As the legal profession becomes more globally focused, academic research is a powerful and compelling instrument for forging social change and transforming how justice and the rule of law can be realized throughout the world. Comprehensive study in international and comparative law allows scholars to make original and substantial contributions to mitigating and solving critical issues that permeate all societies.

The Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) is the highest degree in law. Loyola University Chicago School of Law's SJD Program in International and Comparative Law is a highly selective postgraduate program primarily for students who have graduated from the School of Law's current LLM degree programs. The SJD is designed for students aspiring to be legal academics who wish to pursue sustained independent study, research, and writing. Students will conduct academic research in a particular area of international and comparative law and complete a doctoral dissertation.

SJD candidates work under the supervision and guidance of School of Law faculty members, the Advisory Committee, and the SJD Committee.

Our commitment to you

Upon graduation with an SJD from Loyola, you will possess the following knowledge, skills, and professional values:

Knowledge & Skills

You will demonstrate an advanced knowledge in an area of international and comparative law. You will develop an effective research methodology and a research plan and will learn to discuss and present your research and writing at scholarly gatherings such as conferences, seminars, and colloquia.

You will write a dissertation of publishable quality that makes an original and substantial contribution to legal.

Professional Values

You will be prepared to exercise proper professional judgment and contribute to a deeper understanding of law and legal institutions through commitment to research, scholarship, and public service.


The curriculum of the SJD is tailored to the background of each candidate and entirely depends on the research topic(s) and field(s) of law chosen. All students must complete five components of study, research, writing, and final examinations:

Year 1

  • With guidance and approval from the Advisory Committee, you will enroll in a total of 10 credit hours of course work related to your field of research (5 credits in each the first and in the second semester). In addition, you will complete an approved list of readings in your main and corollary study fields. All SJD candidates must be in residence in Chicago.
  • You will enroll in the SJD Colloquium and will give one presentation during the first year that and another prior to graduation. The oral presentations require a passing grades.
  • You must complete an oral examination at the end of the first year. If you pass the exam, the Advisory Committee will approve your continuation in the program.

Year 2&3

  • You must register for the dissertation course for each term and regularly coordinate your progress with your advisor. You will continue to meet, either in person or remotely, with your Advisory Committee twice a year. Within three years of enrollment, you must submit a final doctoral dissertation for review and approval to the Chair of your Advisory Committee.
  • You must provide an oral defense of your dissertation before the Advisory Committee. Upon approval, the Advisory Committee will forward your dissertation to the SJD Committee and to the full faculty of the School of Law for final approvals.


To be eligible for admission, you must have a first law degree (Juris Doctor or equivalent) and an LLM Degree from Loyola University Chicago.

  • April 1: Fall Application Deadline
  • September 1: Spring Application Deadline

Tuition and Fees

The School of Law and Loyola's Office of Student Financial Assistance are committed to helping students secure the necessary financial resources to make their legal education at Loyola affordable.