Program Structure

JD-PhD Course of Study

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.

JD-PhD students have come from a range of PhD programs, including African-American Studies; Anthropology; Economics; Finance; History; Media, Technology & Society; Politicial Science; Philosophy; Pyschology; Religion; and Sociology.

The JD-PhD Program has a strong relationship with the American Bar Foundation (ABF), a research institution dedicated to the study of law and legal institutions through the lens of social science. Several ABF researchers teach at Northwestern University and are eager to work with JD-PhD students. For more information, visit www.abf-sociolegal.org.

Typical Program Structure*

Year 1 Graduate School course work
Summer Graduate School research
Year 2 Graduate School course work
Summer Graduate School research
Year 3 Law School course work
Summer Graduate School and/or Law School research
Advancement to PhD candidacy before start of year 4
Year 4 Law School course work and Graduate Assistantship or TA
Summer Submission of prospectus before start of year 5
Year 5 Research at the Law School or Graduate School
Summer Submission of prospectus before start of year 6
Year 6 Writing and completion of dissertation

* Subject to PhD departmental requirements

Both degrees are awarded concurrently after all degree requirements are satisfied for both programs, including completion of (a) 2 years of law school credit hours in addition to the 14 credit hours awarded for law-related interdisciplinary graduate course work, (b) all law school requirements apart from course hours, and (c) all course work and other requirements, including the PhD dissertation, that are necessary for the PhD.

JD-PhD students are strongly encouraged to have a member of the law faculty on their dissertation committee. Doing so will also satisfy the Law School writing requirement.