Residence and Degree Requirements

S.J.D. students will enroll in the program for two to four years. The first year must be spent in residency at Wake Forest Law. The student will be required, in consultation with their S.J.D. faculty adviser, to enroll in at least two courses in the law school or elsewhere in the University during the period of residency that complement the S.J.D. student’s objectives. In addition, the student will register each semester (including semesters not in residence) for the Supervised Dissertation course. S.J.D. students will be provided law school work space during residency, as well as access to the School of Law’s computer resources and University facilities on the same terms as other Wake Forest law students during their enrollment.

To be awarded the S.J.D. degree, a candidate must complete and successfully defend, before their Dissertation Committee, a dissertation of publishable quality that constitutes an original and substantial scholarly contribution to the areas of law in which it is written. The Dissertation Committee is composed of the student’s primary faculty advisor and two additional faculty members.

The S.J.D. degree will be awarded on the basis of:

  • Satisfactory completion of the coursework
  • Participation in colloquia with faculty and others
  • Timely completion of the dissertation to the satisfaction of the S.J.D. faculty adviser
  • Oral defense of the dissertation before a committee of Wake Forest faculty

The dissertation may be completed by the student in absentia following the required residency period. During the period of completion, the student is responsible for maintaining regular contact with their S.J.D. faculty advisor and other members of the dissertation committee for guidance on the research and writing.

The student is required to return to Wake Forest University School of Law to defend and pass an oral examination by the dissertation committee on or before the dissertation committee’s decision as to whether to approve the student’s completed dissertation for receipt of the S.J.D. degree.

The S.J.D. program normally requires a minimum of three to five years, including coursework, to complete. In no event shall a student’s completion of the program exceed a five-year period or enrollment will be terminated.