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Our mission is to help the peoples of the world learn how law and religion can balance each other and ultimately stabilize society and politics.
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Degree Programs and Requirements

The Center for the Study of Law and Religion offers six degree programs for students interested in a close study of the field of law and religion.  Three of these are joint degree programs open to college graduates. Two are advanced law programs open to law school graduates, and one is a master-level program open to college graduates.  

Students in all six degree programs have an array of law and religion courses available to them.  Some of these courses are cross-listed, and can be taken for law, theology, or graduate school credit.  Some courses are offered in one school, and can be taken through cross-registration.

All law and religion students are welcomed into the CSLR community.  This provides ample opportunity to interact with law and religion faculty, to engage in social and academic events with other law and religion students, to participate in the CSLR’s public forms and research projects, and to be eligible for research fellowships and summer internships.

Law and religion graduates pursue a wide range of professional vocations.  Some practice law with large or small firms, with local, state, and federal governments, or with public interest groups in America and abroad.  Others pursue ordained ministry or work within the administration or polity of religious organizations.  Others associate with non-profit agencies, non-governmental organizations, and human rights or religious freedom advocacy groups.  Others work in prison fellowship organizations, social welfare ministries, mediation and arbitration centers, charitable organizations, or foundations.  Others pursue teaching careers in law schools, theology schools, colleges, and universities.  The choice of career depends as much upon a candidate’s own individual interests and talents as it does upon the job market.  All the degree programs provide flexibility for students to experiment with their interests and to tailor a program of study suited to their long term professional aspirations.

The Doctor of Law/Master of Theological Studies (JD/MTS) program is recommended for students interested in pursuing a career in law but who have deep interests in theology, ethics, social and political theory, or church life. It is also recommended for candidates aspiring to pursue academic careers in law or theology, including the later pursuit of an PhD. This is a four-year program of study, one year shorter than if the two degrees were pursued separately.

  • JD/MTS candidates must apply and be admitted to both the Law School and the Theology School.  JD applicants must take the LSAT; no standardized test is required for MTS applicants.
  • Students must apply for financial aid from both the Law School and the Theology School. All scholarships and financial aid packages are handled separately by each school, and are drawn only during the semesters in which the student is registered in that school. 
  • Students are encouraged to take their first full year of course work in the Law School.
  • JD/MTS candidates must complete the following requirements to graduate with their two degrees:
    • 79 credit hours (five semesters) of academic work in the Law School, and successful completion of all other requirements of traditional JD students.
    • 39 credit hours (three semesters) of academic work in the Theology School, and successful completion of all other requirements of traditional MTS students.

Doctor of Law/Master of Divinity (JD/MDiv) program combines academic and clinical/practical training in law and theology. This program is recommended for students interested in combining legal study with preparation for (ordained) ministry.  It is also recommended for students aspiring to work within the administrative structure or denominational polity of the church. This is a five-year program of study, one year shorter than if the two degrees were pursued separately. 

  • JD/MDiv candidates must apply and be admitted to both the Law School and the Theology School.  JD applicants must take the LSAT; no standardized test is required for MDiv applicants.
  • Students must apply for financial aid from both the Law School and the Theology School. All scholarships and financial aid packages are handled separately by each school, and are drawn only during the semesters in which the student is registered in that school. 
  • Students typically take their first full year of course work in one school, their second full year of course work in the other school.  They alternate between the schools for their remaining three years.
  • JD/MDiv candidates must complete the following requirements to graduate with their two degrees:
    • 79 credit hours (five semesters) of academic work in the Law School, and successful completion of all other requirements of traditional JD students.
    • 73 credit hours (five semesters) of academic work in the Theology School, and successful completion of all other requirements of traditional MDiv students.

The Doctor of Law/Doctor of Philosophy (JD/PhD) program is a highly concentrated study in law and religion, yielding a dissertation on a law and religion topic.  This program is recommended especially for students with ambitions to teach law and religion topics in law schools, theology schools, and research universities.  This is a five-year program of study, plus dissertation, one year shorter than if the two degrees were pursued separately. 

  • JD/PhD candidates must apply and be admitted to both the Law School and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, in the Graduate Division of Religion.  JD applicants must take the LSAT.  PhD applicants must take the GRE and have completed an MA or its equivalent.
  • Students must apply for financial aid from the Law School.  The Graduate School generally does not charge its admitted applicants tuition.  All scholarships and financial aid packages are handled separately by each school, and are drawn only during the semesters in which the student is registered in that school. 
  • Students typically take their first full year of course work in the Law School, their second full year of course work in the Graduate School.  They alternate between the schools for their remaining time.  
  • JD/PhD candidates must complete the following requirements to graduate with their two degrees:
    • 79 credit hours (five semesters) of academic work in the Law School, and successful completion of all other requirements of traditional JD students.
    • 36 credit hours (three semesters) of academic work in the Graduate School and successful completion of all other requirements of traditional PhD students. 
    • Passage of all PhD examinations and preparation and defense of a dissertation proposal – two steps which normally require two additional semesters of residency in the Graduate School.
    • Students are awarded their JD once they have successfully completed their PhD exams.

The Master of Laws (LLM) with Concentration in Law and Religion is open to American and foreign applicants who already hold a JD or LLB.  This is a one-year program recommended for students who wish to pursue advanced legal training in law and religion. LLM students concentrating in Law and Religion must complete the following degree requirements:

  • 2 semesters of residency at Emory Law School
  • 24 credit hours of course work:
    • at least 12 credit hours must be law and religion courses
    • students have the option of taking up to 6 additional credit hours to complete a major research paper written under an LLM supervisor
    • the balance of credit hours can be used to take law and religion courses, or any other JD or graduate level courses offered at Emory University approved by the LLM supervisor.

The Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) with Concentration in Law and Religion is open to American and foreign applicants who already hold both a JD and an LLM (or MA in Law).  This is typically a two to three-year program, yielding a dissertation on a law and religion topic. The SJD is recommended for students interested in teaching and conducting research in a law school setting. Students pursuing the SJD in Law and Religion must complete the following requirements to attain their degree:

  • 2 semesters of residency at Emory Law School
  • up to 12 credit hours of law and religion courses depending on the students’ academic background and interests
  • successful presentation and defense of a dissertation proposal
  • successful completion and defense of a dissertation on a law and religion topic

The Juris Master (JM) Concentration in Law and Religion is a one-year (full time) or up to four-year (part time) program for professionals in various fields interested in law and religion.