PhD in Law: Online and Campus-Based Programs

By earning a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Law, you'd be prepared to teach law at a college or university and conduct research. These programs are generally found only in campus-based formats and not online. Check the admission requirements and typical curriculum for a PhD in Law program. Schools offering Juris Doctor degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What PhD. in Law Degrees Can I Earn?

The graduate law degree you'll need in order to pursue a career as a lawyer is a Juris Doctor (JD). However, if your interest is in teaching and research, rather than practicing law, you can earn a PhD degree in law. You'll find these programs offered as a PhD in Criminology, Law and Society or in Public Law.

These programs are often interdisciplinary and allow you to focus on the law from many approaches, including anthropology, sociology and the criminal justice system. Occasionally, these programs are offered through a university's law school; in other cases, they are offered as concentrations within the graduate department of another field, such as sociology or history.

Degree OptionsPhD in Criminology, Law and Society; PhD in Public Law
Common CoursesPhilosophy of law, law in society, criminal justice system
Admission RequirementsMay include bachelor's degree, master's degree, recommendation letters, scholarly writing sample

What Will I Study?

Your required coursework will vary based upon the focus of your PhD program. However, many law-oriented PhD programs include the opportunity to study how the law functions in society. This may include the actual process of legal actions, conflict resolutions and the criminal justice system. You may also take coursework in the philosophy of law, the administration of law throughout the U.S. or the government's role in law creation.

Some programs provide you with the chance to gain experience in education through assistant teaching posts. You may also work as a research assistant for graduate faculty members. In addition to building your credentials for your career, these opportunities can be useful sources of income while you complete your PhD program. Most programs culminate with you researching, writing and defending a dissertation.

What Are the Admissions Requirements?

Since PhD programs in law are research and writing-intensive, you may need to submit evidence of your scholarly readiness for doctoral study. This may include the submission of an original writing sample in which you demonstrate your analytical proficiency. Alternatively, you may need to submit professional or academic letters of recommendation or complete an interview.

You'll need to possess a bachelor's degree, and some programs also require that you earn a master's degree either prior to starting doctoral study or as part of your doctoral studies. Most programs don't require a specific prior field of study.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Walden University

    Walden University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Walden University:

    • Doctoral

    Online Programs Available

  • Saint Leo University

    Saint Leo University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Saint Leo University:

    • Doctoral

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado Technical University

    Colorado Technical University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado Technical University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Northwestern University

    Campus Locations:

    • Illinois: Evanston
  • Indiana University

    Campus Locations:

    • Indiana: Bloomington
  • University of Washington

    Campus Locations:

    • Washington: Seattle
  • Yeshiva University

    Campus Locations:

    • New York: New York
  • Yale University

    Campus Locations:

    • Connecticut: New Haven
  • Harvard University

    Campus Locations:

    • Massachusetts: Cambridge
  • William Mitchell College of Law

    Campus Locations:

    • Minnesota: Saint Paul