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The 10 Best Online Doctor of Law/Judicial Science (J.S.D.) Degrees

Written by College Cliffs Team At CollegeCliffs.com, our team, comprising seasoned educators and counselors, is committed to supporting students on their journey through graduate studies. Our advisors, holding advanced degrees in diverse fields, provide tailored guidance, current program details, and pragmatic tips on navigating application procedures.

Reviewed by Linda Weems I got started researching colleges and universities about 10 years ago while exploring a second career. While my second career ended up being exactly what I’m doing now, and I didn’t end up going to college, I try to put myself in your shoes every step of the way as I build out College Cliffs as a user-friendly resource for prospective students.

Updated: January 31, 2024, Reading time: 13 minutes

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Lawyers play huge roles in modern society, and as such this profession is well-regarded. A law degree is a huge milestone in anyone’s career. It is also not something you jump straight into after high school. People invest significant resources and finances before they even get to start on a law degree.

Others might already be caught up in a steady career by the time they decide to pursue law and they end up not having the time to spend, or they may not want to move to a new city even if they can pass admissions into their choice university.

A Doctor of Law or Judicial Science degree program is designed for individuals seeking the highest level of education in the legal field. This rigorous program provides students with advanced knowledge and skills to become expert practitioners, scholars, and leaders in the complex and evolving world of law and justice.

This is why taking the online option is attractive for many, and some universities are starting to answer this need.

Quick audio summary:

The Lowdown 
Unlike other disciplines, Law has had a relatively smaller population of practitioners. Proportionally there are fewer law schools and even fewer still who offer an online equivalent of their on-campus Juris Doctor programs, the most advanced law degree. Online programs typically take three to four years to finish.

If you want to explore other law-related academics, many universities also offer Master in Legal Studies/Master of Laws/Juris Master programs, with some of these designed for non-lawyers. Others opt to earn the online Doctor of Law/Judicial Science or the Doctor of Juridical Science.

College Cliffs is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Methodology

To determine the best law school offering an online JD, you don’t only need to check the minimum admission requirements; you also have to ensure that the law school is accredited before you enroll.

Our list of the best online Doctor of Law/Judicial Science JD mentions the factors that should be considered in your decision to pursue this program. Each doctoral program on our list has these outstanding features:

Please visit our Methodology page for an overview of our online doctorate program selection process.


10 Online Doctor of Law/Judicial Science Degree Programs

University of Dayton

University of Dayton - School of Law
Hybrid Juris Doctor

The University of Dayton’s Hybrid JD is a highly-regarded program that has one of the highest bar passage rates in Ohio.

The University of Dayton is ABA-Accredited.

What’s Unique about the University of Dayton’s Hybrid JD Program:

All online hybrid JD applicants are automatically considered for eligibility for Merit-Based Scholarships and Legal Opportunity Award scholarships.


St. Mary’s University

St. Mary’s University - School of Law
Online Juris Doctor

St. Mary’s University, an ABA-accredited school, offers its just-launched online Juris Doctor under its School of Law and starts in the Fall semester.

What’s unique about St. Mary’s University’s Online JD Program:

The program contains a wide range of courses you can choose from that deal with State, National, and International Law.

St. Mary’s is the first fully online JD Program accredited by the ABA.


Trinity International University, Trinity Law School

Trinity International University - Trinity Law School
Online Juris Doctor

Trinity offers an online JD that has a Christian service-oriented dimension. The program can be completed online, on-campus, or in a hybrid format.

What’s Unique about the Trinity Law School’s Online JD Program:

Trinity’s On Course is its exclusive program aimed at Bar Exam preparation and starts on a student’s first day of classes.

Being a Christian Law School, Trinity’s curriculum offers an added spiritual/biblical perspective to legal practice.


Liberty University

Liberty University - Online
Doctor of Law of Policy

While this degree does not lead to you a Juris Doctor degree, Liberty University’s Doctor of Law and Policy is a related advanced degree that is nevertheless worth exploring. It is offered under the university’s School of Law.

What’s Unique about Liberty University’s Online Doctor of Law and Policy Program:

The program features an in-depth education of law and its connection to public policy. It is an extension of legal practice and is ideal for people who currently work in law/public policy-related fields. 


Syracuse University

Syracuse University
Hybrid Juris Doctor (JDinteractive)

Syracuse University College of Law offers its Juris Doctor in a mostly-online format and is taught by world-class faculty.

What’s Unique about Syracuse University’s Hybrid JD Program:

Students have the unique option of taking an Online Joint JD/MBA degree, offered together with Syracuse’s Whitman School of Management.


Abraham Lincoln University

Abraham Lincoln University
Online Juris Doctor

Established in 1996, Abraham Lincoln University offers one of the oldest online law schools in CA and nationwide, with affordable tuition rates.

What’s unique about Abraham Lincoln University’s Online JD Program:

ALU has low tuition rates of $10,100 per year, lower than most ABA-approved law schools.


The Colleges of Law

The Colleges of Law
Hybrid Juris Doctor

The Colleges of Law offers a hybrid JD program that emphasizes access and aims for better representation of our societies’ diverse communities and clients.

What’s Unique about The Colleges of Law’s Hybrid JD Program:

The Colleges of Law has very affordable tuition rates for its online JD, and active duty military servicemen, their dependents, and veterans can get an additional reduction.


Purdue University, Concord Law School

Purdue University - Concord Law School
Online Juris Doctor

Purdue offers the first fully online JD through its Los Angeles-based Concord Law School and contains a wide range of elective courses.

What’s unique about Purdue University, Concord Law School Online JD Program:

Purdue Concord Law School is accredited by the Committee of Bar Examiners, State Bar of California. Graduates can sit for the California State Bar Exam.


University of New Hampshire

University of New Hampshire - Franklin Pierce School of Law
Hybrid Juris Doctor (JD)

What’s Unique about the UNH Hybrid JD Program:

The UNH Pierce is a powerhouse in IP Legal Education. The program is the only ABA-approved Hybrid JD with a focus on Intellectual Property, Technology, and Information Law.


Vermont Law & Graduate School

Vermont Law and Graduate School
Online Hybrid JD

Vermont Law offers a hybrid JD that has a unique set of specialization areas related to environmental law and is one of the country’s best environmental law institutions.

What’s Unique about VLS’s Hybrid JD Program:

Vermont has the country’s most comprehensive environmental law program, in addition to its groundbreaking programs on food & agriculture law, energy law, and restorative justice.

Online Doctor of Law - fact

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there prerequisites prior to Law school admission?

A basic requirement is a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. An LSAT or GRE score may also be required for admission, but universities vary on the specifics. While for some they might not be required, there are strongly encouraged.

How long does it take to complete a Juris Doctor degree?

Including the core courses and elective courses offered along with the final capstone requirements, Juris Doctor programs typically take around 3 to 4 years to complete.

What can you expect in a Doctor of Law degree?

The Doctor of Law degree often involves understanding U.S. law and legal procedure. This knowledge can help you prepare to pursue independent research of cases, argue on behalf of clients, and prosecute or defend lawsuits.

It is also an excellent foundation for taking the state bar exam. In law school, you will often need to hone your oral examination and oral defense skills as these are integral to your future practice.

Unlike Juridical Sciences, considered the most advanced law degree, the Doctor of Law degree is not a research doctorate. Students are not required to submit a research proposal or pass a dissertation.

How much will students pay to attend Law school?

Tuition rates vary between universities, but online/hybrid degrees range from at least $700-$1500 per credit hour, and degree programs typically range between 80-over 100 credit hours. For hybrid degrees with a number of required on-campus visits, travel costs also have to be taken into account.

It depends on the university and individual student eligibility, but universities typically offer financial aid and legal scholarship options, and some have further discounts for certain categories of students, such as members of the armed forces.

How do Doctor of Law and Doctor of Judicial Science programs differ?

The main difference between a Doctor of Law (J.D.) and a Doctor of Judicial Science (S.J.D. or J.S.D.) program is the focus and purpose of each degree.

A J.D. program is a professional degree that prepares students for legal practice. It typically takes three years to complete and covers a broad range of legal subjects, including contracts, torts, criminal law, and constitutional law. J.D. programs focus on developing practical legal skills, such as legal research, writing, and advocacy, and preparing students to pass the bar exam to become a licensed attorney.

On the other hand, an S.J.D. or J.S.D. program is an advanced research degree that allows students to specialize in a specific area of law and conduct original research in that area. It usually takes 2-3 years to complete and requires students to have already earned a J.D. or equivalent law degree. S.J.D. and J.S.D. programs are often pursued by individuals who want to become law professors or legal scholars, or those seeking careers in international law and policy.

While both J.D. and S.J.D./J.S.D. programs may involve coursework, the focus and expectations for each degree are different. J.D. programs are more practical


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