Dual Degree Programs

Journalism (JD/MA)

The School of Journalism and the School of Law offer an integrated program in which students may obtain both an M.A. degree in journalism and a J.D. degree in law. This program is especially suitable for students interested in enhancing their competencies, qualifications, and career options through the successful completion of two complementary professional programs. Although an M.A. degree in journalism normally requires two years of study, and a J.D. requires three, many students will be able to complete the full program in four years.

Application Procedure

Applicants to the dual degree program must submit formal applications for admission to the School of Law and to the School of Journalism, accompanied by a statement requesting permission to pursue the dual degree program. Students must meet the requirements for admission to both programs. Contact the School of Journalism and the School of Law for further information on admissions requirements. Students normally should declare an intent to enter both programs before entering the University. This request should be submitted before a student has substantially completed the requirements of either program. However, petitions requesting admission to the program from students at more advanced stages in either program may be considered.

Degree Requirement Summary

Requirements for the J.D. degree are met with 89 credit hours: 45 hours of required courses and 44 hours of elective courses. Students in the J.D.-M.A. program satisfy those 89 hours with 83 hours of credit in courses taken at the School of Law and 6 hours of credit in courses taken at the School of Journalism.

Requirements for the M.A. degree in journalism are met with 37 credit hours: 31 hours in the School of Journalism (including the capstone requirement) and 6 elective credit hours in the law school. The detailed program of study in journalism is subject to approval by the student’s advisor in the School of Journalism and by the Director of Graduate Studies.

School of Law Required Courses

(89 hours required for graduation)

1st Year

5010, 5015 Civil Procedure (5)
5020, 5025 Contracts (6)
5035 Criminal Law (4)
5050 Property (5)
5070 Torts (5)
5080 Legal Research and Writing (2)
5085 Advocacy and Research (2)
5095 Lawyering (2)

2nd Year

5220 Constitutional Law (4)
5260 Evidence (4)

2nd or 3rd Year

5240 Criminal Procedure (3)
5280 Professional Responsibility (3)

Requirements consist of both required and elective courses

Law School Electives

Students at the law school are required to take 89 credit hours to receive the J.D. degree: 45 hours of required courses and 44 hours of elective credits. Students in the dual degree program may count up to six credits of course work taken under course names and numbers assigned by the School of Journalism toward the 44 hours of elective credit required for the J.D. degree. As explained below, students in the dual degree program also may undertake a joint research project and receive elective research credit at both the law school and the School of Journalism.

School of Journalism Required Courses

12 hours required for graduation

J104 News Practicum (3 No CR) or
J319 Prin. of Strat. Comms (3)
J351 Broadcast News I (3)
J401 Mass Media (3)
J408 Research Methods (3) or
409 Qualitative Methods (3)
J304 Communications Law (3) or
618L Mass Media Law (3)

Note: Students may not receive credit for both J304 Law and 618L Mass Media Law

Note: Any student who does not achieve a 77.50 GPA in the fall semester will be required to take 512L, Legal Reasoning. Those students in Legal Reasoning will not take Advocacy & Research until their second year. This course is designed to assist students in meeting the graduation requirements.

Journalism Model and Electives

Master’s students are required to choose one of the following models from the Master’s Handbook for concentrated study: Advertising, Broadcast News, Editing, International, Magazine, Media Management, New Media, News Media & Society, Photojournalism, Public Policy Journalism, Reporting/Writing, or Strategic Communication. Students may also create an individually structured model.

Each model consists of both model core and elective courses. The total number of model core and elective credits required for completion of the Masters model depends upon the model chosen by the student. Dual degree students may choose any model option, however the Environmental Reporting model is not recommended because it already requires a large number of hours. Students interested in the Environmental Reporting model may wish to select some of the courses from that model and incorporate them into an individually structured model.

Master’s Capstone

Students are required to complete and defend an M.A. project or thesis in journalism. Students in the dual degree program may choose to undertake the M.A. project or thesis in conjunction with 644L Research at the law school. If a student makes this choice, the student=s thesis committee must include the law faculty member overseeing 644L Research. The thesis committee may also include other members of the law faculty. Students should consult the Master’s Program Handbook from the School of Journalism for further explanation and rules about the M.A. thesis or project.

The law faculty member overseeing 644L Research shall be responsible for determining whether the project or thesis satisfies the requirements of 644L Research, considering those 3 requirements as they apply to all other law students. Generally, credit under 644L Research is appropriate only for a paper of substantial length on a topic related to law.

At the discretion of the law faculty member overseeing 644L Research, the upper-level writing section at the School of Law may be waived for students who use this course to successfully complete a joint journalism thesis or project. In exercising his or her discretion, the law faculty member should determine whether the joint 644L Research/thesis or project satisfies the regular requirements for an upper-level writing section at the School of Law.

Sample Course of Study

Year 1:

First year required law courses (31 credit hours)

Year 2:

Second year required law courses (8)
Two elective law courses (6)
Journalism Program Core (8-9)
Two courses from journalism Model Core Requirement (6)

Year 3:

Second or third year required law courses (6)
Journalism Model Core Reqs. (6)
Law electives (18)
J472 MA Project Seminar/J474 MAThesis Seminar (1)

Year 4:

Law electives (14) [incl. 644L Research]
Journalism electives (law credit) (6)
J478 Area Problem/J490 Research (9) [with 644L Research (3) counting toward capstone research]

Policy

  1. Law students who receive credit under the dual degree program for taking journalism courses may not receive credit for taking other classes outside the School of Law.
  2. Occasionally, students entering the M.A. program in journalism are required to strengthen their undergraduate experience by taking extra course work to round out their graduate programs. The most commonly required additional courses are American government, American history, and economics. These courses do not count as part of the Master’s program.
  3. A dual degree candidate who subsequently decides to pursue only one of these degrees must complete degree requirements subject to the same rules as a student not pursuing a dual degree.
    Law students who receive credit under the dual degree program for taking economics courses may not receive credit for taking other classes outside the School of Law.
  4. Student honors and class ranks at the School of Law will be computed on classes enrolled in as law courses.
  5. The School of Law cannot award credit for any class taken before matriculation at the School of Law. Dual degree candidates must therefore enroll at the School of Law before taking any journalism courses to be counted toward the J.D. degree.
  6. The School of Journalism and the School of Law reserve the right to limit participation in the program, including dismissal. Those interested are encouraged to submit a request for permission to participate in the program, along with applications for admission, at the earliest possible time.
  7. The listing of courses does not constitute a binding commitment that the courses will be offered during the student’s course of study.
  8. Students in the dual-degree program are subject to the same rules and regulations that apply to all students at the School of Law and the School of Journalism.