Guidelines for Satisfactory Progress
- During the first year in residence, a student must take an active part in one required course, the Cornell Graduate Colloquium, in which a presentation on research in progress will be made. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
- By the third semester J.S.D. students must select a full Special Committee composed of one field faculty member representing the major interest in your research and at least two other field faculty as minor members. Minor members may represent fields other than law.
- Throughout the program Special Committee members advise on the research problems for the dissertation.
- Each semester students should meet with their Special Committee and the GFA for academic and administrative review.
- By the end of the third semester students must pass the Prospectus; an oral exam reviewing the student’s mastery of subject matter related to his/her dissertation topic and the course work taken (if applicable). Students should pass the Prospectus by the end of their second semester, but no later than the end of their third semester to be admitted to candidacy for the degree.
- By the end of the third year, students must submit an acceptable dissertation based on a research project.
- At least six weeks before the final exam (B Examination), a complete draft dissertation must be submitted to the Committee Chair for feedback. (Your Committee Chair may direct you to submit your draft to other members of the Special Committee in his/her discretion.)
- At least five days before the exam, you must provide all Special Committee members with a complete, formatted, and editorially acceptable copy of the dissertation for final approval. (Your examining committee may still require modifications.) Final Examinations may not proceed until this requirement has been met. Examinations will be cancelled and rescheduled as needed.
- After dissertation review, students must pass the B Examination (final examination) which covers the subject of the dissertation.
- Students must fulfill a minimum of four 4 registration units (semesters). It is recommended that at least two 2 units (semesters) take place between the Prospectus and the B exam (dissertation defense).
- Most students complete J.S.D. requirements in three years. Except in unusual circumstance and upon approval of the chair and Special committee members, a student should not extend their study beyond three years from the start of their program.
The Graduate School has no course requirements for obtaining an advanced degree. However, the Field requires that every J.S.D. student enroll in the Cornell Graduate Colloquium during the first year of residence. It is assumed that graduate students entering the Field of Law will have completed the equivalent of a J.D. and LL.M. and have already completed significant course work related to the Field.
Each student’s program is then developed with the advice and direction of their Special Committee. Specific courses may be required by the Committee and are usually suggested as a means to obtain essential training to save students from having to spend more time and effort in mastering the subject independently. Such suggested courses may be taught in other departments, in order to advance the breadth and depth of the student’s methodological training. Students should use their own judgment, along with the advice of the Committee, in deciding which courses will provide the best training for future needs.
Student Progress Review (SPR)
The Graduate School requires a Student Progress Review (SPR) once annually as a means to assess academic progress and facilitate regular communication between advisees and advisors. All J.S.D. students are required to complete a self-assessment form at the beginning of the spring semester unless on Leave of Absence. Completed forms are reviewed by the Special Committee Chair and submitted to the Graduate School.
- Candidate schedules meeting with Special Committee Chair.
- Candidate completes and submits SPR at least seven days prior to scheduled meeting with Special Committee Chair. Completed reviews are automatically sent to the Committee Chair.
- Candidate meets with Committee Chair to discuss research/degree progress.
- Special Committee Chair completes and submits final Student Progress Review form to the Graduate School.
Important Note: Deadline extensions are granted ONLY if Committee Chair is travelling, or otherwise unavailable to meet with candidate prior to the deadline. Extension requests should be submitted to the GFA via e-mail.
Examinations – Prospectus
The Prospectus must be held on the Ithaca campus, and all members of your committee must be present either physically or remotely, unless otherwise instructed by the Graduate School.
The Prospectus is a detailed and methodologically sophisticated statement of the proposed dissertation. It is typically 40-50 double-spaced pages in length.
The Prospectus defense for J.S.D. students is a comprehensive exam given by the student’s Special Committee to test his/her preparedness for writing the dissertation. It is designed to determine the student’s ability to continue research. Prospectus presentations typically are planned for one (1) hour, but timing is flexible. It is appropriate and useful to discuss examination expectations with your Committee members well in advance of the exam. Each exam is unique. Therefore, others’ experiences only represent what can happen, not what will happen.
In this Field, the Prospectus should be completed at the end of the first year/second semester, but no later than at the end of the third semester.
Prospectus scheduling requirements:
- At least two (2) weeks prior to the prospectus, the student must complete and deliver a Graduate Legal Studies J.S.D. Exam Scheduling Form to the GFA. Note: Students are responsible for confirming the availability of committee members before scheduling the prospectus.
- The student’s Committee Chair must email the GFA to inform the Graduate Legal Studies office of successful completion of the prospectus as soon as possible, but no more than three (3) business days after the prospectus.
Examinations – B Examination (Dissertation Defense)
The B Examination (Dissertation Defense) must be held on the Ithaca campus, and all members of your committee must be present either physically or remotely, unless otherwise instructed by the Graduate School.
J.S.D. students should have earned at least 2 registration units (semesters) between the passing of the Prospectus and the scheduling of the B Examination. The Graduate School’s Thesis and Dissertation website has detailed instructions and procedures.
The B Examination is an oral exam which assesses the student’s research and dissertation. It is expected that at the start of the exam the student will give a brief 20-25 minute oral presentation on the main methods and results of the project to set the stage for the discussion and to demonstrate the ability to present their work. At least two (2) hours should be scheduled for the defense. Normally, changes are required in the dissertation after the exam and may take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to complete.
B Exam scheduling requirements:
- At least six (6) weeks prior to the end of the semester, a draft of the dissertation is due to the Committee Chair for feedback.
- At least two (2) weeks prior to the defense, the student must complete and return a Graduate Legal Studies J.S.D. Exam Scheduling Form to the GFA. Note: Students are responsible for confirming the availability of committee members before scheduling the B Examination.
- At least seven (7) days prior to the defense, the Graduate School’s online Schedule B Examination form must be completed. (DGS announces defense to the field faculty).
- At least five (5) days prior to dissertation defense, a final draft must be submitted to all members of the Special Committee.
- Immediately after the defense, the student must initiate the online B Examination Results After student initiation, the online exam results form is sent to the Chair for official recording of the exam results, then to Committee members for review and confirmation that the results reflect the consensus of the Special Committee, and then to the DGS to indicate that the graduate field accepts the results of the exam. Once the electronic review and approval process concludes, the completed form is routed to the GFA to review and acknowledge before the exam results are sent to the Graduate School.
- Within 60 days of successful pass result, the student must submit their final dissertation to the Graduate School. This is a two-step process:
- student obtains final committee approval (done through an online system), and
- student submits final thesis/dissertation through link sent by the Graduate School.
Please review the following link for more details on the deadlines and requirements for the dissertation: https://gradschool.cornell.edu/academic-progress/thesis-dissertation/
You must submit a complete draft to your Special Committee Chair at least six weeks before the B Exam; however, your Chair may direct you to submit your draft to other members of your Special Committee as well. At least five days before the exam, you must provide all members of your Special Committee with a complete, formatted, and editorially acceptable copy of the dissertation for final approval. Keep in mind that your committee may still require modifications. Final examinations may not proceed until this requirement has been met.
When you have finished your approved manuscript, the Graduate School requires all students to submit their final, approved thesis online using Cornell Doctoral ProQuest. This requires you to convert your document to PDF format. The approved digital document is automatically forwarded to a local printer. Any charges, including printing, will appear on your bursar bill. Please reference the Graduate School’s Submitting Your Thesis/Dissertation website for complete details.
Students in the Field of Law rarely serve as Teaching Assistants (TA), but some receive appointment as a Graduate Student Lecturer during their third and final year of study. Time management is essential to ensure a balance of time is devoted to both completing graduate research and teaching. If awarded with a full Graduate Research Assistantship (GRA) additional teaching duties may not exceed 8 hours a week in accordance with GRA employment limits.
Students are asked to keep the GFA informed of assistantships so accurate records may be kept.
Semi-Annual J.S.D. Review
Each semester J.S.D. students are strongly encouraged to present a brief oral summary of their research to the entire Graduate Law Field. Sharing research progress with faculty and other graduate students encourages the exchange of ideas and the possibility of modifying research directions. Students who have not started dissertation research may present a research plan. Students are encouraged to share their accomplishments, goals, frustrations, and projected completion dates.
Students presenting should submit a 250-word abstract in advance so that a report can be printed before the session. Abstracts should be sent in PDF format to the J.S.D. Association (JSDA) at least one week prior to the review. Reports are distributed to faculty and students at the review. Faculty may meet for a short time after the presentations to discuss each student’s progress. Reviews are scheduled by the JSDA.
Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Training
The Graduate School requires all incoming J.S.D. students to complete the online Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training through Cornell’s Office of Research Integrity and Assurance. Students can access the online RCR training through the Cornell Research Services website.
Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID) Requirements
Every graduate student pursuing a research degree (master’s or doctoral) at Cornell must have an ORCID ID prior to the end of their second registered semester. Students will be required to complete the ORCID registration process and grant permission to Cornell to add an “education” affiliation entry to their ORCID record. The process for students will be initiated by the Graduate School via email. A personalized link to Affiliation Manager, the tool the library is using for ORCID creation and will guide students through the process, will be included in the email.
Publishing Your Work
Students are encouraged to publish their research results in professional journals so their work can be widely disseminated. This is better accomplished if the dissertation is organized and written with this intent. Professional journal articles are a source of pride for the student, enhances career opportunities, and reflects well on the reputation of the Field. If you expect to publish part, or all, of your dissertation, you will be required to sign a License to Use Copyrighted Material form with the Thesis Advisor at the Graduate School.