Tuition for a first-year S.J.D. student in 2020-2021 is $68,150; first-year students who were eligible to and did waive the LL.M. degree pay reduced tuition of $1,000. In addition, the estimated total costs of dormitory housing, food, medical fees, books and supplies, activity fee, and personal and travel expenses for a single student come to approximately $34,750. For the 2020-2021 academic year, the standard budget for married students calls for at least another $15,350 in living expenses for the spouse and $7,800 for each child.
Current Harvard Law School LL.M. students applying to the S.J.D. program are permitted to “waive” the LL.M. degree by so indicating in their application for admission. If admitted, an applicant who waives the LL.M. degree will not be awarded the LL.M. degree. However, they will be permitted to count the tuition paid for the LL.M. year in satisfaction of the Harvard University requirement that a student pay at least one year’s full tuition for every degree that they receive. For the first year of S.J.D. studies, students who have waived the LL.M. degree are charged tuition of $1,000 rather than $68,150 in 2020-2021. Note that the “LL.M. Waiver” is only available to applicants who are currently enrolled in the Harvard Law School LL.M. Program.
Financial Assistance from Harvard Law School
Students who cannot afford the cost of such a year are eligible for financial aid from Harvard Law School. All financial aid awards are based on the applicant’s demonstrated financial need, and no student admitted to S.J.D. candidacy has been unable to pursue his or her studies for lack of financial resources. We offer financial aid in the form of both grants (scholarships) and loans. Financial aid is not available to cover tuition and other expenses of first-year students who had the opportunity to waive the LL.M. degree but did not do so; in addition, such students may only be eligible for reduced financial aid in subsequent years.
All applicants who wish to apply for financial aid should complete the financial aid forms appearing in the application materials and submit them with their application for admission to the S.J.D. Program. Because the processes for making admissions and financial aid decisions are completely separate, your application for financial aid will have no impact on your application for admission.
In addition to our need-based financial aid funds, the Graduate Program makes available a number of Fellowship positions such as LL.M. Advisor, Teaching Assistant, Coordinator of the Graduate Forum, and the like. Selections for these positions are made through a separate application process held in the spring of each academic year. Application materials for these positions become available in April.
Finally, the Graduate Program offers a limited number of Byse Fellowships, named in honor of the late Byrne Professor of Law Clark Byse, each year. These fellowships are intended to help fund S.J.D. students who are at an advanced stage of their dissertation writing. Byse Fellows are expected to teach a one-semester Graduate Program workshop of their own design and to be in residence for the entire year of their appointment. Each Byse Fellowship carries a stipend of $18,000. The Program selects Byse Fellows for the coming academic year in May of each year. Application materials for these positions become available in April.
Due to funding limitations, prospective applicants are encouraged to seek other sources of funds early in the application process.
Other Sources of Funds
Applicants seeking financial assistance should investigate funding sources in their home countries well in advance. Examples of such sources include employers, government agencies and foundations. Loans from private lending institutions in the U.S. may also be available to international applicants.
The United States Embassy or consulate in an international applicant’s home country may have information on U.S. government grants under the Fulbright program and other information on fellowship opportunities. Applicants who are from certain countries or who meet certain specific criteria may be eligible for a number of scholarships administered by Harvard University’s Committee on General Scholarships. Please note that many of these scholarships have their own application procedures and deadlines, and students must apply for some of these funds by contacting committees or agencies in their home countries.
In some cases it may be possible for students to undertake part-time paid employment on campus, e.g., working in the Law School Library or as research assistants for faculty members. Generally speaking, students can expect to earn up to a total of $3,500 over the course of the academic year in return for 10–12 hours of work per week. These positions cannot be arranged through the Graduate Program Office. Admitted applicants interested in such employment must seek out such positions after arrival at Harvard Law School. Off-campus employment during the year of study is not permitted for international students.