The doctoral degree consists of eight components:
- Course work in law
- Course work in anthropology and political science
- Course work in a culture area
- A mastery of the core scholarship in the field
- A language requirement
- Fieldwork overseas
- An internship at the Center for Constitutional Democracy as a student affiliate
- A doctoral dissertation with a focus on a new or struggling democracy or on a pro-democracy movement in a non-democratic country.
Students will complete 90 hours of graduate credit, including 69 hours of course credit and 21 hours of dissertation credit. Courses taken as part of a master's program may count toward satisfaction of up to 30 credits of the Ph.D. program’s requirements with approval of the student’s advisor. Students may enter the doctoral program directly or after earning a masters degree or completing one year in a J.D. program.
Advisory Committee: Upon matriculation, each student will be assigned a primary faculty advisor. This advisor, along with the directors of the Center, will form the advisory committee for that student. While it is expected that most students in the program will fulfill the requirements below, any specific requirement may be waived or modified for a particular student by that student’s advisory committee with the approval of the director of Graduate Legal Studies.
Course Requirements: The following course work requirements are designed to expose the student to the fields of law, anthropology, political science, and area studies. Additionally, students will take directed graduate research credits as they are working on their dissertation. In the future, the degree committee may designate particular courses as required, but at the present time each student may choose the courses to satisfy the distribution requirements below in consultation with the student’s faculty advisor.
- Law (30 hours minimum). Students must take 30 credit hours of courses in the Law School curriculum related to constitutionalism and democracy. They will work with their advisors to develop a course package that provides both a broad grounding in these areas and a focus on particular legal issues of interest to the student.
- Anthropology and political science (21 hours minimum). Students must take a minimum of fifteen hours of course work in one of these two fields, and at least six hours in each, to total twenty-one hours minimum. One course must be on the subject of research methodologies.
- Area studies (15 hours minimum). Students must take at least fifteen hours of course work related to his or her geographical area of study. At least one course must concern the history of the region the student will study. Fifteen hours of course work in anthropology, political science, or area studies shall satisfy the requirements of the candidate’s academic advisory committee for designation as a minor.
- Capstone/dissertation course (3 hours). Students will take this required course upon completion of all other course requirements immediately before beginning work on their dissertations. Readings and discussion will review the latest literature on law and democracy, and students will discuss their dissertation plans.
- Directed graduate research credit (21 hours)
Core scholarship readings: Students will receive a list of the developing canon of articles and books on democracy and the rule of law. The student must work with his or her advisor to make sure these readings are either covered in class or read separately. In some instances some articles or books may be deleted or substituted, depending on the particular research interests of the student.
Language requirement: Students must demonstrate intermediate proficiency, both oral and written, in a language of the region of their area of study, either through course work or language proficiency exams. This requirement may be waived if the student is from the region that he or she is studying.
Fieldwork: Students will generally conduct fieldwork overseas for a minimum of three months. The fieldwork will usually occur after they have completed their coursework, preferably during the summer. Students may choose to return to their fieldwork site for further research. In some cases, the Center may be able provide students with overseas contacts; in other cases, it will help students to develop their own contacts. Center personnel will also assist students in finding funding sources for their fieldwork.
Internship: Students will participate as graduate fellows in the Center for Constitutional Democracy for at least two years. All internships will involve leading a research team of JD Affiliates, and, when applicable, supporting the Center’s foreign partners in their efforts to promote democracy and the rule of law. The time commitment for graduate fellows is approximately four hours per week (and in some cases it may be more).
The Center’s work is unique in its emphasis on helping foreign reformers in the way that a lawyer serves clients. First, the Center provides consultation to reformers over the course of many years, building relationships rooted in trust and a shared history. Second, the Center works only at the invitation of clients abroad, and our commitment is to them, rather than to an international body or NGO. Third, the Center seeks to help its clients to determine their own best interests rather than to promote a certain set of ideas about reform. While a lawyer can and should influence a client’s perceptions of his own best interests, the ultimate goal is to serve the client, not an ideology or a theory. Finally, the Center is composed of academic lawyers, who bring the ideas and resources of the academy directly into the field. The opportunity to engage in this work is a unique and central feature of the program, and a primary goal of the program is to train students to perform this sort of work, not only through book learning but through doing it.
Qualifying examination: In order to be nominated to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree, the student must have grades reported for all required courses and must pass a qualifying examination. Students are usually expected to complete necessary coursework and take the qualifying examination within three years of residence. The aim and scope of the qualifying exam are to test a student’s mastery of the discipline in relation to his or her dissertation research. The format of the exam shall be decided by the dissertation committee in consultation with the student from among the following options: (1) a take-home exam, or (2) a proctored in camera exam, or (3) an exam combining elements of these two.
Doctoral dissertation and defense: The dissertation will be the result of fieldwork and library research. The topic and general outline of the proposed dissertation must be approved by the candidate’s dissertation committee. Students shall keep the committee chair apprised of expected dates of completion of partial or full drafts.
- Fulfilling this requirement
- Select a dissertation committee during the second year of course work consisting of three faculty members. The chair of the committee must be a faculty member affiliated with the Center. The chair of the student’s dissertation committee will submit a report each subsequent semester noting the student’s progress towards the degree. The student will present and defend his or her dissertation topic to this committee during the last semester of course work.
- Write and submit a dissertation, read and approved by all members of the dissertation committee, which must:
- Be a minimum length of 200 pages.
- Follow MLA or Chicago Manual of Style regarding all style and formatting issues.
- Focus on a new or struggling democracy or on a pro-democracy movement in a non-democratic country.
- Demonstrate an understanding of the culture area they have chosen within the doctoral program, even if the thesis is comparative in approach.
- Be defended orally by the student before the committee.
- Annual review.
- Students will be reviewed near the end of every academic year by their advisors.
- Expected progress to Ph.D. degree.
- Each student must submit a dissertation no later than six years after the beginning of graduate study. Postponements may be approved by the committee chair. Failure to submit a dissertation by the end of the seventh year will result in academic probation and will require revalidation of expired coursework, as described in the Graduate Bulletin.
- The student will generally be required to be resident at the School of Law for at least three academic years after they have enrolled in the program. This requirement may be waived under extraordinary circumstances.
How to apply
In order to begin your coursework in the Fall semester, your application should be submitted by January 15. Apply via the Law School's application portal: https://graduate.iu.edu/apply/index.html