FAQs

What are the benefits of earning an advanced degree in Judicial Studies?

Our students and graduates report many benefits. Some simply want to be better judges. Others want additional credentials to support appointment or election efforts. Some aspire to write or teach as a "next career" or as they move into retirement. Others are lifelong learners. However, most report the biggest benefit is the intimate and peer-intensive learning experience, and being able to network and develop lasting relationships with faculty and judicial colleagues from all over the world. Many students describe the experience as "rejuvenating".

How many judges have completed the program?

As of Spring 2017, the program has graduated over 100 judges with the Masters of Judicial Studies and 16 with the Ph.D. in Judicial Studies. Several students have even completed both types of the Masters and the Ph.D.

How long does it take to complete the Masters in Judicial Studies?

Time to completion will vary according to your availability to attend classes and the number of classes you take each year. Typically, students can expect to spend three-to-four years to earn their Master's.

How long does it take to complete the Ph.D. in Judicial Studies?

The Ph.D. requires a substantial amount of work, and is a very serious personal, professional, and educational commitment. Students can expect to spend five-to-six years beyond their Master's to complete additional coursework and their dissertation.

Is there a residency requirement?

Yes. Students taking University of Nevada, Reno courses (i.e., 700 level courses) are required to attend them on campus (with few potential exceptions for advanced Ph.D. students). They are offered in two-week blocks in the Summer (July-August) and Winter (January). NJC courses or NCJFCJ courses that qualify for credit (i.e., 600 level courses) are usually four days in length and offered in Reno, but occasionally offered "on the road" as well. Regardless, in-person attendance is mandatory.

How much will it cost to complete my degree?

Aside from tuition and fees charged by the University (new estimated totals coming soon), students not living in the Reno area should also budget for housing, travel, meals, etc. for when they are completing residency courses. Overall, most students report costs to complete the program are very reasonable.

Where should I stay when I'm in Reno for classes?

We are happy to provide suggestions for hotels close to campus that are within walking distance. Reno now also offers several non-smoking/non-gaming hotel options as well.

Are there scholarships available?

Depending on enrollment and student need, we do have several sources of funding for limited scholarships. Please contact program faculty/staff for more information.

What other sources of funding might be available to help me earn my degree?

In some instances, the National Judicial College and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges might have scholarship money to support attendance of their programs. Please contact them directly about that option. Also, the State Justice Institute has funded students in the past (visit www.sji.gov). Lastly, some judges have arranged funding support through their court training funds, administrative office of the courts, court improvement programs, etc.

What is the relationship between the University of Nevada, Reno Judicial Studies Program, the National Judicial College and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges?

They are completely separate entities with their own administration, funding sources, mission, vision, faculty/staff, etc. The Judicial Studies Program lives within the University, which grants the MJS/Ph.D. degrees and is operated by University faculty/staff. The National Judicial College (NJC) is a not-for-profit organization that is headquartered on the University campus and typically focuses on educational opportunities for judges hearing criminal and civil cases. Until recently, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) was also headquartered on campus, but relocated to downtown Reno for additional space. The NCJFCJ is also a not-for-profit, and focuses on training, technical assistance, research, and policy development in the area of juvenile and family law (e.g., dependency, juvenile justice, domestic violence, etc.). Both the NJC and NCJFCJ are affiliates of the University, and are instrumental partners and collaborators with the University in the area of judicial education and justice research. Together, the presence of these three unique but allied institutions in one locale contribute to the University/Northern Nevada being considered by many to be the judicial education epicenter of the nation.

I'm curious about what has been done before for theses and dissertations. Is there a list I can review?

Yes. The program handbook has a list of thesis and dissertation titles. You can request full copies of these works via the library or through our program office.

Where do I go for more information?

The Judicial Studies Program Handbook is your primary source for information about all aspects of the program, and it is updated each calendar year. If for some reason you have a question not answered in the handbook, please do contact program faculty/staff as noted on our homepage. We are here to help.