SJD Rules & Regulations

A candidate for the degree of Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) must be in good academic standing and comply with the following requirements: 

An SJD candidate enrolled before July 1, 2016 must be in residence for one academic year, and an SJD candidate enrolled on or after that date must be in residence for two academic years.  During a candidate’s first year in the program he/she must satisfactorily complete 24 credits in the Suffolk University Law School (SULS) curriculum.

An SJD candidate must complete the following 24 credits in year one:

  • SJD Workshop (3 credits per term = 6 credits) 
  • Elective Courses chosen with input from your advisors (10 credits over the two terms)
  • Research Credits (4 credits per term = 8 credits) 

After year two (or after year one for students enrolled before July 1, 2016), an SJD candidate may continue his or her research away from the law school. During this time, the SJD candidate must continue to communicate regularly with his or her Committee Chair (e.g., several times per semester) to discuss the student's progress and future steps in the research process. The candidate should periodically submit written drafts to the Committee Chair for review, comment, and revision. The candidate should also periodically consult the other members of the committee for research advice and feedback on writing progress. 

An SJD candidate must submit a written progress report every semester, both while in residence and while away from the law school.

Upon substantial completion of the dissertation to the satisfaction of the Committee Chair, an SJD candidate will submit his or her dissertation for approval to the whole committee. The final product must be an in depth, publication-quality paper that advances knowledge in the field. At the approval of the candidate’s dissertation committee, a candidate may satisfy the dissertation requirement by producing three papers of publishable quality that form a thematic unity.  It is expected that the first of these three papers will be submitted by the end of the candidate’s second year in the program or the end of the 2016-2017 academic year, whichever is later.  Upon submission of the final paper, the candidate will defend his or her dissertation before the 3 member committee (chaired by the Committee Chair). Although quality cannot be measured by quantity, it is expected that the length of the final manuscript or combined length of the candidate's three papers will normally be at least 120 pages; but the length appropriate for a candidate's work is ultimately a matter for the dissertation committee to determine.  The presentation and oral defense will be open to the law school community. Upon approval of the committee, the faculty will vote on the conferral of the SJD degree. The degree should be completed in a period of 4 years or less. Upon a degree candidate’s application, or on a dissertation committee’s own initiative, a candidate’s dissertation committee may determine that the candidate is not making suitable progress in the S.J.D. program.  In such a case, the candidate will not be permitted to continue in the degree program beyond the end of that current academic semester. If such an individual has completed all of the requirements of either the General LLM or the LLM in Global Technology, the candidate may be awarded such an LLM in lieu of the SJD.

Degrees are awarded by the Trustees of Suffolk University on the recommendation of the Law Faculty. Recommendations may be withheld by the Faculty for good cause.

A. SJD students must enroll in a minimum of 9 (and a maximum of 12) credits per semester for their year in residence.

B. An SJD student may not register for more than 14 credits in a semester without the prior approval of the Assistant Dean and the Associate Deans.

A. Numerical Grading System

SJD students are graded on an alternative grading system (see III B, below) for every class in which they are registered, and for every semester of the program, except the SJD Seminar will be graded on Credit or Fail basis. Faculty may request a half-step grade increase for a student's class participation provided such participation was not already accounted for in the original grade submitted. Faculty must submit to the Registrar a list of students receiving grade increases at the time of, or prior to, submission of grades.

Reports of grades are made as follows:

A 4.00 Satisfactory C 2.00 Satisfactory
A- 3.67 Satisfactory C- 1.67 Unsatisfactory
B+ 3.33 Satisfactory D+ 1.33 Unsatisfactory
B 3.00 Satisfactory D 0.67 Unsatisfactory
B- 2.67 Satisfactory D- 0.00 Unsatisfactory
C+ 2.33 Satisfactory F Fail

B. SJD Grading System

SJD students are graded in accordance with the following grading system for all courses, but for the SJD Seminar:
HH High Honors
H Honors
P Pass
F Fail

Faculty submit grades according to the numerical grading system (see III A, above) and the Law Registrar will translate the assigned grade as follows for all courses, but for the SJD Seminar:
A, A-, B+ HH
B, B- H
C+, C, C-, D+, D, D- P

SJD students are graded in accordance with the following grading system for the SJD Seminar:
CR Credit
F Fail

C. Grades  

SJD students' grades will not be factored into the recommended curve for the purposes of grading in the JD program. SJD students will not be given a class rank. A student's official transcript will also show the letter grades awarded for all courses taken. 

The instructor in any non-anonymously graded course may elect to grade the course on an Honors/ Pass/Low Pass/Fail basis. The instructor must notify the students at the first meeting of the course if the instructor is going to elect the Honors/Pass/Low Pass/Fail basis of grading. For all purposes under these Regulations, the grades of Honors, Pass, Low Pass, and Credit shall be satisfactory grades.

A student shall not be granted credit for a grade of No Credit or Fail. Grades of No Credit and Fail shall be equivalent to a grade of an F. In this instance the numerical equivalent of an F will be calculated into the student's GPA.

Attendance and assignments for courses in the SJD Program shall be governed by Regulation II. B of the Rules and Regulations for the JD Program.

D. Elective Add/Drop Period

During the first week of classes a student who has registered for an elective SJD course or courses may add or drop the course or courses. Course changes are not allowed before the first day of classes or after the close of the designated add/drop period, except with the permission of the Associate Deans. Failure to withdraw within the add/drop period may result in a grade of No Credit (F).

E. Extensions Beyond End of Semester

Any paper or other project required for a final grade in a course must be submitted no later than the end of the examination period for the semester in which the course is taken. If, for compelling reasons, the instructor allows an extension of time to complete the paper or project, the extension may be for a period no longer than 90 days from the end of the examination period. No further extension may be granted. During any extension, the course grade will be recorded temporarily as "Incomplete." However, if by the end of the examination period or extension the paper or project has not been submitted, a grade of No credit (F) will be recorded.

F. Examinations

Regulations III. E. (Examination Numbers), F. (Failure to Take Examinations), and H. (Privacy) of the Rules and Regulations for the JD Program shall apply.

A. A single "F" grade under either the numerical or alternative grading system (see V. B. Alternative Grading System) shall result in an SJD student coming before the SJD Academic Standing Committee for a review of the student's performance.

B. The Committee may impose one or more conditions for continued study upon the student, including but not limited to repeating a course, reexamination in accordance with Regulation III.F. of the JD Rules and Regulations governing reexamination, an assistance program prescribed by the Committee, limitations on employment or extracurricular activities, or taking a semester or year's leave of absence prior to continuing.

The Committee may dismiss an SJD student when in the Committee's judgment imposing conditions for continued study are not reasonably likely to lead to the student's successful completion of the program or if the student fails to satisfy previously imposed conditions.

C. The SJD Academic Standing Committee shall be appointed by the Dean and consist of an Associate Dean and 3 members of the resident faculty. The Assistant Dean will serve on the Committee as an ex officio member.

Any violation of academic integrity shall be viewed as a serious infraction of the Rules and Regulations of the Law School. Violations of academic integrity shall include, but are not limited to, dishonesty in the examination process, harassment and plagiarism in written work, as defined in the Regulation II. F. of the Rules and Regulations for the J.D. Program.

A. Leave of Absence

If a student is currently unable to continue the study of law, an Associate Dean may grant the student a leave of absence for up to one year. The student must request a leave of absence by writing a letter to the Associate Dean specifying the reason for the requested leave and the anticipated return date. A student granted a leave of absence is entitled to return to the Law School's SJD program at the end of the term of the leave without reapplying for admission. A leave of absence will be granted to a student during the first semester of study in the SJD program only under extraordinary circumstances.

B. Withdrawals

A student who wishes to withdraw from the Law School's SJD Program must file a written request to do so and obtain permission from an Associate Dean. No student may withdraw after the examination period begins or while consideration of his or her academic standing is pending. A student who withdraws from the Law School's SJD Program must reapply for admission to the SJD program if he or she wishes to return.

Regulations XI of the Rules and Regulations for the JD Program shall apply.

The Law Faculty reserves the right to change the schedule of classes, the program of instruction, the requirements for credits or degrees, and any rule or regulation established for the government of the student body in the school. Any such change may be made applicable to students already enrolled in the Law School.