Law School Rules

Chapter 10. Graduate Degrees And Graduate Minors In Law

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10.01 S.J.D. Degree. The degree of Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) provides an opportunity and environment for scholarly research mainly for persons who are either in or preparing for academic or comparable scholarly legal careers.

(1) Admission. The conditions of admission to the S.J.D. program are:

(a) A J.D. or equivalent American or foreign first law degree, as well as work satisfying 1(c), below;

(b) outstanding academic performance as evidenced by the quality of program, written work, recommendations from teachers, and grades;

(c) submission of a substantial written research project demonstrating a high capacity for the legal research and writing in English necessary for a successful S.J.D. dissertation. The preferred evidence of such capacity is a good quality University of Wisconsin LL.M. thesis. S.J.D. applicants may, however, present equivalent work (such as substantial LL.M. thesis done at another University, a monograph or law review article);

(d) in the case of holders of law degrees from universities where the greater part of their instruction was not in English, proof of high proficiency in English for advanced study of law; high proficiency will ordinarily be demonstrated by a score of at least 625/263 (computer-based) on the TOEFL examination;

(e) a detailed research proposal of at least six (6) double-spaced typed pages specifying the objectives, methodology, required materials and timetable;

(f) consent of a faculty member of the Law School to act as the candidate's principal academic adviser;

(g) acceptance by the Graduate Programs Committee.

(2) Program. The S.J.D. program shall adhere to the following guidelines:

(a) Research toward a doctoral dissertation is the core of the program. The dissertation should be equivalent in quality and substance to a substantial monograph.

(b) Ordinarily, students seeking the S.J.D. may not take courses for credit. Exceptions may be made on the advice of the adviser and with the consent of the chair of the Graduate Programs Committee when the course is a seminar involving substantial writing obligations consistent with the thesis topic.

(c) Full-time S.J.D. candidates shall register for 12 credits for each of the first two semesters of residency, unless they have already established residency from immediately preceding LL.M. work being continued in the S.J.D. dissertation without a break of more than one semester's time. Except where a seminar is authorized, those credits shall be in directed research. A minimum of 24 credit hours is required for completion of the S.J.D. degree. To qualify for the S.J.D. degree, the candidate must also prepare an acceptable thesis (see 5 below).

(3) Residence. Registration and physical presence as a full-time student for one academic year with satisfactory completion of at least 24 credits is required. S.J.D. candidates who have completed their residence requirement, including those who have completed their residence requirement from an immediately preceding LL.M. program (see 2(c), above), may maintain full-time law school status during the second year registering for 3 credits each semester.

(4) Term for completion of program. The program is to be completed no later than three calendar years after the residence period. A residence period that was established during immediately preceding LL.M. work being continued in the S.J.D. program is considered the residence period of the S.J.D. program for the purposes of this section.

(5) Award of degree.

(a) The granting of a degree shall be recommended to the Law School faculty on the completion of the following: approval of the thesis by the principal academic adviser and the Reading Committee and approval of the completed program by the Graduate Programs Committee.

(b) Prior to the recommendation of a degree to the faculty, the candidate shall deposit two suitable copies of the thesis with the Law Library and pay the library's filing expense charge.

10.02 LL.M. Degree. A Master's Degree in Laws (LL.M.) provides an opportunity and environment for scholarly research mainly for persons who are either in or preparing for academic or comparable scholarly legal careers.

(1) Admission. The conditions of admission to the LL.M. program are:

(a) A J.D. or equivalent American or foreign first law degree;

(b) outstanding academic performance as evidenced by the quality of program, written work, recommendations from teachers, and grades;

(c) in the case of holders of law degrees from universities where the greater part of their instruction was not in English, proof of high proficiency in English for advanced study of law; high proficiency will ordinarily be demonstrated by a score of at least 625/263 (computer-based) on the TOEFL examination;

(d) a plan of work of at least four (4) double-spaced typed pages to include a statement of objectives, detailed outline of the proposed research, and explanation of course/seminar needs;

(e) consent of a faculty member of the Law School to act as the candidate's principal academic adviser;

(f) acceptance by the Graduate Programs Committee.

(2) Program. The LL.M. program shall adhere to the following guidelines:

(a) Research toward a master's thesis is the core of the program. The thesis should be equivalent in quality and substance to a substantial law review article.

(b) Ordinarily, students seeking the LLM may not take courses for credit. Exceptions may be made on the advice of the adviser and with the consent of the chair of the Graduate Programs Committee when the course is a seminar involving substantial writing obligations consistent with the thesis topic.

(c) Full-time LLM candidates shall register for 12 credits for each of the first two semesters of residency. Except where a seminar is authorized, those credits shall be in directed research. A minimum of 24 credit hours is required for completion of the LL.M. degree. To qualify for the LLM degree, the candidate must also prepare an acceptable thesis (see 5 below).

(3) Residence.Registration and physical presence as a full-time student for one academic year with satisfactory completion of at least 24 credits is required. LL.M. candidates who have completed their residence requirement may maintain full-time law school status during the second year registering for 3 credits each semester.

(4) Term for completion of program.The program is to be completed no later than one calendar year after the residence period.

(5) Award of degree.

(a) The granting of a degree shall be recommended to the Law School faculty on the completion of the following: approval of the thesis by the principal academic adviser and the Reading Committee and approval of the completed program by the Graduate Programs Committee.

(b) Prior to the recommendation of a degree to the faculty, the candidate shall deposit two suitable copies of the thesis with the Law Library and pay the library's filing expense charge.

10.03 Law Minors.

(1) The credit requirement is 10 credits for Ph.D. candidates with minors in law. In grading the work of such candidates in law courses they will not be differentiated from professional law students.

(2) The grade requirement for Ph.D. candidates with minors in law shall be a weighted average of 77 (on the 65-95 scale) or 2.0 (on the 4.3 scale).

(3) A student taking a law minor is privileged to rewrite any one or more courses once subject to the same maximum grade limitation applied to other law students, or to replace any course previously taken with another equally advanced course.

10.04 LL.M. -Legal Institutions Degree. A Master of Laws-Legal Institutions (LL.M.-L.I.) provides an opportunity and an environment for the study of law from interdisciplinary perspectives, mainly for individuals trained in the law of a foreign country. This degree is not available to persons who already hold an Anglo-American professional degree in law.

(1) Admission. The conditions of admission are:

(a) A degree or diploma representing the study of law. This is usually shown by a bachelor's degree in law (LL.B.), but also may be shown by a master's or other graduate degree in law. The Graduate Admissions Committee will also consider an undergraduate major, such as in political science, that includes a significant number of law courses;

(b) Generally, a Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, or a B average, from undergraduate work;

(c) A TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or comparable examination score showing high proficiency in English if the prior study in law was not conducted in English. High proficiency will ordinarily be demonstrated by a TOEFL score of 100 (Internet-Based Test) or 600 (Paper-Based Test) or higher. Applicants with lower English competency scores may be required to satisfactorily complete an intensive English program before beginning the LLM-L.I. program. Those with lower scores are normally required to take an English assessment test on campus before the beginning of their first semester, with a recommendation for a supplemental English language class, where appropriate;

(d) A personal statement that includes a statement of objectives and a description of the likely courses to be taken and research to be pursued at the Law School;

(e) Adequate financial resources to support the expected tuition and living costs for the duration of the program;

(f) Acceptance by the Graduate Admissions Committee.

(2) Program. The LL.M.-L.I. program shall adhere to the following guidelines:

(a) A candidate's program may be flexibly designed in consultation with the designated Law School academic adviser, but shall provide for at least 24 credits, including

(i) satisfactory completion of at least twelve (12) credits in letter-graded courses or seminars in law;

(ii) satisfactory completion of twelve (12) credits in course work in law, including directed research (Law 990) if appropriate, or other departments approved by the Law School academic adviser as related to the student's LL.M.-L.I. program. To count towards the LL.M.-L.I. degree, courses taken in other University departments must be numbered 300 or higher. English classes do not count towards the LL.M.-L.I. program.

(iii) Students who are participating in an approved reciprocal exchange of credits agreement between their home university and the Law School at the master's level may apply up to 6 credits in law classes earned at their home university at the master's level towards these 9-12 credits authorized by (a) (ii) supra.

(iv) Programs may include up to 36 credits, but no candidate for the LLM-L.I. shall be permitted to continue after the semester in which the candidate earns 36 credits.

(b) Any credits earned at the Law School or in any collaborative program must have been earned within 6 years of the completion of the LLM-L.I. program at the Law School.

(c) Students in the LL.M.-L.I. program are graded using the Law School's grade scale, provided in Law School Rule 2.01. A grade of C- or higher in a Law School course or seminar will be deemed satisfactory completion of a course and will satisfy program standards. The grades for courses taken outside the Law School in other University departments must be BC or better to count towards the program. Law School Rule 2.01 should be relied on to determine the overall GPA of the student in the LL.M.-L.I. program. An overall C (2.0) average is needed for satisfactory completion of the LL.M.-L.I. program. A course grade of D+ or below will be averaged into the GPA, but the course will not count towards the 21 credit course requirement. Directed research (Law 990) and directed reading (Law 991) are graded Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory (not by letter grades) and therefore are not used in calculating the GPA. The pass/fail option is not available to LLM-L.I. students unless the course is offered only on a pass/fail basis.

(d) The candidate's program, including courses dropped or added after the initial consultation with the Law School (LLM-L.I.) academic adviser, is subject to the approval of the Law School academic adviser and the Graduate Admissions Committee.

(3) Residence. Registration and physical presence as a full-time student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for one academic year is required. The residence requirement may be reduced to one semester for students participating in executive versions of the LL.M.-L.I. program that have been approved by the law faculty. The residence requirement may also be reduced to eighteen (18) credits for students participating in a reciprocal exchange of credits agreement between their home university and the Law School at the master's level.

(4) Term for completion of program. The program is normally to be completed within the residence period. An extension for up to one semester can be granted with the approval of the academic adviser. Participants in an executive LL.M.-L.I. program may be permitted a longer period of time for completion of the program when such extension is provided for by the agreement for the executive LL.M.-L.I. program that has been approved by the law faculty.

(5) Award of degree. The granting of the degree shall be recommended to the Law School Dean on the approval of the satisfactorily completed program by the Law School academic adviser and the Graduate Admissions Committee.

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