The Doctor of the Science of Law (J.S.D.) is the most advanced degree conferred by the University of Maine School of Law. The J.S.D. is a research doctorate equivalent to a Ph.D.  Study toward this degree is open to a small number of exceptionally well-qualified students who hold an LL.M. or possess comparable achievement as deemed by the J.S.D. Admissions Committee. Students in the program enroll in dedicated doctoral courses, pursue advanced research, develop expertise in a specialized field of law, serve as a teaching assistant in at least one course related to their field, produce a substantial dissertation under the supervision of a faculty member, and undertake an oral defense of the final product which must be deemed a contribution to legal scholarship.

The program prepares students for careers in academia, international and maritime law, and public service including international organizations. The duration of the program is up to six years with the possibility of extension in exceptional circumstances.

Learning Outcomes for J.S.D Graduates

  1. Graduates will develop mastery of the substantive law in their field of study.
  2. Graduates will master the analytical and methodological skills required to evaluate and conduct comprehensive research on their dissertation topic.
  3. Graduates will demonstrate the ability to communicate effectively in writing by drafting a dissertation that makes an original and substantial contribution to their field of study.
  4. Graduates will demonstrate the ability to communicate the results of their research in a clear and effective manner by presenting and defending the results of their dissertation research.