.D. candidates, the Graduate Studies Committee, following its favorable review of the candidate's course work and of the developed research proposal, shall constitute a doctoral committee. It shall consist of three faculty members, including the student's supervisor and a member from a department outside the Law School. Upon the successful oral defense of the research proposal before the doctoral committee, the Graduate Studies Committee shall admit the student to full candidacy for the S.J.D. degree.

    Within two years of the completion of the residency period, unless for exceptional circumstances an extension is granted by the Graduate Studies Committee, a candidate shall submit, and successfully defend in an oral examination, a dissertation in the form of a monograph or series of closely related essays suitable for publication and constituting a substantial contribution to knowledge in its field.

  • Admissions Standards

    The Law School will admit no more than two students in its S.J.D. class each year. As this suggests, the admissions process is highly competitive. The Graduate Committee will admit only the most highly qualified applicants who complete all elements of the Application for Admission, provide clear evidence of academic excellence, and demonstrate high potential for completing a scholarly dissertation that constitutes a substantial contribution to knowledge.

English Language Ability Requirements

  • English Requirements

    Students in the S.J.D. Program must be able to read and discuss in class difficult technical material. S.J.D. students are examined and graded anonymously with the students in their classes. The work of daily class preparation is very demanding. Students with serious English language limitations will have difficulties coping with a new cultural, social, and academic environment, especially if they are enrolled in a discipline like law, which requires a very high level of English reading and writing proficiency. Only those students who feel confident of their English language ability should apply.

    For this reason, the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is required of foreign applicants seeking admission to the program from nations in which English is not the primary language of instruction. A TOEFL score of 590 on the paper-based test, 243 on the computer-based test, or 96 on the Internet-based test is the minimum score accepted by the University's Graduate Division. The law school usually admits only applicants whose TOEFL scores are well above the minimum range required by the University. In general we expect a score of 600 on the paper-based test, 250 on the computer-based test, or 100 on the Internet-based test, although an outstanding applicant with a slightly lower test score will not be disqualified on this basis.

    If you possess a law degree from an institution at which the primary language of instruction is English, you are not required to submit a TOEFL score with your application. Please ensure that the academic transcripts you submit verify that your degree was obtained from an English-speaking institution.

    The TOEFL is offered daily at test centers throughout the world. When you take the examination, it is important that you indicate School Code No. 4837, Dept. 03, to ensure that your score is sent to UCLA School of Law. Information about the examination should be available at your own university, and can also be found on the TOEFL website, or by writing directly to:

    Educational Testing Service
    Rosedale Road
    Princeton, NJ 08541 USA

    Phone: 609.921.9000
    Fax: 609.734.5410

Tuition & Visa Information

  • 2019-20 S.J.D. Tuition

    Tuition fees for S.J.D. students who have not advanced to doctoral candidacy (typically during the first two years of attendance in the program) are $33,274.28.

    Tuition fees for S.J.D. students who have advanced to doctoral candidacy (after satisfying the residency requirement and completing the initial oral defense of their dissertation, typically after two years of attendance in the program) are $18,172.28.

    These figures include health insurance fees, which are $4,318.98.*

    *Health insurance coverage is mandatory. Students who have health insurance coverage may apply for a waiver of UCLA's health insurance fees. The waiver application will be available in early August. Before purchasing alternative insurance coverage, students should carefully review the university's waiver criteria.

    The Withdrawal Refund Chart is a refund schedule for enrolled students who choose to withdraw from the program.

    Please Note: Fees are subject to revision without notice. The amounts above represent fees as currently approved. However, all University fees are subject to change, and the fee amounts billed for this period may be adjusted at a future date.

  • Visa Information

    If you are an international student and accept UCLA's offer of admission, you will be subject to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) regulations prior to entering the United States. You will be required to comply with health insurance and health coverage clearance rules and must be found eligible for a U.S. student visa before being permitted to register as a student in the S.J.D. Program. Most international students enter the U.S. on an F-1 student visa.

    After receiving the I-20 form, you must make an appointment at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your country of residence in order to apply for an F-1 student visa to travel to the United States. Please make an appointment well in advance of the date you intend to travel to the United States, as some embassies and consulates take several weeks (or even months) to process visa requests.

Financial Aid Information

When it comes to financing your education, there are a number of options to consider for securing funding. While this list is not exhaustive, it provides links to a variety of resources for learning more about scholarship, fellowship, grant, and loan opportunities through private, non-profit, and governmental sources. International students are encouraged to seek financial aid funds from additional sources in their home countries. Consider contacting the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country to inquire about sponsoring organizations and agencies.

  • UCLA School of Law Resources

    Dean's Tuition Fellowship Awards

    All applicants receive full consideration for our very limited number of Dean's Tuition Fellowship awards. No application is necessary; grantees will be notified by the LL.M. Program after receiving their offer of admission. Awards are granted on both a need-based and merit-based basis. In the "Finances" section of the online LL.M. Program application, you are welcome to bring to the Graduate Studies Committee's attention any additional information that will assist the Committee in making a determination regarding a financial aid award.

    Law Library Research Assistant-ships

    Research Assistants are occasionally hired to help law professors with their research needs. Students typically work 10 hours per week for a rate of approximately $17.00 per hour. Successful candidates must demonstrate academic excellence as well as research proficiency. The number of positions available in a given year is dependent on the needs of the faculty, and thus is highly variable. In some years, there may be no open positions. Openings for Research Assistant positions are posted with the Office of Career Services, and applications will be accepted after the start of the academic year in August.

  • Financial Aid Resources for US Citizens and Permanent Residents

    Best Schools
    Best Schools provides a useful guide on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Resources include a checklist on determining FAFSA eligibility, the types of aid available through FAFSA, how to apply, deadlines, and more.

    FinAid provides detailed information about scholarships, loans, military aid, and other funding opportunities for U.S. students seeking financial assistance for graduate study.

  • Financial Aid Resources for International Students

    American Association of University Women (AAUW)
    AAUW helps women around the globe break through barriers and pursue their dreams of obtaining graduate degrees or making an impact in their communities. International Fellowships are awarded for full-time study in the U.S. to women who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents in the amount of $18,000 (Master’s/First Professional Degree Fellowship).

    Discover Student Loans
    Discover offers fixed or variable interest rate private student loans to international students attending an eligible U.S. college or university, on the condition that international students provide a creditworthy cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

    EduPASS provides financial aid information for international students who plan to pursue higher education in the U.S. This site presents information about how to calculate college costs, scholarships and loans for international students, and other tools and resources for financing education as a foreign student in the U.S. serves as a resource for international students who will be entering and living in the U.S. Along with immigration, visa, and health insurance information, the site provides a guide for foreign students seeking financial aid to study in the U.S. in the form of scholarships, grants, loans, and other kinds of financial assistance.

    Fulbright Foreign Student Program
    The Fulbright Foreign Student Program brings citizens of other countries to the United States for Master’s degree or Ph.D. study at U.S. universities or other appropriate institutions. Foreign students apply for Fulbright Fellowships through the Fulbright Commission/Foundation or U.S. Embassy in their home countries.

    Institute of International Education
    IIE offers foreign students a “toolkit” of resources for funding study in the U.S., with a focus on sources such as the Fulbright Program, Education USA, and Funding For U.S. Study.

    The Institute of International Education (IIE) and the Catalyst Foundation for Universal Education together have launched the IIE Platform for Education in Emergencies Response (IIE-PEER). This platform serves as an online clearinghouse that connects displaced and refugee students with educational opportunities, scholarships, and language learning or online courses in numerous countries across the globe to provide continued access to formal and informal higher education. provides financial aid resources, articles, videos, and comparison tools to help students navigate their financial aid options. The site offers loan information for international students pursuing study in the U.S.

    International Student Organization in the USA (ISO)
    ISO provides a detailed list of organizations which offer scholarships and grants to international students based upon factors such as background and area of interest.

    Philanthropic Educational Organization (P.E.O.) International
    The P.E.O. International Peace Scholarship (IPS) provides scholarships up to $12,500 for women from other countries for full-time graduate study in the U.S. and Canada.

    Postgrad Solutions Global LL.M. Study Bursary

    Postgrad Solutions offers two global and U.S. LL.M. study bursaries per year of £500 each to domestic, international, and UK students who have been accepted to an LL.M. Program in the U.S. or abroad. Eligible candidates must have already accepted an offer at the chosen institution where they intend to pursue the LL.M. 


    Bridgat Technology Limited
    The Bridgat Scholarship Program awards merit-based funds in the form of a one-time $6,500 scholarship to graduate students pursuing an advanced degree (either Masters or Doctoral) in any subject at an accredited U.S. institution. Eligible candidates must be citizens of an Asian country.


    The Belgium American Educational Foundation (BAEF)
    BAEF offers non-renewable grants to Belgian citizens for one academic year of graduate study in the U.S. The Foundation will pay up to $30,000 for tuition and health insurance at a U.S. institution and $18,000 to cover living and travel expenses.


    Fundação Estudar
    Fundação Estudar offers scholarships to Brazilian nationals and citizens who want to further their education by pursuing undergraduate or graduate study in Brazil and abroad.

    Instituto Ling
    Instituto Ling/EAGV-LLM offers partial scholarships to Brazilians who have been accepted to an LL.M. Program in the U.S. or Europe and can demonstrate a need for funding. Individual amounts of funding vary, but a typical award is approximately $5,000 - $25,000.


    Aide Financière Aux Études
    Aide Financière Aux Études provides Canadian citizens or permanent residents who are residents of Quebec with financial assistance for full-time study at an educational institution in or outside of Quebec through the Loans and Bursaries Program. Funding is provided in the form of loans or bursaries in varying amounts.

    Government of Canada
    Scholarships for graduate level study/research offered to Canadians wishing to study abroad.


    Financial support to highly-achieving Czech students looking to study abroad. Eligibility: prospective students seeking an integrated bachelor's or master's programs at a leading university abroad. Student must have Czech citizenship or a permanent residence permit in the Czech Republic and be no older than 33 years of age at the time of application.

    Grants available for Czech students to use towards tuition fees, and costs of living such as apartment rent, books and other necessities.

    This foundation focuses on supporting talented students in their university studies of Economics and Law.  

    See webpage for further details.


    Fond Renesance
    Scholarships available for Czech students from Ústí nad Labem.

    Ostrava Region Scholarships
    Scholarships available for Czech university students from Ostrava region.

    Olomouc Region Scholarships
    Scholarships available for Czech for high-school and university students from Olomouc region.

    Prague Scholarships
    Scholarships available for Prague high school and university students.

    Světluška Scholarship
    For Czech students with visual impairments.


    Finlandia Foundation National P.J.C. Lindfors Legal Studies Fund
    The P.J.C. Lindfors Legal Scholarship is open to citizens of Finland who have applied to, been accepted to, or enrolled in an ABA-approved U.S. law school. Typical awards are offered in the amount of $1,000 - $3,000.


    White & Case Annual Business Law Scholarship
    White & Case LLP awards an annual €40,000 scholarship (split among three students) to economically disadvantaged law students in France to study abroad. This scholarship is unique among law firms in Paris.




    Brain Capital: The LL.M. Education Fund
    The LL.M. Education Fund offers income-based repayment financing options to cover tuition fees and living expenses for LL.M. studies. German students seeking to pursue an LL.M. degree abroad are eligible, and applications are accepted on an ongoing basis. Fund recipients receive financial support to cover their program fees and living expenses, and income-based repayment will begin after graduation from the LL.M. program.


    ASLA-ALMA Joint Scholarship
    ASLA (Association of Italian Law Firms) and ALMA (Italian LL.M. Association) jointly award two €5,000 scholarships per year to Italian law graduates seeking to pursue an LL.M. at a U.S. law school.

    Italian Student Loan Fund (Fondo per Studenti Italiani)
    The Fund offers financial aid to Italian university graduates who wish to attend a post-graduate course (Master of Ph.D.) in the U.S. Financing is awarded at a maximum of €20,000.


    COLFUTURO provides Colombian citizens seeking postgraduate study abroad with scholarship-loans of up to $25,000 per year for a maximum study period of two years through the "Crédito Beca" program.

    The Rowe Fund (Organization of American States)
    The Rowe Fund helps qualified citizens from Latin America and Caribbean OAS Member States finance their studies across the U.S. with awards of interest-free loans of up to $15,000.


    WilWeg lists a variety of scholarship programs for study abroad, including the Holland Scholarship and others administered by EP-Nuffic. Study in Holland provides a comprehensive database of grant and scholarship opportunities, within which candidates may search on the basis of awards covering the field of law. The Beursopener search engine additionally provides a listing of over 250 grants and scholarships for Dutch students seeking internships, research opportunities, and positions abroad. 


    American-Scandinavian Foundation (ASF)
    ASF offers funding to citizens of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, or Sweden to pursue study or research programs (typically at the graduate level) in the U.S. for up to one year.

    NORAM Scholarships
    The Norway-America Association offers stipends to Norwegian citizens for graduate study and research in the U.S. in the amount of $2,000 - $20,000. Up to 35 scholarships are awarded each year, and a maximum of two grants may be received from NORAM for Master's and Ph.D. studies in the U.S.


    St. Andrew’s Society of the State of New York
    The Society provides funding in the amount of $20,000 to $30,000 for two Scottish graduate students to study in the U.S. per year. Funds should be used initially against tuition, then board, transportation and other expenses.


    Kathryn Aguirre Worth Memorial Scholarship
    Established with support from White & Case, Standard Chartered Bank, and other donors in Singapore and New York, the scholarship is open to National University of Singapore (NUS) LL.B. graduates who plan to pursue an LL.M. degree at an accredited U.S. law school. The scholarship provides a stipend of up to $15,000.


    Fundación Rafael del Pino
    This foundation provides limited scholarships per year for Spanish students who plan to pursue graduate-level study in Spain or abroad.


    WorldWideStudies Scholarship
    The Victor Pinchuk Foundation's WorldWideStudies Scholarship offers grant awards covering 60% of expenses required to complete a Master's degree abroad up to $30,000. Eligible candidates must be Ukrainian citizens under the age of 35 at the time of enrollment in the degree program.


    British Universities North America Club (BUNAC)
    BUNAC Educational Scholarship Trust (BEST) scholarships offer financial assistance to UK passport holders seeking to undertake postgraduate study in the U.S. or Canada. Individual award amounts vary, but a typical award is in the amount of approximately £5,000 to £10,000.

    Please note that the outside funding organizations listed above are not affiliated with or endorsed by UCLA School of Law.

  • Funding Opportunities for S.J.D. Students

    Funding Opportunities for US Citizens:

    Eugene V. Costa-Robles Fellowship
    Four-year fellowship program supporting PhD students interested in a career in college or university teaching and research. Only open to U.S. citizens.

    NBI Law Student Fellowship Program
    Offers fellowships for African-American law students to complete a professional law degree. Open only to US citizens and permanent residents, who intend to return to the Black community to practice law once legal training is completed.

    NHFA Scholarship
    Offers scholarships for US citizens, who are of Hispanic heritage. Must be pursuing entertainment and/or media-related law fields.

    Selected Professions Fellowships
    Offers one year fellowships for women in male-dominated fields, including law. Must be a US citizen or permanent resident, as well as a graduate or doctoral student.

    Funding Opportunities for Non-US Citizens:

    Dissertation Fellowships for Republic of China Students Abroad
    Offers fellowships to Chinese citizens to support research on topics related to Chinese culture and society, the development of the Republic of China, or Taiwan Studies.

    UC MexUS (University of California, Riverside – open to students at all UC campuses)
    The UC MEXUS-CONACYT doctoral fellowships provide up to five years of funding for Mexican students doing their doctoral studies at any one of the ten University of California campuses. Students may pursue doctoral studies in most of the academic disciplines, with the exception of the arts.

    World Wide Studies
    Offers scholarships to Ukrainian students to pursue a master's degree outside their home country. Awardees are expected to return to the Ukraine and work in their chosen field for at least 5 years.

    Funding Opportunities No Citizenship Requirements:

    Alphonse Fletcher, Sr., Fellowship Program
    Offers fellowships to students who are working to improving race relations in American society. Scholars at all stages of their career are eligible. No citizenship requirements.

    Conference, Research and Professional Development Travel Grant Program
    UCLA doctoral students are eligible to request up to $1,000 to reimburse travel expenses for attending professional conferences, engaging in off-campus fieldwork or collaborative research, or taking advantage of off-campus professional development opportunities. Details are available on page 43 in the Graduate Student Financial Support for Continuing Students guide.

    Harry Frank Guggenheim Dissertation Fellowships
    Offers yearlong fellowships to students writing a dissertation related to human violence and aggression in relation to social change, intergroup conflict, war, terrorism, crime, and family relationships, among other subjects. Only appropriate for students approaching their final doctoral year.

    Hilton Initiative Doctoral Training Program
    Two year program for enrolled doctoral students. Students will receive advanced methods training for state of the art approaches to understanding what works to reduce poverty, improve health, increase education, and achieve other key goals included in the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

    Hiroshi Wagatsuma Memorial Fellowships
    UCLA Asia Institute's Hiroshi Wagatsuma Memorial Fellowship offers fellowships for UCLA graduate students working on a comparative or cross-cultural thesis or research.

    MALDEF Law School Scholarship Program
    The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund offers scholarships for Hispanic law school students who are committed to advancing Latino civil rights in their careers. This is a need based scholarship and has no citizenship requirements.

    Mellon / ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships
    Offers fellowships for students in their final dissertation year to support research projects that are original and signification to contributing to knowledge. No citizenship requirements.

    Paula Stone Legal Research Fellowship  
    Offers fellowships for promising UCLA law students focusing research on women and the law. No citizenship requirements.

    S. James Anaya Award for Excellence in International Legal Scholarship - Publishing Opportunity
    Recognizes exceptional contributions to the field of international and comparative law through dissertations and other legal writings on the topics of international or comparative law. The winning submission will be published this coming year in the AJICL. Please see application instructions for further details.

    Social Science Research Council – International Dissertation Research Fellowships
    The Mellon International Dissertation Research Fellowship (IDRF) offers nine to twelve months of support to graduate students in the humanities and humanistic social sciences who are enrolled in PhD programs in the United States and conducting dissertation research on non-US topics. Fellowship amounts vary depending on the research plan, with a per-fellowship average of $21,000. The fellowship includes participation in an SSRC-funded interdisciplinary workshop upon the completion of IDRF-funded research.

    More Funding Resources:

    For further funding opportunities open to Doctoral students, please visit UCLA Graduate Education's Fellowships, Scholarships & Grants for Entering Students and its main funding resources page.

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