Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD)

The Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) provides a structured approach to doctoral work that is designed to achieve mastery of content, acquisition of skills and the development of attributes appropriate to senior positions in academia, law, and related professions. Learning experiences are incorporated into the programme to bring about these desired outcomes, and the programme is structured to ensure that students have optimal supervision to contribute to these outcomes. The University has developed strong relationships and networks with national and international communities of researchers to ensure that its doctoral programmes and qualifications are relevant and responsive to our students' needs as well as to the needs of the professions.

Structure of Programme

The SJD regulations are in two parts.

Part I requires fulfilment of an individually tailored programme that comprises the Research Portfolio which counts for 120 points. This programme includes attendance at selected seminars and attendance and presentations at cohort meetings, demonstration of expertise in an area of law through the production of two publishable quality research papers, and the production of a research proposal at the same level as a PhD proposal. The Research Portfolio ensures a sustained and rigorous approach to a specific area of law. Candidates must demonstrate expertise in an area of law and intellectual independence through the production of two publishable research papers in that area, and then demonstrate their ability to identify and develop an original topic at an appropriate level in the same area through the production of a thesis proposal.

Part II requires the completion of a maximum 60,000 word thesis at the doctoral level with a value of 240 points. Candidates must undertake approved and supervised research, and present the results lucidly in a thesis which:

  • critically investigates an approved topic of substance and significance; and
  • demonstrates expertise in the methods of research and scholarship; and
  • displays intellectual independence, and
  • makes a substantial original contribution to the subject area and is of publishable quality.

The coursework is also at the doctoral level, requiring supervised research projects in particular areas of specialisation that meet a similar criteria to the thesis.

Admission and selection criteria

To qualify to enrol for the SJD, a candidate must:

  • have qualified for the award of a bachelors degree with honours or a masters degree, and must have achieved at least second class honours (first division) or distinction, or
  • have qualified for the award of the degree of Master of Philosophy, or have passed qualifying papers at a satisfactory level, or
  • in exceptional circumstances have produced other evidence to the satisfaction of the Postgraduate Studies Committee that he or she has adequate skills and knowledge to proceed with the proposed research.

In order to proceed to Part II of the degree candidates must gain a minimum grade of Pass, confirmed by an external examiner in the Research Portfolio.