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JD/PhD Combined Degree Program

Degree Types: JD/PhD

Northwestern’s Graduate School and School of Law offer an integrated JD and PhD program for students interested in pursuing a career in academia or 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 JD/PhD Combined Degree Program prepares students to conduct innovative research on law at the cross section of disciplines. Recognizing that a growing trend among top law schools is to hire faculty who have PhDs as well as law degrees, Northwestern offers the most efficient, cohesive, and affordable option for future academics wishing to pursue their doctoral and law degrees simultaneously.

The program’s curriculum allows students to complete both degrees more efficiently than they would through consecutive degree programs. Students can complete the entire program (including dissertation) in as few as six years, depending on the requirements of the particular PhD program.

Students can select a doctoral program in any discipline, provided they can incorporate their interest in law with their graduate research and they can complete a dissertation that draws on both disciplines.

Application to the JD/PhD program requires acceptance into both The Graduate School and the Law School.

Additional resources:

Program Statistics

Visit PhD Program Statistics for statistics such as program admissions, enrollment, student demographics and more.

Contact

Program Director: Shari Diamond

Program Overview

Northwestern's JD-PhD program is open to students who intend to pursue an academic or research career and whose teaching and research will be enriched by both degrees. The program is designed to allow students to complete both degrees more effectively than they would through consecutive degree programs.

Graduation Requirements

The JD and PhD degrees are awarded concurrently after all degree requirements are satisfied for both programs, including completion of:

  • Two years of Law School credit (at least 59 credit hours) in addition to the 14 credit hours awarded for law-related interdisciplinary graduate course work, 
  • All Law School JD requirements apart from course hours and the Perspective Elective, and
  • All course work and other requirements, including the dissertation, that are necessary for the PhD (as prescribed by TGS). 
    • 12 credit hours will be awarded toward the JD upon completion of the dissertation
  • JD-PhD students are required to have a member of the Northwestern Law faculty on their dissertation committee.

Typical Program Structure1

Year Course
Year One Graduate School course work
Summer - Graduate School research
Year Two Graduate School course work
Summer - Graduate School research
Year Three Law School course work
Summer - Graduate School and/or Law School research
Advancement to PhD candidacy before start of year four
Year Four Law School course work and Graduate Assistantship or TA
Summer - Submission of prospectus before start of year five
Year Five Research at the Law School or Graduate School
Summer - Submission of prospectus before start of year six
Year Six Writing and completion of dissertation

Last Updated: August 29, 2019