Applying & Admissions to the in-person Animal Law SJD program
Domestic:All applicants must have earned a JD from a U.S. institution by the beginning of the academic term they will start taking courses. They must also hold an LLM in any subject. They need not be barred in any jurisdiction or practicing.
International:By the start of the term they will begin taking courses, all applicants must have graduated with a law degree that would qualify them to take the professional examination to become a lawyer in the country in which they earned the degree. They must also hold an LLM in any subject. See the full list of qualifying degreeshere. They need not be barred in any jurisdiction or practicing.
Writing samples must be academic in nature and generally take the form of a law review or similar article. Writing samples are expected to be well-researched and well-written and appropriately cite sources using a standard citation format. Writing samples that advance an argument and demonstrate critical thinking as opposed to listing facts are better indicators of an applicant’s ability to succeed in the program.
Oftentimes, letters of recommendation come from current or former employers, professors, or colleagues. In any case, the most helpful letters come from individuals in academia or public policy positions who know the applicant well and can attest to their interest in animal law and ability to thrive in the SJD program. Letters should be written to help the Admissions Committee evaluate the applicant’s academic capacity, ethical character, legal writing and research skills, and prospects as a lawyer. Letters for international applicants should discuss their ability to study in a U.S. law school and facility with English, if known.
No. Students may submit scanned copies of their transcripts. However, all students who have been offered admission to the program must submit official transcripts before they are eligible to begin classes.
In order to be successful in the SJD program, candidates must have excellent English comprehension and writing skills. The SJD program requires extensive reading and writing on a daily basis. Applicants can meet the English proficiency in one of the following ways:
if English was the primary language of their legal education and the official language of the country in which the university is located;
if English was the primary language of their legal education and if their university is accredited by a U.S. regional accrediting agency;
a minimum IELTS score of 8; or
a minimum internet-based TOEFL score of 100.
Yes, this is possible. The admissions committee will still review applications without proof of English proficiency. However, applicants must send in their satisfactory IELTS or TOEFL score within 2 weeks of the application deadline.
Yes, candidates considered for the SJD program will be interviewed by one or more members of the SJD Admissions Committee.
The program is intentionally kept intimate (approx. 2 students per year) to give candidates the opportunity to work closely with animal law faculty and staff.
Admissions are made after the Admissions Committee meets to review applications. This occurs only after the application window has closed. In most years, applicants are notified via email within 2-3 months of the application window’s closing.
Due to the considerable need for scholarship support to make the SJD Program feasible for many of our applicants and the time needed to process visa applications for international students, admitted students will be given approximately two weeks to accept or decline an offer of admission. The letter of admission will state how long the applicant has.
Deferrals are rarely granted and only on a case-by-case basis. This is especially true for the SJD program given the limited number of candidates (2) admitted in a given year.In no case is a deferral granted for more than a year. In these cases, a non-refundable deposit may be required. If an applicant is awarded a scholarship and chooses to defer, the scholarship will not transfer. Rather, the applicant will be reconsidered for a scholarship the following year.
Program Costs & Scholarship Opportunities
Up-to-date tuition & additional cost information can be found on the Law School Tuition and Feespage. Please note that tuition increases every academic year by approximately 4%. New rates go into effect at the start of each Summer.
The Center for Animal Law Studies strives to minimize the cost of the Animal Law SJD Program to make this unique, high-quality legal education a possibility for accepted students (both U.S. and international). CALS is pleased to be able to offer scholarshipson the basis of need and merit. Applicants who apply by the deadline are automatically considered for all scholarships for which they may be eligible. There is no separate application for scholarship consideration.
Whether or not they have been awarded a full scholarship, all international candidates must demonstrate they have sufficient personal funds to study in the U.S. under an F-1 student visa. The exact amount that needs to be demonstrated increases slightly each year as tuition and other costs rise.
In recent years, applicants awarded a full scholarship have had to demonstrate that they had approximately $16,000 to meet the F-1 student visa requirements.
Applicants who have not been awarded any funding have needed to demonstrate that they had approximately $47,000 for tuition expenses and $31,000 for non-tuition expenses, for a total of $78,000. The amount that applicants who have received a partial scholarship or tuition award have had to show can be determined by deducting the amount of their award from this total.
In the past, applicants have met this financial burden with their own funds, being sponsored by family, friends, or an employer, or by applying for grants from institutions in their home country. CALS regrets that it is unable to assist candidates in procuring these additional amounts.
Unless otherwise stated, our scholarships can be used to cover campus-owned housing only. Students should note that the housing options we provided are single units with shared bathrooms and cannot accommodate children, partners, spouses, or pets.
If a candidate is awarded a full or partial scholarship, the scholarship will apply to the minimum number of credits needed to complete the SJD program (30).
All students are required to show proof of adequate health insurance. This can be met through obtaining Lewis & Clark’s Student Health Insuranceplan or through a separate provider. Additionally, all students are required by law to provide immunization records, with specific vaccines required to be listed. Students may not attend classes without providing proof of the required vaccines. More information on immunization requirements can be found here. Accepted students who have not had the required vaccines should do so as soon as possible, as required vaccinations must be taken before coming to the Lewis & Clark campus.
The ability for an international student to sit for a bar exam in the U.S. is determined at the state level, and students will need to research which states will allow them to sit for the bar with a degree other than a JD. The Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admissions Requirementsis a helpful resource for students to consult if they wish to practice law in the U.S. Please note, however, that the Animal Law SJD Program is not designed to help students sit or prepare for a bar exam. That said, the law school does offer bar prep courses each year, and U.S. and international students who wish to take the bar have registered for them in the past.
Some international students bring their families with them during their study in the U.S. While CALS helps admitted students procure their student F-1 visas, those who wish to bring others with them should reach out to Lewis & Clark’s
International Students and Scholars Officeto make arrangements. International students who have been offered campus housing as part of a scholarship should note that these units cannot accommodate relatives or pets; as such, those looking to bring family or pets with them will need to secure their own housing.
Center for Animal Law Studies is located in Wood Hall on the Law Campus. MSC: 51