Application and Process

The SJD is designed to give foreign lawyers an opportunity to complete the highest degree in law.
The program prepares students to return to their home countries to teach law or work in law reform for their governments at the highest level. Our SJD graduates are trained to teach law and serve in these capacities. The three-year program requires full-time on-campus attendance the first year.

Degree Requirements

The first year requires residency and 20 hours of thesis credit. The thesis advisor may require the SJD candidate to take additional courses applicable to the student's thesis topic. The JD Legal Research and Writing courses, Core 1 and 2, are required. During the required year of residency the student is expected to complete the research necessary for the thesis and prepare a working draft of the thesis acceptable to the student’s thesis committee. The SJD candidate's thesis committee may require the student to remain in residency beyond the required year. The candidate will be required to complete the S.J.D. thesis to the satisfaction of the thesis committee within two years following the required year of residency. If the candidate is not in residence, the candidate must be available to meet with the thesis advisor in the year(s) prior to submission of the completed thesis, as determined by the thesis advisor. The completed thesis must be of publishable quality. Following approval of the thesis by the candidate’s committee, the candidate will have to appear before the committee to defend the thesis.

Applications for the SJD degree program should be submitted to the Office of Foreign Graduate Legal Studies and completed by April 1.

How to Apply

Candidates use the printed application. Admission decisions are made starting April 1.

Required Documents

To be considered as an applicant for the SJD program, a candidate must submit:
  • Completed application form along with $50 application fee "Case Western Reserve University."
  • Personal statement
  • Two letters of recommendation. Recommendation letters may be either enclosed with the application form in sealed and signed envelopes or mailed separately by the recommenders.
  • Official copy of transcripts from all post-secondary educational institutions with notarized translations into English where applicable; the transcripts may be included in sealed envelopes or mailed directly from the institutions.
  • An official TOEFL or IELTS score required of all applicants whose native language is not English. Our TOEFL institutional code is 1105, dept. 03. Copy of same may be included in initial application packet with indication that the original score has been requested by the applicant.
  • Thesis proposal of no more than 25 pages explaining why your topic merits the type and depth of research that will result in production of a monograph-length thesis. Focus on the existing unresolved legal issues. Include at the end of the proposal whether you have been in touch with any Case Western Reserve University Law School professors about supervising your thesis.
  • A complete bibliography of the literature in the applicable field that you have already consulted in the development of your thesis proposal.
  • Affidavit of financial support required for visa documents.
  • Accepted applicants will be required to submit a nonrefundable deposit in order to secure their position in the class. The deposit is deductible from the first semester's tuition.


Candidates must have at least a foreign university-level degree in law, and LL.M. degree and a TOEFL of 90 or IELTS of 6.5.

Please send your completed application to:
Ms. Liz Woyczynski
Foreign Graduate Legal Studies
Case Western Reserve University School of Law
11075 East Boulevard
Cleveland, Ohio 44106-7148 U.S.A.
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