PHD in Law: Online and Campus-Based Programs
Are you interested in furthering the study of the law? Would you like to teach law at a college or university? If so, then consider earning a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Law. Note that these programs are generally found only in campus-based programs and not online. Schools offering Juris Doctor degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
What Ph.D. in Law Degrees Can I Earn?
The graduate law degree you'll need in order to pursue a career as a lawyer is a Juris Doctor (J.D.). However, if your interest is in teaching and research, rather than practicing law, you can earn a Ph.D. degree in law. You'll find these programs offered as a Ph.D. in Justice, Law and Society; in Criminology, Law and Society or in Public Law.
These programs are often interdisciplinary and allow you to focus on the law from many approaches, including anthropology, sociology and the criminal justice system. Occasionally, these programs are offered through a university's law school; in other cases, they are offered as concentrations within the graduate department of another field, such as sociology or history.
What Will I Study?
Your required coursework will vary based upon the focus of your Ph.D. program. However, many law-oriented Ph.D. programs include the opportunity to study how the law functions in society. This may include the actual process of legal actions, conflict resolutions and the criminal justice system. You may also take coursework in the philosophy of law, the administration of law throughout the U.S. or the government's role in law creation.
Some programs provide you with the chance to gain experience in education through assistant teaching posts. You may also work as a research assistant for graduate faculty members. In addition to building your credentials for your career, these opportunities can be useful sources of income while you complete your Ph.D. program. Most programs culminate with you researching, writing and defending a dissertation.
What Are the Admissions Requirements?
Since Ph.D. programs in law are research and writing-intensive, you may need to submit evidence of your scholarly readiness for doctoral study. This may include the submission of an original writing sample in which you demonstrate your analytical proficiency. Alternatively, you may need to submit professional or academic letters of recommendation or complete an interview.
You'll need to possess a bachelor's degree, and some programs also require that you earn a master's degree either prior to starting doctoral study or as part of your doctoral studies. Most programs don't require a specific prior field of study.
To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below: