J.S.D. in Intercultural Human Rights


ACADEMIC POLICES AND PROCEDURES 2014-2015

The J.S.D. Program in Intercultural Human Rights aims at providing a premier opportunity for promising human rights scholars to make a lasting contribution to the dynamic and action-oriented field of human rights through researching, analyzing and offering solutions to pertinent cutting-edge issues both globally and domestically.  In particular, the J.S.D. program will be a powerful tool in meeting the diverse interests and career aims of the top quality students.

As any thesis-based doctoral degree, the J.S.D. in Intercultural Human Rights is the capstone academic achievement indicating ultimate academic specialization and original contribution in the chosen field. Its emphasis is on the imparting, analysis, elaboration and dissemination of knowledge about human rights in the world social process, and the development of recommended solutions to societal problems through interdisciplinary, problem- and policy-oriented research. Intercultural dialogue facilitates this research; it is enhanced by the diversity conspicuous not only in the student body, but also the program faculty as established in the residential LL.M. IHR Program.

Admission Requirements

Eligibility: 

Students must have graduated with honors from St. Thomas University’s LL.M. Program in Intercultural Human Rights, i.e. with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0.  In extremely rare cases, outstanding scholars from other institutions who hold an LL.M. degree in the field may be admitted as well, possibly conditional upon enrollment in, and completion of, certain specified courses of the LL.M. IHR program. 

At least two terms of work must be spent in residence at the School. This requirement may be satisfied by residence as an LL.M. candidate. At least two additional years must be devoted to the preparation and revision of the dissertation. These additional years may be passed in residence or off campus, including outside of the United States.  The

J.S.D. degree in Intercultural Human Rights is conferred upon successful completion of a dissertation, the passing of the rigorosum, and proof of publication of the dissertation. 

Candidates for the J.S.D. program need to prove to the School of Law’s J.S.D. Committee that they are outstanding scholars at or near the top of their class who are capable of producing a publishable thesis that adds to the knowledge in the field, and who are capable of doing so within the time frame of the J.S.D. program.

Admission Process:

Applicants for admission to the J.S.D. Program in Intercultural Human Rights need to submit the following documents:

(1)  Completed J.S.D. Application Form
(2)  LL.M. Transcript
(3)  Writing Sample (e.g. LL.M. thesis, seminar paper)
(4) Doctoral Dissertation Proposal consisting of:

  a. Outline of the chosen topic; issues to be explored
b. An articulation of the topic’s novelty
c. An initial bibliography
d. Methodology to be employed
e. A time frame for the stages and places of research as well as a potential date of completion of the manuscript
f. Length: at least five (5) pages 

(5)  Letter of Acceptance of Candidate and Topic by Supervising Faculty Member

       Note: (a) it is the applicant’s responsibility to find and contact the potential supervisor, either from the list we have provided, or another scholar, who has expertise in the field of student’s dissertation topic, and who has already earned a doctorate degree himself/herself. The supervisor’s doctorate can be a J.S.D., S.J.D., Ph.D. or equivalent.
(b) The potential supervisor must have approved the topic and the dissertation proposal, before it can be submitted to the J.S.D.   Committee.

(6)  One Letter of Recommendation
(7)  $100 Non-Refundable Application Fee

The Director of the Program reviews all the completed applications.  All eligible applications will be submitted for decision to a four-member J.S.D. Committee formed by the Director and the Executive Director of the Graduate Program in Intercultural Human Rights and two other members of the St. Thomas University School of Law faculty who hold a J.S.D., S.J.D., or Ph.D. degree or their foreign equivalent, such as the Dr. iur.

Additional Requirement for Non-St. Thomas Applicants

In the case of non-St. Thomas applicants, the potential applicant is expected to consult with the Director of the Program, in person or telephonically, prior to submitting his/her application, in order to determine whether the program meets the applicant’s needs, whether the nature of the program fit the applicant’s profile, and whether the applicant’s academic background and experience fit the program’s requirements. 

Admissions Decisions

The applicants with the most original proposals, strongest academic records and promise of achievement are admitted to the Program. 

Upon the decision of the J.S.D. Committee, an admission letter signed by the Director of the Program is mailed to the admitted students. Students who are not admitted to the program receive a letter denying their admission. 

Enrollment Process

A student who has been advised of his/her admission receives a Registration Form.  Information regarding requirements to establish and maintain J.S.D. student status, deadlines for registration, and deadlines for pertinent payments is also included in this communication.  

Students

A J.S.D. student is defined as one who is enrolled in a J.S.D. thesis course for a minimum of two (2) years, and a maximum of five (5) years.  

Registration: J.S.D. students with no outstanding balance from the previous semester are automatically registered in the following semester, upon certification by the supervisor that the student has made sufficient progress toward completing the thesis. 

It is student’s responsibility each end of semester:  

    (a) to obtain the certification of progress by the supervisor
(b) to pay for all financial obligations to the law school

Failure to enroll in this continuing course at any time and in any semester before the completion of the program will be deemed a resignation from the J.S.D. program. 

The J.S.D. thesis course is valued at nine (9) credits per semester (fall and spring only).  This course is pass/fail.  In order to receive a passing grade in this class, the thesis supervisor needs to submit a statement to the Registrar’s Office that the J.S.D. IHR student has made sufficient progress toward completion of his/her thesis. Insufficient progress will result in student’s dismissal from the program.

Termination and Withdrawal

(a) A student intending to resign from the program must express such intent in writing before the semester starts, by submitting a letter of withdrawal to the Program Director. Failure to submit the resignation request before the semester starts does not remove the student’s financial responsibility for that semester.
(b) Students who fail to meet their financial obligations toward St. Thomas University before the end of the semester in which they are enrolled are automatically excluded from registration for the subsequent semester, and their student status is terminated.
(c) Should a student be terminated on the above grounds, the student will have to re-apply for admission to the J.S.D. program, and if admitted will be subject to all rules and policies as a first-time admitted student would.

Tuition and Fees

The application fee is $100.  The program’s tuition has been fixed at $3,402 and its fees at $250 per semester.  Once their thesis is completed and submitted, students are charged a submission fee of $3,000 designed to cover the costs of the two opinions on the thesis as well as the rigorosum.  Students are responsible for the publication of the dissertation, as well as the costs thereof, in a format and venue approved by the J.S.D. Committee. If the student submits the dissertation after a semester has started, the regular semester charges will apply, and the submission fee of $3,000 will be charged to the student’s account in the semester immediately following the submission of the dissertation.

Academic Evaluation

Towards completion of the requirements, the J.S.D. candidate has to submit a publishable manuscript of no less than 75,000 words on his or her chosen topic (the dissertation) to his or her supervisor.  The format of this paper should be in Times New Roman font, size 12, and 1.5 spacing, with one inch space left on both left and right margins. Upon approval of the draft by the supervisor as final, the student will submit two bound copies of the manuscript to the Director of the Program.

First Evaluation: The supervisor will submit a substantive report on the dissertation, including the determination of a grade from a slate ranging from summa cum laude (highest honors), to magna cum laude (high honors), to cum laude (honors), to rite (pass), and insufficienter (fail).  Upon completion of the review, the supervisor will forward his/her evaluation and the dissertation to the Director of the J.S.D. Program in Intercultural Human Rights. 

Second Evaluation: Upon consultation with the J.S.D. Committee, the Director of the J.S.D. Program in Intercultural Human Rights will appoint a second evaluator who will appraise the thesis on its academic merit, submit a substantive evaluation report, and assign a grade from the range of summa cum laude to insufficienter. The supervising professor, the second grader of the dissertation as well as the members of the rigorosum committee should hold the academic equivalent of a J.S.D., S.J.D., Dr. iur. or Ph.D. degree. 

The substantive reports of both the first and the second evaluator should point out concretely the degree of mastery of the subject-matter by the student, the exhaustiveness vel non of his/her research, his/her analytical depth, his/her style, but most importantly, the novelty of the contribution made by the dissertation to the knowledge in the field. 

Rigorosum: Upon receipt of the second opinion, and both evaluators agreeing that the thesis merits at least a passing grade, the J.S.D. Committee will schedule a rigorosum.  The rigorosum is about one-hour defense of the thesis before a committee of three qualifying faculty.  In this defense, not just issues pertaining to the topic of the dissertation, but all issues relating to the field of human rights law and policy constitute legitimate subject-matters of questioning.  The rigorosum committee, in its discretion, may extend the time of questioning beyond one hour. The rigorosum committee will determine the rigorosum grade from the range of summa cum laude to insufficienter.

The grades of the first and the second evaluator as well as the rigorosum must all be rite (pass) or above.  They each count one-third toward the final grade, i.e. the grades of each of the three parts of the evaluation will be added up and divided by three to arrive at the final grade for the J.S.D. degree. To facilitate this count, the J.S.D. grades are given the following numerical values:

summa cum laude  = 5.0 (denoting an exceptional academic performance)
magna cum laude  = 4.0 (denoting a very good performance)
cum laude                 = 3.0 (denoting an above average performance)
rite                            = 2.0 (denoting a passing performance)
insufficienter               = 0.0 (denoting a failing performance)

In line with the J.D. program, grades can only be changed by the Dean or Associate Dean of the School of Law in case of arithmetical error by a faculty member, upon that faculty member’s request.

Timeframe: The Evaluation Process may take up to two semesters from the semester when the student has submitted the dissertation as final, and the supervisor has accepted it as such.

Readmission

The J.S.D. candidate has to enroll in a J.S.D. thesis course for a minimum of two (2) years, and a maximum of five (5) years.  Failure to enroll in this continuing course at any time and in any semester before the completion of the program, OR receipt of a failing grade in any semester due to lack of sufficient progress toward the completion of the thesis OR the failure to fulfill the financial obligations toward St. Thomas University before the end of the semester in which they are currently enrolled will be deemed a resignation from the J.S.D. program.  Once such a resignation has occurred, the candidate may reapply for admission, which will be decided upon by the J.S.D. Admissions Committee. If admitted, the student will be bound by the two year minimum/ five year maximum rule, as all newly admitted students.

Graduation Requirements

    (a) The candidate must pass the two evaluations as well as the rigorosum and have a final grade.
    (b) The dissertation must be published.  In order of preference, the best venue of publication is a recognized academic publisher or a university press with global or national reputation and distribution.  The next venue would be publication by a commercial press.  The least preferable venue would be ProQuest or a similar recognized academic venue which would microfilm the manuscript, save it digitally, and create a PDF version, but manufacture copies only upon prepayment or on demand. 
    (c) The J.S.D. Committee has to approve a candidate’s planned publication venue prior to its being chosen.  If that prior approval is not secured, the degree may not be granted. 
    (d) Upon approval of the publication venue, and in the case of publication with a recognized academic publishing house, a university press, a commercial publisher, or ProQuest, publication is considered proven by the submission of a signed and binding publication contract.  
    (e) The final publication must contain a reference to St. Thomas University in the first page at “Acknowledgments.”  The suggested language is as follows: “This book is an edited and updated version of my J.S.D. thesis in Intercultural Human Rights at St. Thomas University in Miami, Florida.” This acknowledgment constitutes a condition on the publication attached to the granting of the J.S.D. degree, and if violated, the J.S.D. Committee may revoke the degree.
    (f) Regardless of what publication venue is being chosen, candidates have to submit, within two months of publication, five printed copies of the published book to the J.S.D. Committee.  If this condition is violated, the J.S.D. Committee may revoke the degree.

Teaching and Research Methodology

Every student admitted to the J.S.D. program will be supervised by a qualifying faculty member, who agrees, in advance, to this assignment.  The supervising professor should hold the academic equivalent of a J.S.D., S.J.D., Dr. iur. or Ph.D. degree him- or herself.  The supervising professors will be either qualifying St. Thomas University School of Law professors or select faculty outside of St. Thomas University willing to serve, if appropriate, as supervisors/graders of J.S.D. theses in Intercultural Human Rights.

In-house professors will be available as supervisors as agreed upon with J.S.D. candidates. Outside professor-supervisors will come to Miami at least once a year, as they often teach in the LL.M. Program in Intercultural Human Rights, enabling students in Miami to get in touch with them at our place of instruction.  As the usual time of completion of thesis is three years, the students would thus meet personally with their supervisor at least three times. Also, modern means of communication such as e-mail, Internet chat, fax, and telephone allow for constant and even instantaneous academic exchanges.  The crowning task of the doctoral candidate will be the defense of his/her thesis against the challenges of a three-member faculty committee, including the supervisor, in a one-hour oral interchange, i.e. the rigorosum. The rigorosum may also test the candidate on his knowledge of the general field of human rights law and policy.

The law library with its extensive holdings in the fields of international law and human rights is available for use by the students.  With regard to materials needed to be online for the benefit of graduate IHR students, St. Thomas University School of Law has made arrangements to provide access to the electronic databases that are normally used in its J.D. program.  

Administrative Oversight

In terms of University structure, the Graduate Program in Intercultural Human Rights is a program of the School of Law and its faculty. The J.S.D. program is one component of the Graduate Program in Intercultural Human Rights. 

The Director of the Graduate Program in Intercultural Human Rights oversees and implements the program, aided by the Executive Director.  A full-time Administrative Assistant complements the administration.

Faculty

The Faculty of the J.S.D. program has been carefully chosen for its unique combination of academic credentials and expertise with the practical experience in the field.  Every student admitted to the J.S.D. program will be supervised by a qualifying faculty member, who has to agree, in advance, to this assignment.  As far as qualifying faculty is concerned, the core of it is the faculty and guest lecturers of the LL.M. program. The supervising professor should hold the academic equivalent of a J.S.D. or Ph.D. degree him- or herself.  

Professor W. Michael Reisman, Myres S. McDougal Professor of Law at the Yale Law School, distinguished scholar of international law and jurisprudence, has published more than 20 books and more than 200 articles.  He is one of the co-founders of the policy-oriented approach to law, which inspires this program. Professor Reisman has also served as President of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.  He has given overall guidance and will provide continued support to the J.S.D. program.

Key faculty and potential supervisors include:

Professor Emeritus Dr. iur. Eckart Klein of the University of Potsdam, Germany law faculty, is the leading German scholar in the field of human rights and an immediate past member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee.  Professor Klein teaches the class on The Covenant of Civil and Political Rights:  The Scope of the Rights and the Role of the Human Rights Committee.

Dr. Pierre-Michel Fontaine is a former Principal Officer in the Division of International Protection of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and has recently served as the Chief of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.  Prior to his career in the United Nations system, Dr. Fontaine held academic appointments at various universities in the United States, including Harvard University and UCLA. Dr. Fontaine has been teaching the course on The Protection of Refugees.

Dr. Toni Pfanner, now the Representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Singapore, is the former Chief Legal Advisor to the ICRC, a key actor in the implementation of international humanitarian law, and the former Editor of the International Review of the Red Cross.  He has, inter alia, taught courses in the UN/UNITAR International Law Fellowship Programme at The Hague.  He teaches the course on Humanitarian Law.

Professor Dr. Kalliopi Koufa is a Professor of Law Emeritus and the former Director of the Institute of International Public Law and International Relations at the University of Thessaloniki, Greece.  She has also served as a Member of the United Nations Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and its Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Terrorism.   She has taught the course on Human Rights and Terrorism.

Professor Dr. iur. Herbert Petzold is a Professor of Law at the University of Saarbrücken, Germany and the former long-time Registrar of the European Court of Human Rights.  He is well published in the field, and he teaches the course on The European System of Human Rights Protection.

Professor Dr. iur. Roza Pati is a Professor of Law at St. Thomas University School of Law, Executive Director of its LL.M./J.S.D. Program in Intercultural Human Rights, and Director of its Human Trafficking Academy. She is a former Member of Parliament and Cabinet Member -- Secretary of State for Youth and Women -- in the Government of Albania, and is a Member of the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace at the Vatican. She has written in the field of international law, international criminal law, human rights law and human trafficking law. She teaches International Law, Human Trafficking Law & Policy, and Human Rights Law.

Professor Domingo Acevedo, Ph.D.  has served as the Deputy Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (1993-1998), and still serves as a Special Consultant to the Commission.  He has published widely in the field, and has taught at the American University Washington College of Law. Professor Acevedo has taught the class on The Inter-American System of Human Rights Protection.

Professor Adeno Addis, J.S.D. is the W. Ray Forrester Professor of Public and Constitutional Law at Tulane Law School.  He has widely published in the fields of international law and legal theory.

Professor Dr. iur. Dr. h.c. Thomas Oppermann is a Professor of Law Emeritus at the University of Tübingen Faculty of Law.  He has published the standard treatise on European Law as well as many books and articles in the fields of public international law, international trade, constitutional law and the laws of culture and education.

Professor Dr. iur. Martin Nettesheim is a Professor of Law at the University of Tübingen Law School in the fields of German Public Law, Public European Community Law, International Law and International Political Theory and Director of the Tuebingen University Center for International Economic Law (TURCIEL).  He has publsihed widely in these and related fields.  He is teaching the class on International Economic Law and Human Rights.

Professor Dr. iur. Siegfried Wiessner is a Professor of Law and the Director of the Graduate Program in Intercultural Human Rights.  He has published widely in the fields of international law, constitutional law and jurisprudence; he lectured in the UN/UNITAR International Law Fellowship Programmes at The Hague and Tehran. With W. Michael Reisman, he has published the leading casebook on INTERNATIONAL LAW IN CONTEMPORARY PERSPECTIVE (Foundation Press, 2004).  He teaches Constitutional Law, Introduction to Human Rights Law and seminars on the Rule of Law and International Law in the 21st Century.

Professor John Makdisi, S.J.D. is a Professor of Law and the former Dean of St. Thomas University, under whose direction the LL.M. Program in Intercultural Human Rights was established.  He has written extensively on Islamic law and American property law.  His book-length article on The Islamic Origins of the Common Law, 77 N. CAR. L. REV. 1635 (1999), offers a startling new theory for connections between Islam and the West. Professor Makdisi served as dean of The University of Tulsa College of Law (1991-1994), Loyola University New Orleans School of Law (1996-1999), and St. Thomas University School of Law (1999-2003).  He teaches Property, and a seminar on Natural Law.

Professor Alfred Light, Ph.D. is a Professor of Law at St. Thomas University and the Director of its LL.M. Program in Environmental Sustainability.  He has published numerous books and articles in the areas of federalism and intergovernmental relations, constitutional law, and environmental law.  He is active in various bar associations and currently serves as the liaison of the American Bar Association's Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources to its Standing Committee on Specialization.  He teaches Civil Procedure, Environmental Law and Human Rights and the Environment.

Professor Lenora Ledwon, Ph.D. is a Professor of Law at St. Thomas University. She has published numerous articles and book chapters in the field of jurisprudence, law and literature, women’s rights, etc. She teaches Contracts, Evidence and Law and Literature.

Professor Amy Ronner, Ph.D. is a Professor of Law at St. Thomas University.  She is the creator, and has been, till 1999, also the Director of the St. Thomas University School of Law’s Appellate Litigation Clinic. She is well-published in her field with several books and articles. She teaches Constitutional Law and Wills and Trusts.

Professor John Min Kang, Ph.D. is a Professor of Law at St. Thomas University.  He holds a Ph.D. degree in Political Science from the University of Michigan and has published articles in the fields of constitutional law and legal philosophy.  He teaches Constitutional Law and Jurisprudence.

Other Potential Faculty

Applicants also have the right to choose a supervisor from outside the list provided above. The chosen supervising professor must be a scholar and expert in the field of applicant’s topic of dissertation, and he/she should hold the academic equivalent of a J.S.D. or Ph.D. degree him- or herself.  The J.S.D. Committee must approve the chosen supervisor. The applicant must submit a C.V. of the potential supervisor, his/her declaration of acceptance of supervision, and his/her contact information. 

Director

Professor Dr. iur. Siegfried Wiessner is a Professor of Law and the Director of the Graduate Program in Intercultural Human Rights. He has published widely in the field of international law, constitutional law and jurisprudence; he lectured in the UN/UNITAR International Law Fellowship Programmes at The Hague and Tehran, and has chaired the International Law Association’s Committee on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  With W. Michael Reisman, he has published the leading casebook on International Law in Contemporary Perspective (Foundation Press, 2004). He teaches Constitutional Law, International Law and Introduction to Human Rights Law.

Executive Director

Professor Dr. iur. Roza Pati is Professor of Law at St. Thomas University School of Law, Executive Director the LL.M./ J.S.D. Program in Intercultural Human Rights and Director of the Human Trafficking Academy. She is a Member of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, at the Vatican; Former Member of Parliament and Cabinet Member--Secretary of State for Youth and Women, in the government of Albania. She has written in the field of international law, international criminal law, human rights law and human trafficking law, including a book on Due Process and International Terrorism: An International Legal Analysis.