The JD/PhD program consists of nine semesters of coursework, followed by the writing of the dissertation.
Students admitted to the JD/PhD program usually begin their studies at the School of Law. After two semesters of study at the Law School, the student then enrolls in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences to complete the MA degree, according to the requirements set by the GSAS department.
Upon receiving the MA degree, the student then completes his or her studies at the Law School. The student is granted advanced standing at the Law School for the conferred MA, reducing the time to complete the JD by one semester. (Note: Advanced standing is granted only to students who earn the MA at Columbia as part of the sequential MA, MPhil, PhD program; advanced standing will not be granted for a master's degree completed elsewhere or through a standalone Columbia MA program.)
Upon completion of the JD, the student then returns to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Once the JD is conferred, the student will receive two Residence Units (equivalent to two semesters) of advanced standing toward the MPhil degree requirements. The student then completes the requirements for the MPhil and PhD according to the departmental guidelines, which include the preparation and successful defense of a dissertation.
In certain cases, students may be permitted to vary the sequence of enrollment described above. This will only be granted with the prior approval of the respective advisors at the School of Law and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.