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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 more about the program and how you can prepare to apply.


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Preparing for Application to the Program

Preparing for the program requires thought and planning. First, the study of economics at the Ph.D. level requires a high level of competence in mathematics. Admitted students usually major in economics or mathematics. In addition to completing one year of undergraduate level calculus, students should pursue additional coursework in mathematics and economics.


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 program usually score above the 90th percentile on the GRE. The average undergraduate grade point average for law and economics students is 3.86.  Successful applicants also have strong undergraduate coursework in math or courses using math.  Highly recommended undergraduate courses are: (1) calculus, (2) linear algebra, (3) real analysis, (4) statistics, and (5) intermediate microeconomic theory. Successful applicants also have a clear interest and potential for conducting social science research.  


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 now accepting applications for Fall 2021. Deadline for priority consideration: January 15, 2021. 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.