The IPLP SJD Program

The SJD offers candidates an intellectually challenging opportunity for academic specialization. Candidates for the SJD conduct research and produce original scholarship under the guidance of IPLP's internationally renowned faculty. Students must complete a full-time, two semester year in residency to complete a minimum of 24 credits.

Students in the program are required to successfully complete Federal Indian Law and International Peoples Rights or International Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples. Additionally, international students must complete Legal Analysis, Writing, and Research and Introduction to the U.S. legal System. After the year in residency, students have a maximum of three years to complete their research, writing, and oral defense. Specific details about the dissertation requirements can be found here.

SJD applicants must be JD graduates of an ABA approved law school in the United States, or possess the first law degree from a foreign law school approved by the government or other accredited authority in the nation in which it is located. A completed LLM or foreign equivalent is also required. Applicants for whom English is not their first language must demonstrate fluency in English (TOEFL 100iBT; IELTS 7.5 with no subsection under 7.0). Additional information about TOEFL is available at

Applying for the SJD
The SJD application is available online directly on our website here. After you create an account make sure to select the Indigenous Peoples Law & Policy (IPLP) Program as the program you are applying to.

Please reach out to IPLP at to ensure we received your application.

Application Deadlines

Fall application: For students starting in the fall semester, applications open October 25.

Fall application closes May 15 for international applicants or July 15 for domestic students.

Spring application: For students starting in the spring semester, applications open September 1.

Spring application closes November 1.

Required Documents for Application

2 letters of recommendation: At least one letter of recommendation should be from a faculty member at the institution awarding the first law degree. If not, please explain why this is not available in the appropriate departmental question on the application. Applicants who hold an LLM degree must submit at least one recommendation from an instructor at the institution that granted their LLM degree. The strongest recommendations are substantive and detail the applicant's analytical abilities and writing skills. It is worth making a significant effort to communicate with your recommenders regarding the need for detail.

1-2 page personal statement: The personal statement is both a writing sample and an opportunity to discuss your unique characteristics and personal qualities, including educational and work experiences, talents and special interests, socioeconomic background, involvement in community affairs and public service, or any events or circumstances that have helped shape your life or given it direction. It should not exceed three double-spaced pages in length. If you are seeking financial assistance, please include in your personal statement an explanation of any information you would like the Admissions Committee to consider in making financial awards.

5-6 page research proposal: Your research proposal should provide an overview of your proposed dissertation topic and its relevance to promoting IPLP's research priorities related to the advancement of indigenous self-determination.

Resume or curriculum vitae: The resume should summarize your education, work experience, any publications, and other relevant credentials and accomplishments.

Official transcripts from all post-secondary educational institutions: Transcripts for your first law degree and any other graduate degrees must be submitted.

Information for International Applicants
International applicants are responsible for ensuring they meet the requisite student visa requirements and regulations for their entry into the United States. The requirements vary depending on the country of residence and citizen. It will include proof of financial capacity for the future student and, if applicable, their dependents. Information related to the financial capacity can be found here

Proof of English proficiency for international students: TOEFL or IETLS Report Proof of English proficiency is one of the conditions for admission for all applicants whose native language is not English, and who do not qualify for a waiver. A minimum TOEFL score of 100 IBT or higher is expected. Alternatively, we will accept an overall IELTS score of 7.5 score and no subsection less than 7.0.

Applicants who intend to practice law should be aware that bar admission in all U.S. states involves consideration of a bar applicant's character and moral fitness for the practice of law. Applicants should acquaint themselves with the bar admission requirements of the states in which they intend to practice. The American Bar Association offers various resources on bar admission, see:

Students on non-immigrant visas are required by the University of Arizona to carry student accident and illness insurance coverage for each term of enrollment. The cost of the insurance is included in the amount of the financial guarantee and is incorporated into your semester fees automatically upon registration. This insurance requirement is mandatory. Additional information about insurance is available here


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