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Prospective Students

The Ph.D. Program in Law and Economics is unique. It combines analytical training in economic theory and methodology with the study of law. While one can separately earn a J.D. and a Ph.D. in economics at many other universities, our program is distinctive in that training in economics is fully integrated with training in law. Upon completion of the program, you will receive a Ph.D. in Law and Economics and a J.D. The program is designed for students to complete requirements for both degrees, including dissertation defense, within six years.


Read below to learn about the application process. 


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Applying Without an LSAT Score

Applicants to the dual-degree, J.D./Ph.D. Program in Law and Economics may be eligible to apply to the Law School with their GRE scores only in lieu of an LSAT score. Individuals must not have taken the LSAT in the last five years and must not take the LSAT in the current admission cycle in order to apply through the GRE-Only pathway. Other academic and score criteria must be met to be eligible to apply GRE-Only. Please read the How to Apply instructions carefully for details.


Characteristics of Successful Applicants

Students admitted to the dual-degree program meet the standards for admission to Vanderbilt Law School as well as for admission to leading Ph.D. programs in economics. Successful applicants have strong undergraduate coursework in math. Highly recommended undergraduate courses are (1) two or three terms of calculus, (2) linear algebra, (3) real analysis, and (4) mathematical statistics. Successful applicants also have a clear interest and potential for conducting social science research in the program's fields of specialization.   


Single Degree/Ph.D.-Only Track

The Ph.D. Program in Law and Economics is a dual-degree program, conferring both a J.D. and Ph.D. in Law and Economics upon completion of program requirements. Applicants who already hold a Juris Doctor (J.D.) at the time of matriculation may pursue the Ph.D.-Only track. Students on this track should be able to satisfy all requirements for the Ph.D. in Law and Economics within four years. We do not admit students without a J.D. for the Ph.D.-only track. 

LL.M. or LL.B. degrees will not be considered as equivalent to a J.D. for admission to the Ph.D.-Only track. Applicants holding an LL.M. or LL.B. must apply to the J.D./Ph.D. dual-degree track.

We are no longer accepting applications for Fall 2021. Applications will reopen in August 2021 for Fall 2022 admission. Deadline for priority consideration: January 15, 2022. Please click  here  to learn more about the application process. 



Vanderbilt University and the Ph.D. Program in Law and Economics are committed to principles of equal opportunity and affirmative action, and are intentional in promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion in our community. The Program encourages individuals from diverse, under-represented populations to apply, and does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, color, national or ethnic origin, socio-economic background, or disability.