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Yale Launches New Law PhD Program Aimed at Those with JD Degrees Who Want to Teach

Posted Jul 11, 2012 2:36 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Amidst a competitive market for those entering legal academia and an expectation that even entry-level law professors will have significant scholarly credentials, Yale Law School has announced a new PhD degree program.

Geared toward those who have already earned a juris doctor degree from an American law school and want to work as a law professor, the new program is billed as the first of its kind in the U.S. in a law school press release Wednesday. It points out that Yale, despite a relatively small student body, educated about 10 percent of the country's law professors, including eight of the deans at what many consider the nation's top 10 law schools.

“In the past few decades, legal scholarship has matured as an academic discipline,” says Dean Robert Post in the release. “Because the level of the scholarship expected of entry-level law professors has risen quite dramatically, increasing numbers of law professors now pursue PhDs in allied disciplines like economics, history, philosophy, or political science. Because such disciplines train students in standards and questions that are different from those of the law, the natural next step for the legal academy is to create our own PhD program that can focus on the questions and practices of the law itself. Students obtaining a PhD in law may, of course, engage in interdisciplinary studies, but their work will be anchored in the framework of legal scholarship.”

The law PhD program will begin accepting applications in the fall of 2012 and start enrolling students in the fall of 2013. Students will be eligible for a tuition waiver and a living expenses stipend.

Additional and related coverage:

ABA Journal: "The High Bench vs. the Ivory Tower"

National Law Journal: "Yale launches PhD in Law to train aspiring professors"

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