A joint degree program allows you to complete two graduate degrees concurrently in less time than it takes to finish each program individually. As a specified number of credit hours apply toward both degrees, you also pay less in overall tuition by combining programs.
Before beginning a joint degree program, both full-time and part-time law students must complete the required first-year curriculum and achieve a minimum grade point average of 3.00 in those courses. Full-time students earn 28 credits the first year, while part-time students must earn at least 28 credits within the first three semesters of the law program.
Traditional JD students must complete 86 credit hours to graduate from the College of Law. However, under the joint degree program, you earn the JD degree after completing a minimum of 76 credit hours. The College of Law applies up to 10 credits toward your JD degree for work completed in the other graduate degree program. Credit hours are eligible to be applied only after you complete the required first year JD curriculum described above. A Joint Program Coordinating Committee determines which courses offered by each program count for joint credit. A joint degree student may not receive credit for courses that create a redundancy in coursework.
You must be independently accepted by the college offering the desired graduate degree and meet all admission requirements for that college. If you are a full-time student, you should apply the summer prior to the second year of law school. If you are a part-time student, you should apply the spring semester of your second year.
A copy of your first-year law transcript and a cover letter requesting admission to the joint degree program also must be submitted to Assistant Dean Diana White in the College of Law, (312) 362-8537 or firstname.lastname@example.org, and you will need to schedule a meeting with her to discuss the program curriculum. Your full name, student identification number, mailing address, email address and phone number should be included in your letter. You should submit the same letter to the appropriate adviser in the other college you are applying to and schedule a meeting to discuss the curriculum. The Joint Degree Coordinating Committee also will need a copy of your letter.
Combined Credits and Expenses
Full-time joint degree students generally complete the program in three or four years. Part-time applicants generally complete the joint degree program in four or five years. You may accelerate the program by taking classes in the summer or by taking more courses during the academic year. By doing so, you may potentially complete both programs one-half year earlier.
Once enrolled in a joint degree program, you no longer pay the College of Law package tuition; you pay by the credit hour for law classes and classes taken in the other program. If you are receiving financial aid at the time you reclassify to the joint degree program, you should be able to extend your award through to the completion of both degrees.
You must meet the grading standards of the College of Law and the respective graduate degree program in order to remain in good standing. Grades are recorded on your transcript under the college in which the courses are taken, and the combined degree is recorded after you graduate. If you are dismissed from either program, the Joint Program Coordinating Committee may permit you to continue studies in the other program. You must satisfy the normal program requirements of the other school to receive the degree; no double counting of credits is permitted after a dismissal from one college.
Leaves of Absence/Withdrawal
You must receive permission from the Joint Degree Coordinating Committee to take a leave of absence from the joint degree program. A leave of absence is granted for a maximum of one year. If you do not enroll in classes after one year, you will be permanently withdrawn from both programs and only may re-enroll by applying to the admission offices of both colleges as a new student.
To withdraw from a joint degree program, you must receive permission from the Joint Degree Coordinating Committee. You cannot withdraw by not attending classes or by notifying professors. In most cases, a withdrawal indicates that you no longer intent to enroll in classes either at the College of Law or at the college offering the graduate degree program.
To receive the joint degree, you must graduate from both schools on the same date, in the same semester/quarter and in the same year. Double counting of credits occurs only after you concurrently complete both programs.
For a December graduation, all requirements must be completed at the end of the fall semester and fall quarter. For a spring graduation, all non-law requirements must be completed at the end of the winter quarter and all law requirements at the end of the spring semester. If these requirements are not met, you will not be eligible to graduate, cannot be certified for admission to the Bar, and cannot sit for the bar examinations.