October 13, 2023

Announcing the World’s First Animal Law Doctoral Program

Applications are now being accepted for the inaugural Fall 2024 class.

The Center for Animal Law Studies (CALS) at Lewis & Clark Law School is proud to announce the launch of the world’s first Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) program in Animal Law. The equivalent of a PhD in legal education, the SJD is designed to equip LLM degree holders with the advanced research skills, program structure, academic, and experiential opportunities necessary to become the next thought-leaders, educators, and scholars who will shape animal law and public policy.

CALS has a rich history as a proven leader in animal law education in the U.S. and abroad. CALS has offered the world’s first Master of Laws (LLM) in Animal Law since 2012; launched a part-time online advanced degree program in 2021; and began offering the first Master of Studies (MSL) in Animal Law degree in the U.S. in 2022. The Animal Law SJD degree builds upon this history. It proves the answer to the question posed by Animal Law LLM graduates each year: that is, how they can continue to develop their scholarship, with the hopes of entering into and raising the profile of animal law in academia, while also enhancing their ability to catapult animal protection to the next level.

The Assistant Dean and Executive Director of CALS, Pamela Hart, spoke to the import of this historic development. “The field of animal law has expanded at a staggering pace. Given our history of firsts in animal law education, the expansion of our degree offerings to include the SJD was the next logical step to enshrine animal law in academia and to offer a pathway for passionate and dedicated scholars who wish to further deepen their knowledge and develop expertise that will shape the future of animal law in public policy, research, academia, and beyond.”

Designed for U.S. and international candidates holding a Master of Law degree (LLM) in any subject, the Animal Law SJD is a three-year (30 credit) program—with the first year dedicated to undertaking animal law-related coursework, the second to working with their Dissertation Chair to develop their dissertation; and the third to completing and defending it. The first two years of the SJD must be undertaken in residence at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon, while the last may be completed in absentia, with the exception of the dissertation defense. Candidates receive individualized attention across all three years from the Director of the Animal Law Program and the Chair of their dissertation.

CALS is now welcoming applications for admission for its inaugural Fall 2024 cohort. Applications are due by February 1, 2024. All applicants are automatically considered for scholarship support. To learn more about the SJD, please visit this link. The Animal Law SJD program received acquiescence by the American Bar Association and is fully accredited by the Northwest Consortium of Colleges and Universities.

The Center for Animal Law Studies (CALS) was founded in 2008 with a mission to educate the next generation of animal law advocates and advance animal protection through the law. With vision and bold risk-taking, CALS has since developed into a world-renowned animal law epicenter, with the most comprehensive animal law curriculum offered anywhere. In addition, CALS is the only program that offers multiple advanced legal degrees and animal law experiential learning opportunities. CALS’ Alumni-in Action from more than 25 countries are advancing legal protections and making a difference for animals around the world.