School of Law

Doctor of Juridical Science (JSD)

Introduction | Programme Aims and Intended Learning Outcome | Programme Structure | Programme Duration | Credit Transfer | Programme-related Fees | Accommodation | Enquiries


Please note: The Doctor of Juridical Science (法學博士) (JSD) programme is suspended and no new applications will be accepted.

The Doctor of Juridical Science (法學博士) (JSD) programme includes both taught and research components. It provides an opportunity for students who wish to pursue higher studies in law in Hong Kong. The successful completion of the programme will lead to the degree of Doctor of Juridical Science. JSD graduates may use the abbreviation “Dr” before their names. The degree is well-recognised in the United States and some other common law jurisdictions.


Programme Aims and Intended Learning Outcome

The programme aims:

  • to provide an integrated curriculum of theory, practice and research methodology;
  • to develop an advanced knowledge and understanding of law in the particular areas of research chosen by the JSD student;
  • to promote scholarship in the areas of law that are relevant to contemporary society with a view to understanding their current content and proposing required changes; and
  • to provide a sound framework for pursuing postgraduate legal research in an intellectually stimulating environment with a view to making a significant contribution to the particular field of research.

Upon successful completion of this Programme, students should be able to:

  1. demonstrate a critical understanding of the knowledge base in their selected research areas;
  2. analyse critically information and practice in those areas;
  3. comprehend and evaluate the main theories, principles and concepts in those areas;
  4. demonstrate creativity in contributing to the knowledge base by the formulation of research questions and the selection, development and implementation of appropriate research strategies;
  5. create, deploy and defend an argument in writing and orally.


Programme Structure

The JSD programme consists of two components, coursework and thesis. The first component of the JSD programme will require JSD students to complete 24 credit units of both core and elective courses. The second component requires a student to write a substantial thesis (22 credit units), which will make a significant contribution to legal scholarship and be publishable.

Taught Component (24 credit units)

The taught component is designed to ensure that a JSD student attains a very high level of academic skills through the study of taught courses. He/she will then possess the appropriate academic foundation to progress to the thesis stage. Through the taught component a student is expected to learn not only advanced legal research methodology but also substantive law in his/her chosen area of study.

Core Courses - 6 credit units

Elective courses - 18 credit units

  • LLM taught courses (LLM Dissertation courses are excluded)
  • JD courses (up to a maximum of 6 credit units; JD Independent Research course is excluded)

JSD students who have previously completed LLM course(s) at CityU are not allowed to take the same or similar course(s) under the LLM programme. If a JSD student requests to take a CityU JD course and he/she has previously completed a similar course in a common law jurisdiction, he/she will not be allowed to take the course. JSD students who have not taken Basic Law or a constitutional law course are encouraged to take LW6120C/E Basic Law of Hong Kong or LW6166E Consitutional and Administrative Law of Hong Kong, which are the courses under the LLM programme.

Note: Classes are held during daytime.  Classes may be offered in weekday evenings / Saturdays in special cases.

Thesis Component (22 credit units)

Doctoral Thesis offers students a challenging and enriching opportunity to propose, formulate and carry out an independent research project and develop research methodology to be applied in their own research.  The thesis will help the students to develop innovative thinking in tackling legal issues to meet the needs of the local as well as international communities.


Programme Duration

The normal study period of the programme is three years.  The maximum period of study is six years.  Any periods of leave of absence and academic suspension are counted towards the maximum period of study.


Credit Transfer

Credit transfer is permitted only from relevant, formal studies at postgraduate level and may count only against the taught course requirement. 

Transfer credits will not be counted in the calculation of a student’s GPA, except where special arrangements have been made.

Students should not take the courses for which transfer credits have been granted.

The maximum number of credits that can be transferred is 12 credit units of taught courses.

A student applying for credit transfer in respect of CityU courses will have to attain a course grade of B or above in the completed course for which credit transfer is requested, except for courses graded on a pass-fail basis.

No credit transfer will be granted for the following CityU research-based courses and non-taught courses:-

      LLM courses

  • LW6537C&E and LW6137C/E Dissertation
  • LW6548C and LW6551E  Independent Research

      LLMArbDR courses

  • LW6404 Research Project
  • LW6409A Dissertation

      JD courses

  • LW5551 Independent Research

Applications for credit transfer for Postgraduate Certificate in Laws (PCLL) courses will not be considered. Applications for credit transfer for non-CityU courses will normally not be considered if those courses do not have equivalent LLM courses taught at CityU. Students who have obtained CityU MA/LLMArbDR degree with CGPA of at least 3.0 will be approved a general credit transfer (i.e., not course-by-course basis) of up to 6 credit units of taught courses.


Programme-related Fees

The following are the major fees that need to be paid by JSD students:

Component Type of Fee
Taught Component Fee for taught courses (24 credit units)*
Doctoral Thesis Registration fee
Fee for thesis (22 credit units)
Oral examination fee

In 2016–17, the fee per credit unit for 2016 intake is HK$5,900 (will be increased in subsequent years for the same cohort), the registration fee is HK$20,600 per semester, and the oral examination fee is HK$10,000. Please note that fees are subject to review from time to time without prior notification.

Students are required to pay the registration fee until their theses (or the revised theses if revision is required) are supported for acceptance by Dean of the School of Law (SLW). If the Dean (SLW)'s acceptance is granted before the end of Week 5, the student will not be required to pay the registration fee for that semester. If the acceptance is granted in Week 6 or afterwards, the student will be required to pay the registration fee for that semester.

For tuition fee enquiries, please contact the School of Law General Office by email at or by phone at 3442 7470.



Students should be prepared to arrange their own accommodation, as on-campus accommodation is usually not available due to limited space. For assistance in locating information on off-campus accommodation, see “Off-campus Accommodation” //



Further information about the programme is obtainable from:

Dr THOMSON, Stephen
Associate Professor
JSD Programme Director
School of Law
City University of Hong Kong
83 Tat Chee Avenue
Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 3442 6592
Fax: (852) 3442 0190
General Office, School of Law
City University of Hong Kong
83 Tat Chee Avenue
Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 3442 8008
Fax: (852) 3442 0190
Website: //