You are here

Degree Overview

The SJD program at the Iowa Law is intended for students who wish to conduct original and advanced legal research under faculty supervision.

Come study with internationally known faculty, including:

Herb Hovenkamp Herbert Hovenkamp, the leading authority on antitrust, author of the leading treatise on antitrust law, cited more than 1,000 times by the federal courts.
Mark Osiel Mark Osiel, the author of numerous groundbreaking books on transnational justice whose writings on the law’s responses to mass atrocity have inspired several conferences and are assigned at leading universities.
John Reitz John Reitz, former president of the American Society for Comparative Law, and author of numerous publications on the political economy of legal systems and the transplantation of the rule of law.
Adrien Wing Adrien Wing, Associate Dean for International & Comparative Law Programs, director of the UI Center for Human Rights and renowned expert in critical race theory and law in the Muslim world.
Tom Gallanis Thomas Gallanis, a specialist in cross-border and international wealth transfer, and comparative trust law, and a former visiting fellow at All Souls  College, Oxford, and Magdalene College, Cambridge.
Ann Estin Ann Laquer Estin, an active member of the International Society of Family Law, and an expert Observer at the Hague Conference on Private    International Law.
Maya Steinitz Maya Steinitz, a member of the ICC Commission
on Arbitration and of the Court of the Jerusalem Arbitration Center, who specializes in transnational dispute resolution, international business law, and the global legal profession.

The SJD programs has other advantages at Iowa:

  • As a member of our academic community, you will interact with our students and faculty, participate in faculty workshops, and present your own work from comment.
  • You will be able to conduct your research at the Iowa Law library, one of the three largest academic law libraries in the country with vast collections of international, comparative, and foreign law materials, including 4,500 volumes of rare books on British, US, French, and German law.  Reference librarians specially trained in foregin, comparative, and international law research can assist you with research.
  • The Iowa Law Writing Resource Center is available to help with legal writing as you develop your publishable dissertation.
  • The University of Iowa is a top public university with world-renowned specialties in fiction and non-fiction writing, business, engineering, health sciences, and liberal arts.  You will have the opportunity to collaborate with scholars from other disciplines.
  • Enjoy a quintessential American "college" town with a large international student population, a distinct cosmopolitan flavor, and a friendly and comfortable atmosphere.  Iowa City is also a UNESCO City of Literarture.

To learn more about how to apply, see our Application Process page for this program.

Additional Information

How does the SJD program work? To earn the SJD degree each student must complete a year of residence (with specific credit hour and other requirements) and then complete a doctoral dissertation.  The SJD dissertation is expected to be a substantial work of publishable quality that makes a significant and original contribution to legal scholarship.

What do I need to know about the Thesis Proposal? The thesis proposal is a key component of the SJD application.  During the year in residence, SJD candidates will refine their topic proposal, begin drafting chapters, and present the work.  SJD candidates will then have five years to complete the dissertation and defend it before the dissertation committee.

Are there more SJD requirements?  For a complete statement of SJD requirements, review our PDF iconSJD Program Description.