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Doctor of Juridical Science in Environmental Law

Academics Env. SJD

The Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) in Environmental Law at Pace prepares legal scholars to teach environmental law in the United States and abroad. Admission is highly competitive and requires completion of an LLM in Environmental Law with distinction either at Pace or at a comparable program at another law school.

We thoroughly review a candidate’s SJD application and require one or more interviews with members of the environmental law faculty. Since students work closely with a faculty advisor, we admit only one or two applicants annually. Students are expected to attend graduate orientation the week before classes start and to begin residency in late-August.

SJD Degree Requirements
Candidates must enroll in an SJD tutorial – a thorough introduction to the design and theory of the environmental law curriculum, its bibliography and research tools, methods of teaching and applications in the field. We also require a seminar in Advanced Legal Research. We strongly recommend that candidates who have not taken an advanced seminar in the history of jurisprudence of environmental law or in comparative environmental law in their LLM studies do so for the SJD.

The primary focus of the SJD is preparation of an original research thesis (dissertation) of publishable quality. SJD candidates prepare their theses under the direct guidance of our environmental law faculty who engage candidates in a close, collegial relationship. We expect SJD candidates to be in full-time residence at Pace for at least one year. SJD candidates who have not yet received an LLM in environmental law will be required to perform a year of coursework towards the Environmental Law LLM at Pace prior to starting a year of SJD courses. 

Upon completing the SJD coursework, creating a research plan and outline, and researching and writing, the student is not required to remain on campus to complete the thesis.  Theses sometimes take several drafts, and several years, to complete because we expect them to be of publishable quality.  Upon completion of a satisfactory final thesis, the student then provides an oral defense of the thesis before a committee of three or more environmental faculty members before receiving the degree.

Please note: The application period for the 2014-15 academic year is closed. We are currently considering applications for the 2015-16 academic year. The application process is highly competitive. If you would like to apply early and ask us to hold your application on file to be considered when the next application period opens up, please email Deborah Zipf at

How to apply to the SJD program