Top 10 Schools for Joint Law Degree Programs

Many universities offer joint degree programs, which allow students to obtain a J.D. and another graduate degree simultaneously.  The concepts and skills taught in law school provide a solid basis for a legal career, but cannot encompass the entire body of knowledge necessary for work in a specific field.  Augmenting the law school curriculum with information directly relevant to the chosen field of study can provide critical additional knowledge.  Having a dual degree also provides strong competitive advantage in the job market. Here are some of the best dual degree programs in the United States:

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Best dual law degree programs in the United States

10) Cornell University

Cornell Law School offers the following joint degrees: 3-year and 4-year Master of Business Administration, Master of Public Administration, Master of Regional Planning, Master of Industrial and Labor Relations, and Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology. Students can also apply for joint degrees in other fields, as long as they are separately accepted to both graduate school programs.


9) University of California, Berkeley

Students at Boalt Law School may obtain joint Master’s degrees in: Asian Studies, Economics, Jurisprudence and Social Policy (Ph.D. also available), Business Administration, City and Regional Planning, Journalism, Public Policy, and Social Welfare.


8) University of Virginia

Virginia Law offers several dual degree programs within various schools at the University of Virginia.  J.D./M.A. programs include English, Government or Foreign Affairs, History, and Philosophy.


7) Georgetown University

Georgetown Law Center sponsors joint degree programs with six Georgetown graduate schools: Business Administration, Public Policy Institute, Foreign Service, the Department of Government, the Department of Philosophy, and the Law Center.  The Law Center also offers a joint J.D./Masters of Public Health through the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.  Except for the Johns Hopkins J.D./M.P.H., all Georgetown joint degree programs are accelerated, allowing students to achieve two degrees in only four years.


6) University of Michigan

The Law School at the University of Michigan emphasizes an interdisciplinary focus among its classes, students, and faculty.  In addition to sponsoring several interdisciplinary externships and research opportunities, Michigan Law offers 14 dual degree programs within the university.  Potential joint degrees include the common J.D./M.B.A. and J.D./Economics Ph.D., as well as several more unusual pairings, including: Law and Japanese Studies, Law and Modern Middle Eastern & North African Studies, and Law and Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies.


5) Columbia University

Columbia offers joint degree programs with nine of its other schools: Arts and Sciences; Business; Journalism; Public Health; Architecture, Planning, and Preservation; International and Public Affairs; Arts; Social Work; and Public and International Affairs.  Degrees obtained through these programs range from a three-year J.D./M.B.A. to a J.D./Ph.D.


4) New York University

The New York University School of Law offers several joint degree programs within NYU, and also several opportunities to obtain a dual degree through other universities.  NYU joint degree programs include: International Law, Taxation, Economics, French, History, Philosophy, Politics, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Business, Public Administration, Urban Planning, and Social Work.

Students can also earn a JD at NYU while simultaneously earning an M.P.P. or M.P.A. at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, a Legal Law Broker degree from the National University of Singapore, or an M.P.A. from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.  Additionally, NYU and the Melbourne Law School at the University of Melbourne offer a Dual J.D./J.D. Program, through which students may earn J.D.’s in both the United States and Australia.  Students can also choose to earn a J.D. from Melbourne, and a Master of Laws degree from NYU.


3) Stanford University

Stanford features 28 joint degree programs, and also gives students the opportunity to design their own dual degree programs.  The joint J.D./M.B.A. (Master’s of Business Administration) at Stanford is one of the oldest joint degree programs in the country, and esteemed alumni include the former Vice President and Deputy General Counsel for Google.


2) University of Pennsylvania

Penn Law provides a wide array of joint degree opportunities.  Like Duke, Penn offers several three year joint J.D./Master’s programs.  These include: Business, Criminology, Education Policy, Higher Education, Environmental Studies, Public Administration, International Studies, Bioethics, and Social Policy.  Penn Law also offers several other longer Master’s or Ph.D. joint degrees, as well as international joint degrees with the University of Hong Kong, and Sciences Po in Paris.  If none of those programs are suitable, Penn Law also allows students to create their own programs with departments that do not have formal joint degree programs.


1) Duke University

More students are enrolled in dual-degree programs at Duke Law School than at any other top law school – 25% of students at Duke pursue joint degrees.  Duke encourages high enrollment in dual degree programs by offering highly accelerated degrees, and by streamlining the application process.


Joint law degree Application Details

Students pursuing a joint law degree and master’s degree begin their first year in June (rather than in August like J.D. students), allowing them to graduate in only three years.  Most other highly-ranked programs require four years to obtain a J.D./M.A.  Additionally, most schools require students to apply to law programs and other graduate programs separately.

Duke allows students to simply include a statement of interest with their Law School applications, exempting them from applying separately to graduate school and from taking the GRE.