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Degree Requirements

Masters Program

Full-time judges currently serving on the bench and who have graduated from an ABA-accredited law school may apply for one of two academic majors - the Trial Court Judge Major or the Juvenile an Family Court Judge Major. Exceptions may be made for sitting judges who are graduates of recognized foreign law schools or graduates of non-accredited American law schools who have been admitted to the Bar, and when it appears that the applicant is otherwise qualified and would, if accepted, contribute to the success of the program.

An applicant for admission to the JSP must file an application with Denise Schaar-Buis, JSP Coordinator. A master's application consists of: the JSP application, application fee, two official copies of undergraduate, graduate and law school transcripts sent directly by the school to the JSP office, copies of written opinions and/or articles, and three letters of reference. Applicants are responsible for ensuring that the UNR/JSP Office receives all required materials. The JSP Admissions Committee only considers complete applications. Master's applicants should have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.75, a law school GPA of at least 2.5, have demonstrated a continued interest in the law and the judiciary through published writings (including opinions) and extracurricular activities, and be highly regarded by their colleagues in order to gain consideration. If an applicant's GPA is lower than those noted or other problems exist, at the discretion of the Admission Committee, additional information (i.e. samples of writings and additional reference names) may be requested.

The JSP Admissions Committee evaluates the applicant's professional qualifications and potential for making a sustained contribution to the judiciary. The JSP Admissions Committee also evaluates the applicant's potential contribution to the field of Judicial Studies. Priority for admission is given to sitting trial court judges of general jurisdiction courts and judges of juvenile and family courts. Appellate and administrative law judges are also welcome.

The JSP Admissions Committee seeks students from widely dispersed geographic areas, intending to expose students to national and international perspectives. Applicants are notified of the Admissions Committee's recommendation to the University of Nevada, Reno Graduate School, which must then give final approval over admission decisions. The Graduate School will then directly notify prospective students of UNR's final decision. Judges admitted to the master's program are responsible for making arrangements to spend parts of two or more summers in Reno. The JSP requests that admitted students work closely with court personnel to ensure that they can be absent from their courtroom for the required period.

Thesis Requirements

Ph.D. Program

Judges seeking the Ph.D. degree must be graduates of the MJS Program. Applications are accepted throughout the year for consideration each January with notification given in mid-February.

A Ph.D. application consists of: the JSP application, application fee, copies of written opinions and/or articles, and three letters of reference. In addition, the JSP will request letters from the students master's committee members. Doctoral applicants must have a minimum master's GPA of 3.0 to gain consideration. Complete applications must be filed with the JSP Coordinator.

In addition to the time spent in Reno during the MJS Program, those admitted to the Ph.D. Program should expect to spend parts of one or more additional summers on the UNR campus. It is the student's responsibility to arrange to be absent from their courtroom for the required residency period.

Dissertation Requirements