What makes the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy (IPLP) Program at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law (Arizona Law) unique is its approach to legal education in the field of federal Indian law, tribal law and policy, and indigenous peoples human rights. Students are trained in the classroom and in real-world settings by faculty who are leaders both in their academic fields and as practitioners in tribal, national, and international forums.
For nearly three decades, Arizona Law has been a leader in the field of American Indian and indigenous peoples law, policy, and human rights. Arizona Law is the only law school in the world offering all three graduate degrees in the field (JD, LLM, and SJD), a Master of Legal Studies (MLS), and a Master of Professional Studies (MPS) with a concentration in indigenous peoples’ law and policy. Throughout the academic year IPLP offers robust course offerings and significant scholarship funding for qualified students.
The Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) degree at the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy (IPLP) Program offers candidates an intellectually challenging opportunity for academic specialization. Candidates for the SJD conduct research and produce original scholarship under the guidance of IPLP's internationally renowned faculty. SJD Students must complete a full-time, two semester year in residency to complete a minimum of 24 credits.
The SJD program trains students to be specialists through rigorous research and advocacy work. Graduate students receive professional training to address the complex issues facing indigenous peoples today, allowing them to develop a proficiency in fields like federal Indian law, indigenous peoples' human rights advocacy, environmental law, indigenous community and economic development, and the protection of cultural and natural resources. The superior learning experience provided by IPLP is reflected by the fact that we are the only program in the world with two of our SJD graduates currently serving on the two UN Bodies with the specific mandate to promote indigenous peoples' human rights within the UN system.
The SJD application is available online directly on our website here. After you create an account make sure to select the Indigenous Peoples Law & Policy (IPLP) Program as the program you are applying to.
Please reach out to IPLP at email@example.com to ensure we received your application.
Required Documents for Application
2 letters of recommendation:
At least one letter of recommendation should be from a faculty member at the institution awarding the first law degree. If not, please explain why this is not available in the appropriate departmental question on the application. Applicants who hold an LLM degree must submit at least one recommendation from an instructor at the institution that granted their LLM degree. The strongest recommendations are substantive and detail the applicant's analytical abilities and writing skills. It is worth making a significant effort to communicate with your recommenders regarding the need for detail.
1-2 page personal statement:
The personal statement is both a writing sample and an opportunity to discuss your unique characteristics and personal qualities, including educational and work experiences, talents and special interests, socioeconomic background, involvement in community affairs and public service, or any events or circumstances that have helped shape your life or given it direction.
If you are seeking financial assistance, please include in your personal statement an explanation of any information you would like the Admissions Committee to consider in making financial awards. IPLP awards merit-based scholarships on a rolling basis and has limited funding available. In order to receive a scholarship, early applications are strongly encouraged.
5-6 page research proposal:
Your research proposal should provide an overview of your proposed dissertation topic and its relevance to promoting IPLP's research priorities related to the advancement of indigenous self-determination.
Resume or curriculum vitae:
The resume should summarize your education, work experience, any publications, and other relevant credentials and accomplishments.
Official transcripts from all post-secondary educational institutions:
Transcripts for your first law degree and any other graduate degrees should be submitted through LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service. (Please note that LSAC charges fees for services through the Credential Assembly Service Report.)
Proof of English proficiency for international students (TOEFL or IETLS Report):
All non-native English speaker applicants must submit a TOEFL, IELTS, or seek a waiver as detailed below.
*Applicants who intend to practice law should be aware that bar admission in all U.S. states involves consideration of a bar applicant's character and moral fitness for the practice of law. Applicants should acquaint themselves with the bar admission requirements of the states in which they intend to practice. The American Bar Association offers various resources on bar admission, see: http://www.americanbar.org/groups/legal_education/resources/bar_admissions.html.
Arizona Law requires a high-level of English proficiency for all degree and non-degree seeking programs including the LLM programs. Arizona Law has a rigorous curriculum for all programs. Classes require a dynamic exchange between students, and with faculty. Therefore, a high-level of English proficiency is required to have a meaningful participation in and outside of the classroom as well as for students to succeed in law school.
In general, the target scores candidates should submit are a TOEFL score of approximately 100 iBT or IELTS overall score of 7.5. We also look at the breakdown of subsection scores for listening, speaking, writing and reading. Nonetheless, a lower score in one area or overall does not automatically preclude an applicant from consideration.
Applicants whose test score(s) falls below the targets set forth above, should highlight in the personal statement portion of their application any specific data, background, or other information that they feel might strengthen their application in this regard, such as time spent in English language environments, work done in English, English language publications, etc. It is also recommended that applicants with scores lower than those set forth above submit at least one recommendation that addresses, at least in part, their English language ability.
Applicants may also request a waiver review based on their studies in the U.S., a LSAT score of or above 155, and/or a GRE verbal reasoning score of 155 or higher. Arizona Law will also accept requests for waivers based on the current English proficiency exemptions for Graduate Students at the University of Arizona. Applicants requesting a waiver are required to submit a writing sample and to hold an interview in English.
The admissions committee reserves the right to request a writing sample, hold interviews or request additional information or documents to support English proficiency for all applicants.
Federal financial aid may be available for U.S. citizens. Some forms of aid are need-based and other are not based upon financial need. Applicants are encouraged to look at the College of Law financial aid page for information on tuition rates, financial aid, information on deadlines for applying for financial assistance, and information on how to apply for private non-governmental loans (https://law.arizona.edu/costs-financial-aid).
To assist students in obtaining financial aid, Keyshia Connor serves as Associate Director of Financial Aid/Scholarships for prospective and enrolled students at the College of Law. Ms. Connor can be reached at 520.626.1832 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We accept and review applications on a rolling basis. Given the unique attributes of our SJD program, admission is highly competitive and early applications are strongly encouraged.
Spring 2018 Application Deadlines:
Fall 2018 Application Deadlines:
Students in the program are required to successfully complete Federal Indian Law and International Human Rights or International Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples. Additionally, international students must complete Legal Analysis, Writing, and Research and Introduction to the U.S. legal System. After the year in residency, students have a maximum of three years to complete their research, writing, and oral defense. Specific details about the dissertation requirements can be found here.