McGeorge School of Law

Doctor of Juridical Science (JSD)

Who pursues this degree?

A JSD, or Doctor of Juridical Science is, in effect, legal education's counterpart to the Ph.D. Those who have already earned an LLM and wish to do intensive, in-depth work in either international water resources law or another international law topic can apply for the JSD program.

Program Requirements
  • Earn a minimum of twelve (12) semester hours of credit over the course of a two-semester residency.
  • A cumulative grade point average of not less than 3.0 (on a 4.3 point scale)
  • The courses completed during the residency will be determined by the Dissertation Supervisor in consultation with the student.
  • A JSD student is expected to work closely the Dissertation Supervisor during the residency period.
JSD Curriculum

First Year Residency (12 units required)

Required Courses (5 units):

  • A subject in International Legal Studies or International Water Resources Law (3 units)
  • Writing for Publication (2 units)

Note: Public International Law (3 units) is also required for student who have not taken this course previously.

Elective Courses:

  • Law Teaching (2 units)
  • Additional subjects in International Legal Studies or International Water Resources Law (5 units)


  • Dissertation (2 units per semester until successful dissertation defense)
Advancement to Candidacy

At the conclusion of the two-semester residency, the JSD student must present to the student's Dissertation Supervisor a detailed outline and draft chapter of the dissertation and pass a qualifying oral examination. Students who successfully complete these tasks and achieve the requisite level of performance in course work as determined by the Program Director and a subcommittee of the Graduate Studies Committee appointed for this purpose, will be advanced to candidacy.

The candidate is expected to work closely with the Dissertation Supervisor during the preparation of the thesis. The candidate must complete a final dissertation in publishable form no later than four years after completing his or her coursework, and must successfully defend the dissertation before the candidate's dissertation committee.


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McGeorge offers the JSD degree in two areas: International Water Resources Law and International Legal Studies.