J.D. Program

Graduate and Special Degree Programs

Tuition, Expenses, and Financial Aid

Career Options Assistance Program: Loan deferral and forgiveness program

Where to Write or Call for Admission Applications and Information

One hundred and sixteen years after President Woolsey wrote those comments, U.S. News and World Report called Yale Law School a place "where diversity of ideas is embraced but not imposed."

The law school indeed developed the broad-based and deep-reaching legal education of which President Woolsey dreamed. Today the school offers that education not just to men; women have been admitted since early in the century, and now almost half our students are women. It continues its long tradition of offering that education to individuals from diverse backgrounds and kinds of training. Yale Law School graduated its first black student in 1880. Of students enrolled in 1995­96, 33 percent were minority students.

We have a unique faculty:student ratio--better than 1:10--and, in addition, a wealth of guest lecturers each year. Though there are a few large courses, class size for most courses is under 20. Our faculty is known for its interdisciplinary interests and training. As a result, while Yale law students study classic Anglo-American jurisprudence thoroughly and rigorously, they can also explore "the foundations of justice" through authors from Plato to Carol Gilligan, "the doctrine of government" in contexts from the transition to democracy in Argentina and Chile to the provision of shelter for the homeless in Connecticut, and other "branches of knowledge" far beyond those envisioned by President Woolsey. Economics, music, sports, psychiatry, literature, film, and religion are a few of the subject areas reflected in our current course listings.

But Yale Law students are not content to absorb what the faculty offers, wide as those offerings may range. Every year, students initiate courses, independent reading and writing projects, and intensive semester projects in their areas of special interest. Academic credit is also available for work in many student-run organizations, including six law journals, moot court and barristers' union, and several public interest law projects.

J.D. Program
During their first term at Yale Law School, students are assigned to a "small group" of about 17 students, which serves as a legal writing seminar in one of the four required first-term courses-- Constitutional Law, Contracts, Procedure, and Torts. All four courses are graded credit/fail.

Otherwise, specific requirements are minimal: a course in Criminal Law and Administration, two significant writing projects, and participation in a reading group devoted to the main problems of legal ethics and the current state of the American legal profession.

Options within the course of study include work in the law school's clinical program; courses outside the law school; and joint degree programs with other schools in Yale University, such as the School of Management and the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Students may construct programs concentrating in fields ranging from law and economics to legal history.

Graduate and Special Degree Programs
The law school admits a limited number of graduate students each year to pursue studies in law beyond the first professional degree. Admission to the Masters of Law (LL.M.) program is generally open only to those committed to law teaching as a career.

The one-year LL.M. program of study consists of at least 18 units of regular course work in the law school and up to 6 units of independent research and writing under the supervision of a law school faculty member. The opportunity also exists for some course work toward the degree in other schools in the university.

The J.S.D. program is open only to LL.M. graduates of the Yale Law School. Students who have earned an LL.M. degree from another institution are admitted rarely and only under extraordinary circumstances. To qualify for the J.S.D. degree, a candidate once admitted must submit a thesis that is a substantial contribution to legal scholarship. At least two terms of work must be done in residence at the School--this requirement may be satisfied by residence as an LL.M. candidate--and at least one additional year, not necessarily in residence, must be devoted to the preparation and revision of the thesis.

The Law School has established a degree program for a small number of nonlawyers who want to obtain a basic familiarity with legal thought and to explore the relation of law to their disciplines. Candidates in the Master of Studies in Law (M.S.L.) program are ordinarily experienced scholars with research or teaching objectives in mind. It is a one-year terminal program designed for those who do not desire a professional law degree.

The Fellowships in Law for Journalists within the M.S.L. program offer journalists the chance to step back from the press of deadlines and learn about the law in depth. Fellows follow the first-year law curriculum, taking basic required courses in the fall term and electives in the spring. Upon successful completion of the program, fellows receive the degree of Master of Studies in Law.

For the last several years, the fellowships have included stipends to cover living expenses, under a grant from the Knight Foundation. In addition, Yale Law School provides full-tuition grants to fellows, provided they return to journalism after completing the program. Applications for 1997­98 are due by January 10, 1997.

Each year the law school has in residence a few Visiting Scholars engaged in nondegree research. Visiting Scholars may audit one or two courses per term (with the consent of individual instructors) and make use of library facilities for their work. There are no set requirements for admission; most Visiting Scholars are college and university teachers from law and other disciplines who are engaged in law-related work, but applications will be considered from any person with outstanding qualifications.

Tuition, Expenses, and Financial Aid
The J.D., LL.M., and M.S.L., degrees: Tuition and mandatory fees for 1996­97 come to $22,692. We estimate that a single student needs a total of $33,508 to meet education and living expenses for this academic year and that a married couple without children needs $37,822. To prevent these costs from deterring enrollment at Yale, the law school awards financial aid solely on the basis of need, and admission decisions are made before and independently of financial aid decisions. Approximately 74 percent of the student body now receives financial assistance in the form of loans or grants. Typically, the greater the student's financial need, the larger the proportion of grant assistance. The COAP program (see below) should also help allay the concerns of those who wish to pursue low-paying careers but must rely on loans to cover their law school education.

The J.S.D. degree: Tuition for resident J.S.D. candidates for 1996-97 is $3,812 per term. Nonresident J.S.D. candidates are also charged a $50 fee per term to be maintained on law school records. A fee of $100 is also charged for each J.S.D. dissertation approved by the faculty. These fees will be billed by the university bursar's office.

Visiting Scholars: Each Visiting Scholar is charged a minimum accommodation fee of $3,363 per term. No financial aid from the Law School is available for scholars in this program.

All law school students (including visiting scholars) are also charged a dining hall assessment. For the 1996­97 academic year, the nonresident fee is $580.

The Career Options Assistance Program
Yale Law School has long encouraged its graduates to consider the broad spectrum of careers available to them. In 1988, it established the Career Options Assistance Program--the most generous postgraduation financial assistance program in the country--to mitigate the influence of educational debts on the career choices of its graduates. COAP is made possible through an endowment established by the Jones family of Louisville, Kentucky, in honor of David A. Jones, J.D. 1960, founder and chief executive of Humana Inc. COAP also receives generous funding from the estates of Hans Klagsbrunn, LL.B. 1932, and his wife Dr. Elizabeth Ramsey, a graduate of the Yale School of Medicine.

COAP provides grants to cover the shortfall between graduates' educational loan payments and what graduates can afford to pay from relatively modest incomes. Eligibility is based upon compensation levels, not type of employment. Participants are likely to work in such areas as local, state, and federal government; private not-for-profit public interest law practices; low-wage private law practices serving underrepresented constituencies; nonlegal not-for-profit organizations serving the public interest; and academia. (COAP assistance is available to judicial clerks in the form of loans rather than grants.) Eligibility does not depend on the political or ideological orientation of the graduate, employer, or work.

For participants with incomes under $35,300, the Law School assumes repayment of the entire annual obligation (calculated on the basis of a ten-year payback period) for qualified educational loans. Additional payments are made to compensate for the tax liability that COAP recipients bear under current law. Those with incomes over $35,300 are expected to contribute 25 percent of their income in excess of that amount toward repayment. Gross income is adjusted with regard to spouses, dependents, and assets, and provisions are made for parental leave and for part-time work.

Where to Write or Call for Admission Applications or Information
If you are interested in applying to the J.D. program at Yale Law School, please contact the Office of Admissions, Yale Law School, P.O. Box 208329, New Haven, Connecticut 06520-8329; telephone 203 432-4995; e-mail admissions@mail.law.yale.edu;.

If you are interested in applying to any of the Graduate or Special Degree programs at Yale Law School, please write the Graduate Programs Office, Yale Law School, P.O. Box 208215, New Haven, Connecticut 06520-8215; telephone 203 432-1696; e-mail couture@mail.law.yale.edu;. Please be sure to include a mailing address when requesting admission information.

More detailed information about Yale Law School programs is available in the Bulletin.

If you are interested in applying to law school, in general, please visit the home page of the Law School Admission Council (www.lsac.org), providers of the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT).

Yale Law School

Comments and questions: webmaster@mail.law.yale.edu