Core Requirements

During their first 2-3 years of study, JSP students undertake an ambitious program of seminars and related courses. It is during this time that students complete most of the Program’s pre-dissertation requirements and prepare their two fields of specialization.


  • JSP Orientation Seminar

  • 3 JSP “Foundation” Seminars

  • 2 Additional JSP Seminars

  • Statistics Course + Research Design (Methods) Course

  • 1 Law Doctrinal Course

Field Exams:

Students are required to pass examinations in two fields of specialization prior to taking qualifying exams. The form of the exam is either a 3-hour “in class” exam or a 24-hour “take home” exam.


  • Disciplinary Fields:
    • The Program offers five disciplinary fields of specialization: economics and law; history and law; philosophy and law; political science and law; sociology and law. Other fields can be custom prepared in consultation with faculty. The faculty whose primary teaching and training fall within a given discipline are responsible for determining the scope and content of the relevant disciplinary field. This standardly involves such matters as the topics and bibliography taken to be central to the particular field; methodologies and scholarly approaches adopted by scholars in the field; classic literatures and debates serving to help constitute the field.

  • Topical Fields:

    • Topical fields cover a more heterogeneous and individualized set of specializations. The expected features of a topical field are set out in this section, but the program does not produce a specific list of topical fields.

    • In many cases, a topical field will focus on a general topic (such as “dispute resolution” or “children and the law”) which is treated by various areas of the law and to which various policy objectives have been defined for the law. In other cases, a topical field will consider a well-established sub-discipline or area of academic specialization (such as “political theory” or “criminal justice”). Topical fields also can take the form of more conventional “field studies” (such as “law and society” in some geographic regions, or “law and society” in a particular cultural tradition).