J.D./M.A. Joint Degree Program

The faculty of the Department of Political Science and the Levin College of Law offers a joint degree program culminating in a Master of Arts in Political Science and a Juris Doctor degree. A joint degree program culminating in a Master of Arts in Political Science-International Relations and a Juris Doctor degree is also available. The Joint program enables students to earn both the J.D. and the M.A. in less time that would be required to earn both degrees consecutively. Full time students who make satisfactory progress can usually earn both degrees in four years.

Students in the Law – Political Science Joint Degree program are permitted, but not required, to pursue a companion certificate program in Public Affairs, Political Campaigning, or International Development Policy and Administration. Information on those programs is available from the Graduate Coordinator in the Department of Political Science.

  • Candidates for the joint degree program must meet the entrance requirements for and be admitted to both the College of Law and the Department of Political Science. These requirements include both the LSAT and the GRE. Students are encouraged to announce their intent of seeking a joint degree as soon as possible.
  • The joint degree program is not open to students who have already earned one of the degrees.
  • Students who have at least three semesters remaining in either degree program may be considered for admission to the joint degree program.
  • The Department of Political Science will allow twelve hours of appropriate law school law courses to be credited toward the M.A. degree. The twelve credits selected from the law curriculum must be approved by the Political Science Graduate Coordinator upon the recommendation of the student’s supervisory committee. The College of Law will permit twelve hours of credit earned in Political Science graduate courses to be credited toward the J.D.
  • Most students spend their first year in either the College of Law or in the Political Science graduate program, their second year in the other program, and their last two years taking courses from both programs. Students admitted to the College of Law and the Master of Arts in Political Science program and electing to spend the first three semesters in the College of Law must commence study in the Master of Arts in Political Science program no later than the beginning of the fourth semester. Students admitted to the College of Law and the Master of Arts in Political Science program and electing to spend the first semester in the Political Science program must commence study in the College of Law no later than the beginning of the third semester.
  • Political Science courses which are to be credited toward the J.D. degree must carry a grade of “B” or higher but will not be counted in the College of Law grade point average. College of Law courses which are to be credited toward the MA degree must carry a grade of “C” or higher but will not be counted in the grade point average of the Department of Political Science.
  • Students enrolled in the joint degree program must complete the College of Law’s advanced writing requirement. The Department of Political Science offers both a thesis-option and a non-thesis option in its M.A. program. The M.A. thesis may fulfill the College of Law’s Advanced Writing Requirement if so certified by a member of the faculty of the College of Law. The non-thesis option in the Political Science does not fulfill the College of Law’s Advanced Writing Requirement.
  • Students enrolled in the joint degree program may receive one of the degrees separately provided they have satisfied all of the requirements for that degree as if they had not been a joint degree candidate.
  • Students who enroll in the joint degree program but do not complete the program may receive credit toward the College of Law degree under the graduate level course option for a maximum of two courses, not to exceed 6 semester credits, taken from the graduate curriculum of the Department of Political Science. Although the grade is not computed in the student’s grade point average, a grade of “B” or higher must be earned to receive credit hours for the course(s). Likewise Political Science students who drop out of the joint program may receive credit for two courses with grade of “C” or better, not to exceed 6 semester credits, taken from the Juris Doctor curriculum.
  • Students in the joint program will be eligible for the graduate assistantships and fellowships in the Department of Political Science on the same basis as other M.A. students, subject to the guidelines and restrictions set by the Department.
  • A student’s graduate supervisory committee in Political Science is normally comprised of three or four members. One of those members may be from the College of Law.
  • The program will begin Fall Semester, 1999. Students beginning in either the M.A. or J.D. program in Fall 1998 will be permitted to apply for admission to joint degree, consistent with other provisions of this agreement.
  • This proposal does not supersede the curriculum requirements of any student enrolled in the Joint program in Law and Public Affairs prior to the Fall Semester, 1999.