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Understanding Meaning & Purpose of Research Degree in India & Abroad (LL.M, J.D, S.J.D., M.Phil, PhD)

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  • Understanding Meaning & Purpose of Research Degree in India & Abroad (LL.M, J.D, S.J.D., M.Phil, PhD)

J.D. stands for Juris Doctor or  Doctor of Jurisprudence. This is the first primary level in law bachelor degree with major for a duration of 3 years in any of the law subjects in the U.S.A. After qualifying the J.D., the law students are eligible to appear and write bar exams in basically all 50 states in the U.S. The J.D. is also required as pre-condition for undertaking LL.M. in U.S.A. Under the J.D.course outline, which includes  largely Civil Procedure, Constitutional  Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Legislation and Regulation, Property, and Torts besides these subjects there are skill based academic exercise as Moot Court, Legal Research and Writing. The are offered in Yale, Harvard and other such well-established universities of U.S.A.In Indian context this is equivalent of LL.B degree offered in India. Both are undergraduate degree in law the LL.B in India and J.S.D. in U.S.A. In one of the  Indian Global Law School based in Sonipat in collaboration with Indiana University’s to offer dual degree programmes with US Juris Doctorate (J.D.) along with B.A.LL.B or LL.B degree. The common underlying element in both these courses is based on common law legal system.

S.J.D. Doctor of Judicial Science (S.J.D.) ScientiaeJuridicaeDoctor or Juridicae[A1] Scientiae Doctoror Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) is one of advanced law degree in U.S.A., this is a research doctorate in law. This degree is offered primarily in the United States, Canada and Australia. Following the completion of J.D., one can pursue S.J.D. Doctor of Judicial Science (S.J.D.). TheS.J.D. is meant for academicians professors, scholars in law who seek an academic and research career.The S.J.D. program in its course outline includes a study plan to suit the academic and research  interest, followed with oral examination, two presentations. This includes submission of a doctoral dissertation and oral defense of dissertation. The law students can take up dissertation from a range of diverse , interdisciplinary topic under an overall faculty supervisor. The time duration of the S.J.D.course is during the 36-months.

D.Phil stands for Doctor of Philosophy or doctor philosophiae, it is equivalent to Ph.D. This D.Phil is Ph.Dcourse is recognised in U.K. This courseD.Phil is a duration of three – four years. The main course description of D.Phil is to undertake a thesis on any specialized subject for a defined word limit subject to the writing style guide as prescribed. The person undertaking D.Phil is the research scholar and there is a research supervisor or mentor or a faculty appointed for guiding the research scholar. There is a final viva voce by within the end of first and second year and by a panel of experts.

LL.M. isMaster of Laws which is a postgraduate degree in law after completion of a under-graduationin law, either through 5 year B.A.LL.B degree or three year LL.B degree followed after graduation in any stream likeLL.M in Human Rights law, LL.M. in Business or LL.M in International Public Law.  The LL.M is recognised as masters of law in both India and abroad. The time duration of LL.M is generally from 1 year to 2 years. In foreign countries L.L.M. is of only one year. In both schemes of [A2] LL.M, either one year or two year, there are three foundation courses prescribed by the University Grants Commission as Research Methodology, Law in Globalizing World and Comparative Public Law and there are other elective legal and interdisciplinary subject along with a dissertation submission on any research subject. There is a dissertation faculty supervisor to guide the student in dissertationwriting. There are guidelines and uniform citation style  issued by the university for writingdissertation, there is written examination, assignment on subject along with class presentations and also a viva voce oral on the dissertation by the faculties. The LL.M is a pre-condition to undertake a Ph.D in law. The LL.Mcourse is meant for academic career or teaching, research, writing position in law.

M.Phil stands for Magister Philosophiae or means  Master of Philosophy . This is an advanced postgraduate degree. The M.Phil is undertaken after completing graduation on any subject. In course of M.Phil,  there is course work to be undertaken in the first year. This course involves a course work on research methodology. The admission is based on entrance exam or based on marks obtained in last year’s exam.  The duration of the course is one year to two years. The M.Philfacilitates provisional enrolment for a PhD programme. The M.Phil may be pursued from any stream as  Humanities, Commerce, Science. The outcome of M.Phil is to submit thesis on any specialized research subject, this is followed with viva along with marks on research methodologycourse work . This M.Phil is for those aspiring for academic career or for pursuing Ph.D degree.   However, India is likely to discontinue M.Phil degrees from academic institutions and allow students to pursue a doctorate programme after a four-year graduation course, this is proposed in 2019 and this is given effect in National Educational Policy 2020 by the human resource development (H.R.D.) Ministry.[A3]

PhD stands for Doctor of Philosophy, and the prior eligibility criteria for PhD in Law is L.L.M. of either one year or two year or alternatively a M.Phil degree. The PhD can be either full time or part time. In full time PhD the candidate undertakes only research work and the candidate does engage in any other professional commitment  and such candidate stays within the campus of the university and n mainly assist the Guide.  The candidate pursuing PhD is referred as doctoral candidate and the guide for PhD is usually a faculty who is of the rank of Associate Professor or Professor.

The usual time period of PhD is three but this is extendable to another  two years , that is upto the maximum of 5 years.  There is usually a PhD entrance examination by the reputed universities for admission otherwise there is a process of direct enrolment of PhD subject to the admission procedure laid down by the University on the same.  There is research methodology classes for the candidate pursuing PhD in the first year of PhD followed with an examination on the same. There are usually two to three presentation usually conducted through the successive second and third year, these presentations are tested on research methodology and concept, objectives and research propositions, hypothesis of research subject. Besides there could be written assignment as sample of write up or chapters for thesis given by the PhD guide for the candidate to submit the same. In the final year of PhD either the third year or if subject to extension , then the fifth year , the candidate is required to submit the thesis of PhD with the approval of Guide. This thesis is subject to review and final examination, comments and recommendations by a panel of two to three external experts other than the faculty of the concerned university. After review, there is a final viva voce conducted for the PhDthesis by an expert panel and marks and remarks are assigned on the same. The candidate is required to defend the research findings on thesis as against the questions asked by the expert panel. The candidate is also required to develop and publish at least one research paper in ten U.G.C. prescribed list of journals on the PhD subject and also the candidate is required to present a seminar presentation on the PhD subject in a U.G.C. sponsored conference or seminar or symposium.

-Dr. Sonali Kusum