The Ph.D. Program in Law and Economics is a dual-degree program, conferring both a J.D. and a Ph.D. in Law and Economics upon completion of program requirements. You must complete separate applications to both Vanderbilt Graduate School and Vanderbilt Law School. Your Law School and Graduate School applications will be considered as one in a unified and collaborative Ph.D. Program in Law and Economics selection process.
Please click to expand the sections below and read all instructions carefully before beginning the application process. Your application to the Ph.D. Program will not be considered until you complete both a Graduate School and Law School application. You may complete either application first, but please note the instructions regarding submission of your Statement of Purpose and Letters of Recommendation for each application.
Applicants to the Ph.D. Program in Law and Economics who have not taken the LSAT or who do not plan to take the LSAT may be eligible to apply to the dual-degree program with GRE scores only. Please see the “GRE-Only” section below Step Two for eligibility requirements.
A limited number of fee waivers for some portions of the application process are available, and are awarded at the discretion of the Ph.D. Program application committee. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to see if you are eligible.
Initiate the Law and Economics application with the Vanderbilt University Graduate Program Online Application. Under "Program/Area of Study," choose "Social Science." Then choose "Law and Economics.”
Statement of Purpose: In the “Statement of Purpose” section of the Graduate School Online Application, write 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.
Letters of Recommendation: Three Letters of Recommendation are to be submitted electronically by your recommenders as part of your Graduate School application.
Transcripts: Send your transcripts to the address below directly from your institution. 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.
Center for Data Management
Vanderbilt University, PMB 407833
2301 Vanderbilt Place
Nashville, TN 37240-7833
Standardized Test Scores: Submit a Graduate Record Exam (GRE) score.
If you have any questions about completing your application to the Vanderbilt Graduate School, please email 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.
Applicants to the Ph.D. Program in Law and Economics who have not taken the LSAT or who do not plan to take the LSAT may be eligible to apply to the dual-degree program with GRE scores only. Please see the “GRE-Only” section below for eligibility requirements.
Register with the Law School Admission Council (LSAC), if you have not done so already.
Register and pay for the Credential Assembly Service (CAS) and obtain a registration “L number.”
Standardized Test Scores: Applicants to the dual-degree J.D./Ph.D. Program in Law and Economics have two options for submitting standardized test scores with your Law School application.
LSAT: Individuals who have taken the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) in the last five years or will take the LSAT in the current admission cycle must submit their LSAT scores to CAS as part of their Law School application.
GRE-Only: Individuals who have not taken the LSAT in the last five years and will not take the LSAT in the current admission cycle may apply through the GRE-Only Pathway and need not take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). However, American Bar Association accreditation standards require that you
(a) have scored at or above the 85th percentile on the GRE, AND
(b) EITHER have ranked in the top 10% of your undergraduate class through six semesters of academic work, OR achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or above through six semesters of academic work.
If you are intending to apply GRE-Only, please contact Law School Admissions at email@example.com and notify them of your intent.
Transcripts: You must provide a copy of official college transcripts from each college and university you have attended to the CAS.
Letters of Recommendation: CAS requires that you submit two letters of recommendation. You may ask your recommenders to submit new letters specific to your qualifications for admission to the Law School, or you may opt to use your letters of recommendation from your Graduate School application. Separate law school-specific letters are not required for admission to the J.D./Ph.D. Program in Law and Economics and will not help or harm your application. You may wish to submit separate letters if you hope to be considered for admission to the J.D. program in the event you are not admitted to the dual-degree J.D./Ph.D. program.
If you are not submitting separate law school-specific letters of recommendation to LSAC, please notify the Admissions Office at firstname.lastname@example.org that you wish to apply your letters of recommendation from your Graduate School application to your Law School application.
After registering with LSAC and obtaining your “L number” from CAS, complete the online application for Vanderbilt Law School. You may contact the Law School Admissions Office for an application fee waiver by emailing email@example.com. You will need to provide your “L number.”
Indicate Dual-Degree Application: On your Law School application, indicate that you are applying to the dual-degree, J.D./Ph.D. Program in Law and Economics.
If you apply to the Law School before applying to the Graduate School and indicate that you wish to be considered for the dual-degree, J.D./Ph.D. Program in Law and Economics, the Law School will not consider your application until your Graduate School application is also complete. If you wish to withdraw your application from consideration for the dual-degree program and apply for admission to the Law School only, you must contact Law School Admissions at firstname.lastname@example.org and notify them of your intent.
Personal Statement: You may submit your Statement of Purpose from your Graduate School application in place of a personal statement.
If you have questions about applying to Vanderbilt Law School as a dual-degree Law and Economics applicant, please contact Sandra Weinstein at email@example.com.
If you already have a J.D., you may apply for admission to the Ph.D. Program in Law and Economics by completing the application to the Vanderbilt Graduate School only. You do not need to apply to Vanderbilt Law School. Visit our Prospective Students page to learn more about the Ph.D.-only course of study.
LL.M. or LL.B. degrees will not be considered equivalent to the J.D. for the purpose of admission to the single-degree/Ph.D. in Law and Economics. Applicants holding an LL.M. or LL.B. must apply for admission to Vanderbilt Law School and pursue the dual-degree, J.D./Ph.D. course of study.
Applicants whose first language or language of instruction is not English are required to submit the results of either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test with their application, unless they have earned a degree from an American or English-speaking institution.
For questions regarding the Ph.D. Program in Law and Economics such as the course of study, criteria for admissions, or the application process, please contact the Ph.D. program manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For technical questions regarding the Graduate School electronic application process, please contact Graduate School Admissions at 615-343-2727 or email email@example.com.
For questions regarding the Law School portion of your application, please contact Law School Admissions at firstname.lastname@example.org.