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Dual Degrees Frequently Asked Questions

Below are a few questions that are frequently asked by students who are interested in pursuing a dual degree. If your question is not listed here, please contact us at law.dual.degrees@umich.edu.

 

Whom should I contact if I have just general questions?
The dual degree program is administered through the Office of Student Affairs. General questions can be sent to law.dual.degrees@umich.edu.

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How do I apply?
Admissions procedures at each school are independent. Students must apply to and gain admission to both schools separately. The Law School will waive the application fee of any student applying to two Michigan departments simultaneously for one of the formalized programs. Some programs do not require that you take the GRE if you have already taken the LSAT; you must check with individual programs to ascertain their requirements.

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How can I earn two degrees in a dual program in less time than it would take to earn the degrees separately?
Each school will count a specified number of credits from the other school. This double-counting accounts for the time and cost savings. While the number of law credits that may be applied toward the external degree varies from school to school, the Law School will always allow up to 12 credits taken in Michigan graduate level courses to be applied toward the JD.

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Must I apply to both programs/schools at the same time?
No. Law students are free to apply to another program during their first, or sometimes even second, year of law school. If you do apply and are admitted to both programs in the same admissions cycle, you must be sure to check with each separate admitting office about enrollment schedules. Typically, dual degree students will spend the first year of the program in the Law School, the second year in the companion school, and the final two years (sometimes less, depending on the specific program) taking a combination of credits in both schools. Whatever schedule best fits your goals, be sure to check with the admitting offices of both schools to ensure they can accommodate your preferred enrollment schedule. Students who wish to complete the JD/MA - World Politics dual degree must take 6 graduate level credits in Political Science prior to applying for admission to the master's program.

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Does it matter whether I start my dual degree in the law school or in the other graduate program?
It might. It is possible for some programs that, by starting in the Law School, you will be able to complete the two degrees in a shorter period than if you started in the other graduate program. This varies among programs, and you will need specific advice for your situation. Further, be aware that if you are admitted to both the law school and an external program, you will need to seek permission from the Law School Admissions Office to begin in any term other than the one for which you were admitted. That change is at the discretion of the Admissions Office and will not occur automatically.

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Can I enroll in a dual degree program after completing requirements for one of the degrees?
No. The dual degree programs are not open to students who have already completed the requirements for one of the degrees.

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Can I count credits from another U-M unit earned prior to starting at the Law school?
No. The American Bar Association, our accrediting organization, prohibits the granting of credit for work completed prior to enrollment in a JD program.

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How does tuition work?
If classes are taken exclusively at one school in any given semester, tuition is paid to that school at that school's rate. However, in any semester where classes are taken in both schools, tuition will be assessed at either the Law School or the companion school rate, whichever is higher.

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Must I complete the requirements for both degrees at the same time?
Simultaneous completion of the degrees is not necessary from the Law School's standpoint. However, it is a requirement for some of the other graduate units, such as the Business School. Students are advised to check with the companion school regarding its specific graduation requirements.

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Are there any special forms I must complete as a dual degree student prior to graduation from one or both of the units?
At the start of a dual degree program, law students are required to complete a Dual Degree Declaration Form. In addition, the Law School requires all students to complete various forms just prior to graduation. Other graduate and professional schools have similar requirements. In addition to those forms required by particular graduate units, any student obtaining a JD and one of the Rackham degrees must complete a Dual/Joint Degree Election Form prior to graduation.

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May I take classes in the graduate unit during my first year of law school?
No. Except in very rare circumstances, only law courses may be taken during the first year of law school.

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How many credits will the Law School count from the graduate unit?
The Law School will count up to 12 credits from another University of Michigan graduate unit. In order for a course to be counted toward the JD requirements, it must be taken after the student begins law studies and the student must earn at least a B- (or its equivalent) in the course. Instructions on how to request Law School credit for non-law courses can be found on the Dual Degrees page on CTools.

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What if, after starting a dual degree program, I decide to "drop out" and only pursue the JD?
The Law School counts up to 12 credits taken in a companion school even if a student is not registered for a dual degree, and imposes no penalty on a student who opts to discontinue a dual degree program.

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Are the 12 credits from the U-M graduate unit calculated into my Law School GPA?
No. The 12 credits from the graduate school unit are counted on a mandatory pass/fail basis. No honor points are earned; nor is the grade calculated as part of the Law School GPA.

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How do the mandatory pass/fail credits from the other graduate unit affect requirements for Law School honors recognition?
The double counted pass/fail credits from the companion program decrease the number of pass/fail credits available to students through the Law School. For Law School honors recognition (a final GPA of 3.4 and above), a student must have a minimum of 62 graded credit hours.

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Can dual degree students also complete a Law School externship for credit?
Academic regulations make it difficult for dual degree students to do an externship. However, practical or hands-on opportunities may be available for credit through the Law School's clinical program or the companion school.

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How does the Law school's "64 credit rule" impact students pursuing a dual degree?
By ABA rule, all law school graduates must have 64 credit hours in "regularly scheduled law classes." First year courses, upper class courses, law courses taken outside of Michigan Law, seminars, and most clinical law courses count toward fulfilling this requirement. Independent research, externships, and non-law courses do not.

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How does the Law School's "residency rule" affect dual degree students?
Law students must complete six full time terms or their equivalent in law school. A full time term requires carriage throughout the term and completion of at least 10 credit hours with a grade of D or better.

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Is it possible to do an "ad hoc" dual degree program either at U-M or with another institution?
Yes. Students interested in such programs should contact law.dual.degrees@umich.edu.

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