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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
The dual degree program is administered through the Office of Student Life. General questions can be sent to
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Admissions procedures at each school are independent. Students must apply to and gain admission to both schools separately. However, the Law School is happy to waive the JD application fee for applicants who are simultaneously applying to one of the formalized dual degree programs; just email us to let us know. You must check with individual programs to ascertain their application requirements, including any standardized testing that may be required. (The Law School does not waive its LSAT requirement.)
Each school will count a specified number of credits from the other school. This double counting results in a 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 apply up to 12 credits taken in graduate-level courses.
No. Law students are free to apply to another program during their first, or sometimes even second, year of law school (with the exception of PhD programs, where students typically do one or two years in the PhD program before starting at the 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 in Law School, the second year in the companion school, and the final terms 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 that they can accommodate your preference. Students who wish to complete the JD/MA - World Politics dual degree must take six graduate level credits in Political Science prior to applying for admission to the master's 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.
No. The American Bar Association, our accrediting organization, prohibits the granting of credit for work completed prior to enrollment in a JD program. For this reason, it is often preferable to begin a dual program at the Law School to assure that you can take full advantage of the double counting of credits.
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 when classes are taken in both schools, tuition will be assessed at either the Law School or the companion school rate, whichever is higher.
Simultaneous completion of both degrees is the Law School's default expectation. Students are advised to check with both programs regarding specific graduation requirements.
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.
Except in very rare circumstances, only law courses may be taken during the first year of law school.
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 Enrollment in Classes Outside the Law School page here.
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.
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.
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 63 graded credit hours.
Academic regulations make it difficult for a dual degree student 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. Summer jobs and school-year pro bono activities are other great ways to gain practical experience.
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.
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.
Yes. Students interested in such programs should contact
While some people want to pursue a dual degree simply out of academic interest, most students are thinking about the potential career benefits that might accrue. Those vary, of course, depending on the degree. Our most common dual degree is the JD/MBA, from which people often pursue corporate law placements in the largest firms, or work in consulting firms; graduates with a JD/MPH might pursue work at a private sector law firm working on health care regulations, or for the Food & Drug Administration, or in an industry support organization; those with a JD/MPP are well-suited to a wide array of positions at nonprofits or in the government. Whether a degree beyond the JD makes sense for you will depend on your specific career goals, but if you’re so inclined, there are perhaps two other universities in the nation with equivalent strength in other departments and schools. To put it mildly, it is hard to do better than Michigan when it comes to interdisciplinary work.
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