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PhD in Law

Why do a PhD in law?

A PhD in law can open doors to rewarding careers in teaching law and legal research. For individuals hoping for diversity and a chance to explore alternate career paths within the field of law, a PhD is a good option. Some of the major benefits of pursuing a doctorate in law include:

  • An opportunity to teach law at the university level and promote the development of this academic field alongside your usual practice or clerkship. In the competitive job market nowadays, a simple LLB or BA alone might not be enough to score rewarding positions.

  • A PhD in law program is designed exclusively to prepare prospective students for careers in law, whereby they can study and teach jurisprudence. What is distinctive about the doctorate program in law is that it’s designed specifically to prepare students for the legal field, rather than a teaching opportunity in another field.

  • Many accredited universities welcome applications from those individuals who have research interests in interdisciplinary fields. A PhD program in law allows them to receive advanced training in these other fields too and promotes a well rounded education.

  • Earning a PhD in law means that you are an expert in your field. A qualification such as this can increase your job prospects and you can look for careers in niche law firms and other organizations.

  • A PhD degree entails extensive research work as well as attending conferences. Through with these conferences, individuals get a chance to network and make important contacts with other professionals in their field.

PhD in Law- Program Specifications

While the exact specifications of a doctorate program in law usually varies with regards to the curriculum, research work, progress review and thesis requirements, generally, students usually follow a similar pattern. A PhD degree in law is designed for those students who have successfully completed their Juris Doctor (J.D) degree from an American Law school and who further wish to advance their knowledge of law by taking up higher studies. A J.D degree program usually includes courses such as property law, constitutional law, civil procedure, contracts and legal writing. Law students also get an opportunity to take specialized courses in their area of interest, such as corporate, tax or labor law. The J.D program is essentially helpful since it allows the PhD program to be completed in a period of three years at the most.

Important components of a PhD program include:

  • Coursework
  • Comprehensive examinations- both oral and written
  • Progress review
  • Completion of a dissertation or a thesis (this may be in the form of three law review style articles or a traditional monograph) under the supervision of a three or more member faculty committee.
  • Experience in teaching.

Usually, in the first two semesters, students enroll in courses that equip them with important research skills they will need to be utilized while completing a dissertation in their field of interest. These background courses will also help them in the future qualifying examinations meant to test the depth of the knowledge acquired.

In their second year, students usually prepare a dissertation prospectus and get it approved by their supervisors before getting started on their actual dissertation work. The supervisors usually consist of a three member faculty committee in charge of advising students in every matter of their PhD work.

Job Outlook and Pay Scale

With regard to the job outlook of post secondary teachers, which include PhD degree holders. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the employment of postsecondary teachers is projected to grow by 19 percent from 2012 to 2022, a rate that is faster than the average for all occupations. The growth rate is attributed to the educational campaigns in the US and the increasing importance placed on education. According to BLS, enrollments at post secondary institutes such as colleges and universities are increasing, spurring the demand for well qualified post secondary teachers. With regards to the pay, according to BLS, the median annual wage for postsecondary law teachers in May 2014 was $109,980.

How long does it take to complete a PhD in Law?

Some of the institutes that are offering a PhD in Law/Doctoral of Juridical Science (S.J.D) program include Harvard University, Yale University, University of California, University of Washington, Loyola Marymount University and The University of Texas. A PhD in Law can be earned within 3-5 years. Residence also needs to be completed within the first 2 years. This program prepares students to become public intellectuals, jurists, scholars or law professors.

What are the requirements to complete a PhD in Law?

In order to obtain a PhD in Law, students are generally required to complete a minimum of 60 credits. They need to complete the coursework, clear the oral examination, accept and submit the doctoral dissertation and defend the dissertation. The first two requirements, that include completion of the study plan and completion of the oral exam, are generally completed within the first year of the PhD program. The remaining requirements are completed in the following three years.

How much can I make after completing a PhD in Law?

Students can pursue their careers as legal researchers or university teachers after obtaining a PhD in Law. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, post secondary teachers earned an annual median pay of $78,470 in 2018. In 2016, the number of jobs in this field was 1,314,400. The employment in this field is predicted to grow by 15% from 2016-2016, which is faster than the average rate for all other occupations.

Frequently Asked Question(s)

Q:What are the curriculum components of Law and Legal Doctoral Programs?

A:Some of the courses covered in Law and Legal Doctoral Programs include legal theory, legal ethics, corporate and contract law, comparative law, legal protection, strategy management, mediation, and argumentation and presentation techniques. A dissertation or detailed research on any issue in law and legal system may also be included in the program.

Q:Can I pursue a phd in law online?

A:There are many universities in the US that are now offering PhD's in law online. With an online degree you can either accelerate or slow down the coursework based on your personal requirements and lifestyle. Along with that you can also save on the cost of tuition as well as living costs associated with on-campus degree.

Q:Why should I do a doctorate in law?

A:A doctorate in law is for individuals who already have earned a Juris Doctor (J.D) from an American Law School and wish to pursue advanced studies in law. Scholars of this program will be capable of helping bring about key changes in the field of law; graduates will be able to teach along the routes of fellowships and professorships.

Q:What will be the course of the study during a phd law degree?

A:When you apply to the phd program, you are already supposed to know the subject that you want to specialize in, and based on that topic you will also have to form a research proposal. The research proposal will make the base of your entire research and you will add to that proposal over time and refine it to make a dissertation prospectus which you will further refine to make your final dissertation; all with the help of designated faculty members.

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