Law Students

Yale Law Offers Nation’s First Ph.D. in Law
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At least one-tenth of law professors in the nation come from Yale Law School, and banking upon that reputation and its excellence, Yale Law School is introducing a Ph.D in law. According to Yale, it is “The first such degree program in the country. It would be grooming JD students to become law professors.

Dean Robert Post noted, “In the past few decades, legal scholarship has matured as an academic discipline … Because the level of the scholarship expected of entry-level law professors has risen quite dramatically, increasing numbers of law professors now pursue Ph.D.’s in allied disciplines … Because such disciplines train students in standards and questions that are different from those of the law, the natural next step for the legal academy is to create our own Ph.D. program that can focus on the questions and practices of the law itself. Students obtaining a Ph.D. in law may, of course, engage in interdisciplinary studies, but their work will be anchored in the framework of legal scholarship.”

The Dean further asserted, “It’s becoming increasingly hard to transition directly from law practice to teaching …Yale Law School’s Ph.D. in Law will offer a new, alternative route into a career in law teaching and legal scholarship.”


According to the webpage on the Ph.D. program, the Ph.D. in law is meant to prepare J.D. graduates for careers in legal scholarship through three years of supervised study. In the first two semesters, the students will acquire the research skills they need to complete a dissertation in their field of interest, and during the second year, students will develop a dissertation prospectus and begin work on a dissertation.

The Ph.D. students would be receiving the support of the Yale Law School’s Law Teaching program and applications for admission to the course would begin from early of Fall 2012. Ph.D. in Law students at Yale would receive a full tuition waiver, health insurance coverage and a stipend to cover living expenses.

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