SJD in Health Law

two law students studying outside with a laptop, with other students in background

Doctor of Juridical Science: SJD in Health Law

Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) School of Law invites applications for its Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) in Health Law degree. This is the most advanced law degree in the health field.

The program enables students to work with CWRU’s distinguished faculty members on writing a substantial piece of health law scholarship of publishable quality. Classes are available from among the law school’s and the university’s many offerings.


The health law SJD program is designed for applicants with a J.D. degree from a law school in the United States or another English-speaking common law country (e.g. Canada or Australia). It may also be appropriate for other students with a foreign law degree plus an LLM from the United States or another English-speaking common law country. Such individuals must have strong English language skills and be able to produce a compelling health law thesis proposal at the application stage. In the alternative, foreign students may choose our SJD program for foreign students and specialize in the health law field. Further information about this program is available on the SJD program webpage. The health law faculty is happy to work with applicants to determine which program best fits their needs. The faculty will also work with individuals who do not have an LL.M. degree to determine whether they should enroll in an LLM program before commencing their SJD work.

Scholarship support is available.

Degree Requirements

Each Health Law SJD student pursues a program of study that is tailored specifically to his or her background and academic interests. Candidates may be required by their advisors to take or audit courses and participate in seminars and discussions that will further their understanding of the health law field and their dissertation topic. Residency requirements are tailored to students’ individual circumstances.

Ordinarily, completion of the SJD degree takes 2-4 years. Candidates must conduct rigorous research and produce an original dissertation that will contribute significantly to legal scholarship and further understanding of the law. The completed dissertation must be of publishable quality. This process begins at the application stage when candidates submit a detailed thesis proposal of up to 5,000 words.

Application Process

To be considered as an applicant for the SJD program in Health Law, a candidate must submit by April 1st:

  • Completed, printed application form.
  • Fifty dollar application fee made out to "Case Western Reserve University."
  • Personal statement.
  • Two letters of recommendation. Recommendation letters may be enclosed with the application form in sealed and signed envelopes or mailed separately by the recommenders.
  • An official copy of transcripts from all post-secondary educational institutions with notarized translations into English where applicable; the transcripts may be included in sealed envelopes or mailed directly from the institutions.
  • Thesis proposal of up to 5000 words explaining why your topic merits the type and depth of research that will result in the production of a monograph-length thesis. Focus on the existing unresolved legal issues. Include a review of the existing literature on your topic, a bibliography of the literature that you have consulted, and an explanation of how your thesis will contribute substantially to the existing literature. The proposal must present a convincing case that the topic presents a current, unresolved issue worthy of an SJD thesis in health law and that the applicant has the potential to produce a work of publishable quality.
  • We expect you to engage in a thorough review of literature concerning your topic in preparation for your thesis, which will result in a complete bibliography of the literature in the applicable field.

Additional Requirements for Foreign students

  • An official TOEFL or IELTS score required of all applicants whose native language is not English. Our TOEFL institutional code is 1105, dept. 03. Copy of same may be included in the initial application packet with an indication that the original score has been requested by the applicant.
  • Affidavit of financial support required for visa documents.
  • Candidates must have at least a foreign university-level degree in law, and LL.M. degree and a TOEFL of 100 or IELTS of 6.5. In the case of multiple TOEFL scores, we will rely on the most recent score.


Admission decisions are made starting April 1. Admissions decisions will be made by a committee consisting of the Dean of the Law School and the faculty of the Law-Medicine Center. A member of the faculty will agree to serve as the candidate's thesis advisor. The Dean and the thesis advisor will appoint a thesis committee for the candidate.

Admitted students will be required to submit a nonrefundable deposit of $500 by May 15th in order to secure their position in the class. The deposit is deductible from the first semester's tuition.

Send your completed application to:

Professor Sharona Hoffman
Case Western Reserve University School of Law
11075 East Boulevard, Room 227
Cleveland, Ohio 44106-7148 U.S.A.
Phone: 216.368.3860