International Graduate Programs

Doctor of Juridical Science (J.S.D.) Frequently Asked Questions

Is the TOEFL required?
If you are a lawyer who was trained outside of the U.S., the Law School requires a TOEFL or IELTS score unless the language of instruction for your law classes was English.

What is a competitive TOEFL or IELTS score?
The Law School does not have a minimum TOEFL or IELTS score, but your application is more competitive with a TOEFL score of at least 600 (PBT), 250 (CBT), 100 (IBT), and an IELTS score of at least 6.5.

Is a letter of recommendation required?
Yes. Provide at least two letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with your academic or scholarly qualifications. The letters must be sent directly to the Law School Admissions Office or to LSAC to include in your LL.M. Credential Assembly Service report (LL.M. CAS). If you attended the University of Alabama School of Law International LL.M. Program, the letters of recommendation from the LL.M. application fulfill this requirement if you have been out of the program for less than a semester (excluding summer sessions) at the time of application. If you have been out of the International LL.M. Program at this Law School for longer than a semester, you must submit two letters of recommendation from recommenders different than those submitted for your LL.M. application.

Is a personal statement or essay required?
Yes. Provide a personal statement stating your background, of why you wish to enroll in the J.S.D. Program, and of your career expectations.

In addition, provide a plan of study and a description of the topic of your proposed dissertation, including the name of one or two University of Alabama School of Law faculty members who have agreed to supervise your dissertation. The Admissions Committee and Director of International Programs are available to assist you in identifying faculty members who may agree to supervise your proposed dissertation.

You may also be asked to submit an example of your scholarly work.

What material is required to submit an application to the J.S.D. Program?

You must submit the following when applying to the Program:

  1. J.S.D. application, dated and signed.
  2. US $40 Application Fee (made payable to The University of Alabama).
    You may send a check or money order, or you may pay by credit card online at http://www.law.ua.edu/jsdappfee. Visa, MasterCard, and Discover are accepted for the online payment. Cash is not accepted. This fee cannot be waived and is non-refundable.
  3. Transcripts, certificates, and diplomas from all colleges and/or universities that you have attended, including transcripts, certificates, and diplomas from the institution(s) that conferred your first degree in law and your LL.M. degree (or from the institution that will confer your LL.M. degree, if you are currently enrolled an LL.M. program). It is recommended that applicants use the LL.M. CAS International Transcript Authentication and Evaluation Service in addition to the Document Assembly Service. LSAC requires an additional fee for this service. However, official transcripts, certificates, and diplomas from all institutions that you have attended may be sent directly to the Law School. If sent to the Law School, these must come directly from each educational institution and must be certified by the dean or registrar of each institution and translated in English.
  4. Résumé. Please attach a résumé describing your academic and professional background. Please list any scholarly publications or other original work you have published.
  5. Personal statement stating your background, of why you wish to enroll in the J.S.D. Program, and of your career expectations.
  6. Plan of Study and Dissertation Topic Proposal. Please submit a plan of study and a description of the topic of your proposed dissertation. Include the names of one or two University of Alabama School of Law faculty members who have agreed to supervise your dissertation. The Admissions Committee and the Director of International Programs are available to assist you in identifying faculty members who may agree to supervise your proposed dissertation. You may also be asked to submit an example of scholarly work.
  7. Letters of Recommendation. Provide at least two letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with your academic or scholarly qualifications. The letters must be sent directly to the Law School Admissions Office or to LSAC to include in your LL.M. CAS. If you attended the University of Alabama School of Law International LL.M. Program, the letters of recommendation from your LL.M. application fulfill this requirement if you have been out of the program for less than a semester (excluding summer sessions) at the time of application. If you have been out of the International LL.M. Program at this Law School for longer than a semester, you must submit two letters of recommendation from recommenders different from those submitted for your LL.M. application.
  8. Completed Certification of Finances (Affidavit of Support); Information for Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant Student Status; and Transfer Recommendation of Student’s Non-immigrant Status, if applicable. Please read all instructions very carefully. These documents are available on the Law School website at www.law.ua.edu. Please submit all completed documents directly to the Law School Admissions Office.
  9. Code of Conduct Information. If you answer “Yes” to any portion of the Code of Conduct or Character and Fitness Sections, you must provide a supplementary sheet.
  10. Official TOEFL report or IELTS score if language of instruction was not English. The TOEFL report must come directly from Educational Testing Services (ETS). The scores may be sent to LSAC to include with your LL.M. CAS file or directly to the Law School Admissions Office.
  11. Copy of the front and back of your resident card or your visa, whichever is applicable.

When does the Law School begin accepting applications?
The Law School begins accepting applications on September 1st in the year prior to the year in which you wish to enroll.

What is the tuition for the J.S.D. Program?
Tuition is currently $34,840 per year for the 2013-14 program, plus an international student fee.  University tuition is determined by the Board of Trustees of The University of Alabama in June and is subject to change each year. The cost of a legal education at the University of Alabama School of Law is reasonable compared with that at private law schools; it also compares favorably with the tuition at other state-supported schools. In fact, the National Jurist and PreLaw Magazine named UA Law the “Best Value Law School” for the second year in a row in 2013.

After I submit my application, when should I expect a decision?
The Admissions Committee will review your application when your application file is complete. Apply early to ensure time to process any necessary visas or other special documents.

Are scholarships available for J.S.D. students?
Generally, scholarships are not available for J.S.D. students.

If I successfully complete the J.S.D. Program, may I take the Alabama or any other state bar exam?
Although the program is intended for lawyers who will return to their home countries, some graduates may decide to take an American bar exam. Each state bar has different eligibility requirements for its bar exam. Please contact the state bar in which you are interested for details. For more information on the Alabama State Bar, please click here: http://www.alabar.org/admissions/files/ruleIV.pdf and http://www.alabar.org/admissions/.

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