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Law and Philosophy

JD/PhD degrees

Stanford offers the opportunity to pursue both a Law degree and a PhD simultaneously, either both at Stanford, or with another Law School.

  • Students interested in pursuing both degrees at Stanford should apply to both the Philosophy PhD program, and the Law School. If admitted to each program, the degrees can be pursued simultaneously at Stanford. A particular benefit of doing both degrees at Stanford is that our PhD tuition funding  can cover Law school classes.
  • We also allow students to pursue their JD degree at another institution while pursuing their PhD in Philosophy at Stanford. This is managed most often by alternating years at each institution.

Areas of study

The opportunities to open up new legal questions to philosophical inquiry, as well as shed new light on old questions, are virtually limitless. In many cases, this work requires thorough grounding in both legal institutions and philosophy—and Stanford's JD/PhD program in law and philosophy is designed to provide that foundation. Although the program may be most relevant to aspiring academics, anyone hoping to work in policy positions in fields such as biomedical ethics and environmental ethics or even tax may find this joint degree useful.

In the past century, legal philosophers have made major contributions in areas as diverse as the justification for criminal punishment; the meaning of consent in private contracts; the moral basis of private property rights; distributive justice in tax regimes, the welfare state, eminent domain and allocation of citizenship rights; a rights-based versus welfarist account of the tort system; the state's right to regulate family relationships; the justness of preventive war; the moral basis of legislation; intergenerational justice in environmental law; biomedical ethics; and the values of free speech and democracy in campaign finance reform.


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