Because an in-depth understanding of law is required, students in the Ph.D. Program in Law and Economics must either hold a Juris Doctor (J.D.) at the time of matriculation or complete the requirements for a J.D. at Vanderbilt University Law School. In the former case, students should be able to satisfy all requirements for the Ph.D. in Law and Economics within 4 to 5 years. In the latter case, students must complete a concurrent degree program, usually finishing requirements for both the J.D. and the Ph.D. within 6 to 7 years.
All applicants to the program must complete the Vanderbilt University Graduate School application for Law and Economics and take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) provided by the Educational Testing Service (ETS).
The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is required to apply for this program unless you have already completed your J.D. or are enrolled in a J.D. program.
International students: Please note that applicants to the Ph.D. Program in Law and Economics holding foreign law degrees must take the LSAT and must satisfy J.D. program requirements during their course of study at Vanderbilt, receiving Ph.D. and J.D. degrees upon completion of the program. In some cases, applicants admitted to the Ph.D. program with foreign law degrees may qualify for up to one year advanced standing in J.D. program requirements. Decisions on advanced standing are made after admission to the Ph.D. program, and these applicants are not exempt from the LSAT application requirement.
A minimum of one year of undergraduate level calculus is required for the application to be considered. Students admitted to the Ph.D. Program in Law and Economics usually score above the 90th percentile on the Quantitative Reasoning portion of the GRE.
NOTE: On August 1, 2011, the ETS launched a new scoring system for the GRE. The Law & Economics program uses the Concordance Table provided by ETS to interpret new GRE scores.
Initiate the Law and Economics application with the Vanderbilt University Graduate Program Online Application.
Follow these steps to apply to the program:
STEP 1: Complete Page One. At this point your application information will be automatically entered into our database. You will then receive your unique user ID and password via email. Please keep this information to use when logging back into your application.
STEP 2: Complete all Required Information. If you have logged off before completing all required information, use your password and ID to access your application again. Complete pages 2 and 3. You may log off and on as often as you wish until all required information is completed.
"Statement of Purpose" Section.
Please use this space to provide a statement of purpose of no more than 600 words, including
(a) your reasons for wishing to pursue a Ph.D. in Law and Economics,
(b) your specific research interests, and
(c) how this program relates to your previous educational and work experience and your future career plans.
Please note that the statement of purpose is meant to show how your research interests relate to the aims and scope of the Ph.D. Program in Law and Economics. The statement of purpose is not meant to be a personal statement.
"Additional Materials" Section.
Please respond to one of the following:
(a) If you have completed a J.D. program, what was your year of graduation and institution?
(b) If you are currently enrolled in a J.D. program, what is your expected year of completion and institution?
(c) If you do not hold a J.D. and are not currently enrolled in a J.D. program, are you currently applying to other J.D. programs?
Reporting your LSAT Test Score/LSDAS Registration Options.
Please self-report your Law School Admissions Account number, test date, score and percentile in the "Additional Materials" section.
If you are applying to J.D. programs at other universities, you must register with the Law School Data Assembly Service (LSDAS) and file an application for admission to the J.D. program directly with Vanderbilt University Law School, in addition to the separate Vanderbilt Graduate School Application.
If you are NOT applying to other law schools, you need not register with LSDAS but MUST still file the separate application to Vanderbilt's J.D. program (it is only necessary to complete the first two pages of the J.D. program application). You MUST also still take the LSAT, though you may register as an “LSAT-only” applicant, rather than registering with the LSDAS.
STEP 4: Officially Submit Your Application.
Go to the bottom of page 3 to review the checklist that shows which required fields are completed and which are not. By officially submitting your application, you will let us know it is ready for formal review.
STEP 5: Submit Supporting Documents.
The following documents are required to make your electronic application complete:
Test scores: GRE scores are required for all applicants; TOEFL scores are required only for those international applicants who completed neither an undergraduate nor a graduate degree at an English-speaking institution. Official scores are required. Your scores should be sent to institution code 1871. The GRE department code for this program is 1801.
GRE scores must have been taken within five years of the date ETS will send out your scores. ETS will not send scores that have expired.
TOEFL scores must have been taken within two years of the date ETS will send out your scores. ETS will not send scores that have expired. International applicants should note that they will not be eligible for admission without official scores on file, unless undergraduate or graduate education was successfully completed at an English-speaking institution.
Letters of Recommendation (3) to be submitted electronically. When you enter your recommender's email address (page 2 of the application), we will notify them via email and provide instructions on how to complete their recommendation. If you choose not to use the electronic method, you must send the recommendation form to your recommender and have a paper letter sent to the address below.
Transcripts should be forwarded to the address below. Official transcripts are required; however, unofficial copies are sufficient until the official transcripts arrive. International applicants should note that they will not be eligible for admission without official transcripts on file. All are encouraged to provide official transcripts as soon as possible.
The program will begin to accept applications for Fall 2014 on October 1.
Applications received by January 15, 2014 will receive priority consideration for review and funding.
Applicants are admitted for the Fall semester only.
If you have applied previously to Vanderbilt University and wish to reapply, you must access and update your previous record. You must re-submit all transcripts and letters of recommendation.
All additional application materials for Law and Economics applications should be forwarded to:
ATTN: Law and Economics
Vanderbilt University Law School
131 21st Ave South
Nashville, TN 37203
For specific questions about the Ph.D. Program in Law and Economics, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Questions about the J.D. program may be directed to the Vanderbilt Law School Admissions Office at 615-322-6452 or email@example.com.
For technical questions regarding the Graduate School electronic application process, please call 615-343-2727 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.