JD/PhD

Donald L Rebstock
Associate Dean of Enrollment and Career Management
375 E Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611   
Email: d-rebstock@law.northwestern.edu
Phone: (312) 503-0179
Web: http://www.law.northwestern.edu/academics/jdphd/

The JD/PhD program is open to students who intend to pursue an academic career or a career in another research setting (e.g., a policy research organization), and whose teaching and research will be enriched by both the JD and PhD degrees. The program offers a unique opportunity for students to take advantage of the academic excellence of university faculty in both The Graduate School and the Law School. The curriculum of the program is designed to allow students to complete both degrees more efficiently than they would through consecutive degree programs. Students will be able to complete the entire program (including dissertation) in as few as six years, depending on the requirements of the particular PhD program. The Northwestern University School of Law (Law School) and The Graduate School both recognize certain coursework completed in the other school toward their degree requirements. Students should consult the specific degree requirements of the Law School and their graduate programs.

Technically, no PhD programs are excluded from participation in the JD/PhD program. However, for a student to be admitted to the joint program, there must be clear evidence of the student's ability to incorporate interest in legal studies with his or her graduate research, and the student must be able to complete a dissertation that integrates both. For this reason, most applicants for JD/PhD degrees come from the social sciences. 

Please follow these links for more detailed information about the Program Curriculum and Degree Requirements.

Admissions Policies and Requirements
For New Students
Admissions
Application to the JD/PhD program requires acceptance into both The Graduate School and the Law School. Applicants can apply via a single online application accessible through this link: https://app.applyyourself.com/?id=nwu-grad. After the online application is submitted, the Law School and the doctoral program admissions committees will review the application separately. If a student qualifies for admission to both the Law School and the doctoral program, the student will be admitted to the JD/PhD program. A student will not be admitted to the JD/PhD program without the explicit approval of both the Law School and the doctoral program school. There may be cases when a student will be offered admission only in The Graduate School or the Law School.

Applicants must meet the admission requirements of both the Law School and the participating department of The Graduate School. Information on these admission requirements is available through the particular Graduate School department (see Academic Programs for a list of Graduate School departments) and, for the Law School, at www.law.northwestern.edu/admissions/profile.

The LSAT examination is required of all joint degree applicants. If the GRE is required for a given doctoral program, applicants must submit GRE scores. In the case of Kellogg, GMAT results may also be necessary and/or a substitute for the GRE. International students must meet the requirements for certification of language proficiency. All other admission requirements of the Law School and the given doctoral program must be met.

Funding

Students admitted to the JD-PhD program typically will be granted full funding (including tuition and all living expenses) for six academic years and three summers. This funding will be contingent upon the student entering an academic or other research position within four years of graduation from the program.  Students who can demonstrate a good faith effort* to secure an academic or other research position or experience a significant life event** that interrupts their academic job search will be excluded from this policy.      

If a student voluntarily or involuntarily withdraws from the PhD portion of the program prior to matriculation at the Law School and wishes to enroll in the JD program, JD-PhD program funding will discontinue immediately.  In order to be considered for financial assistance for the JD program, students must apply for financial aid according to the same application procedures, deadlines, and polices that pertain to JD program entering students as described here.  JD program grant funding will be contingent upon the availability of remaining funds at the time of the financial aid application.

Students will receive their TGS funding in the form of fellowships and assistantships. In year three, when the student is in Law School coursework, the student will receive both a stipend and a tuition scholarship from the Law School. In year four, students will receive a fellowship or assistantship from TGS and a tuition scholarship from the Law School. Students who matriculate after having enrolled in one school or the other may not qualify for the funding package specified here.

For Current Law Students
Admissions
Current law students may apply to the JD/PhD program during either their first or second year of law school by completing the JD/PhD Program application and by adhering to the normal deadlines and procedures.

Program Format
Current law students who successfully gain admission to the JD/PhD Program must complete their first two years of law school before commencing their studies in The Graduate School. This holds regardless of whether or not a current law student is accepted during his/her first or second year of law school.

Similar to students who enter the program externally, these students will also have only 2 years in residence at the law school. Following the first two years, law students will be granted 14 hours of credit through coursework at The Graduate School and 12 hours of credit toward Senior Research upon completion of their dissertation toward the JD degree.

If a student who enters the JD/PhD program after completing two years of law school decides to withdraw from The Graduate School and only complete the JD Program, he/she may return to the Law School to complete a full 3rd year of the JD program.

Funding
During the two years in residence at the law school, grant and scholarship funding will continue at the same level as it was awarded at entry to the JD Program. Thereafter, The Graduate School will provide its normal PhD Program student funding.

For Current Doctoral Students
Admissions
Current doctoral students may apply to the JD/PhD program during either their first or second year in their doctoral program by completing the Law School application, and by adhering to the normal deadlines, requirements, and procedures. Students must notify their Director of Graduate Study and Shari Diamond or Donald Rebstock of their intent to apply for the combined program.

Program Format
Current doctoral students who successfully gain admission to the JD/PhD Program must complete their first two years at TGS before commencing their studies in the Law School (as is the case for external candidates).

Similar to students who enter the program externally, these students will also have only 2 full years in residence at the Law School. Following the first two years, law students will be granted 14 hours of credit through coursework at The Graduate School and 12 hours of credit toward Senior Research upon completion of their dissertation toward the JD degree.

If a student decides to withdraw from The Graduate School and only complete the JD Program, he/she may pursue the Law degree solely but will be subject to the stated financial and academic requirements of the Law School.

Funding
Funding will operate in exactly the same manner as it would for an external JD/PhD candidate.

*A good faith effort is understood as a dedicated, serious effort by the student to find a tenure-line teaching position in a Law School and/or academic department/program, or a full-time research position. Students are expected to submit at least three applications per year for positions for four consecutive years until a position is secured. The job search should not be limited by geography.

**A significant life event may include but is not limited to the birth of child, death or illness of a family member or life partner, or a profound illness or health matter that incapacitates the student.