At Iowa, JD students are able to develop joint degree programs with most graduate colleges and departments in the University. The cross-crediting feature of the joint degree program allows students to receive the JD and another graduate/professional degree by taking six to 24 hours (equivalent to one or two semesters) less course work than would be necessary if the two degrees were pursued independently.
Joint Degree Objectives
The College of Law places few restrictions on the University of Iowa graduate department/college in which a student might pursue graduate work while pursuing a law degree. The "relatedness" of the dual degree objective is the main criterion; the joint degree student should bring to one discipline the insights and experience gained in the other. Currently, the most popular joint degrees include:
- JD/MBA (Management)
- JD/MPH (Public Health)
- JD/MHA (Health Management & Policy)
- JD/MA or MS (Urban & Regional Planning)
- JD/MA (Journalism)
- JD/PhD (Communication Studies)
Other graduate departments/colleges in which law students have enrolled over the years include:
- Civil and Environmental Engineering
- Higher Education
- Library and Information Science
- Political Science
- Social Work
Please contact us if you are interested in a program that is not listed above.
How Does it Work?
To pursue joint degrees under the Joint Degree Program, students must apply to and be accepted to both the College of Law and the graduate college of interest. Students have the option of seeking admission to the Joint Degree Program after matriculation at the College of Law by applying to the graduate program of interest during the first year of law school. Similarly, students who have already begun graduate work at the University of Iowa may apply to the College of Law and seek admission to the Joint Degree Program at that point.
Because the Joint Degree Program is available in so many graduate departments/colleges at the University of Iowa, the College of Law has not created special "Joint Degree Program" courses or programs of study.
In essence, the cross-credited courses are elective courses in each discipline, and Joint Degree Program students must satisfy the usual hours and course requirements that all other students must satisfy for each degree separately. Students considering the Joint Degree Program should keep in mind that the first year program in the College of Law consists of required courses, and so they may not take courses outside the College of Law that first year.
A total of six credits consisting of a combination of non-law courses and co-curricular enrollments may count towards graduation for all law students. A joint degree student may apply up to an additional six, for a total of 12, non-law credits earned in another UI College as part of a joint degree program toward graduation.
Although a joint degree student is permitted to count an additional six non-law credits towards graduation, the first six are still subject to the same, six-credit rule that applies to all law students. Thus, for example, if a joint degree student earns 12 non-law credits as part of the joint degree, but chooses to count six credits of co-curricular credit towards gradation, only the second six non-law credits can count toward graduation. Moreover, a joint degree student cannot count more than six co-curricular credits towards graduation. A joint degree student can count the extra six non-law credits toward graduation only if the non-law degree is earned before or simultaneously with the JD degree: i.e., even if enrolled in a joint degree program, if the student has not completed the other degree requirements before graduating from law school, the extra six credit hours cannot be counted towards the law degree.
Not all graduate departments/colleges are willing to take as many as 12 hours of law. Their decision is largely governed by the number of required courses they have in their own discipline and the number of elective hours they permit in any outside department. Prospective students should check with the graduate department/college of interest to determine the number of law hours it accepts for cross-crediting purposes and other rules or restrictions concerning cross-crediting with the College of Law.
A student who seeks admission to the Joint Degree Program and obtains admission into one college but not the other may enter the college to which the student is admitted. However, the student will not be admitted to the Joint Degree Program. Likewise, a Joint Degree Program student who terminates work toward either degree after entering the Joint Degree Program may continue to work toward the other degree.
Law Joint Degree Student Tuition Assessment Policy
This policy applies to students enrolled in a joint-degree program seeking a JD degree and any other graduate program whose tuition is lower than that of the College of Law. Such a joint-degree student will be assessed tuition at the College of Law rate except for any semester or summer session in which the student is not enrolled for any Law credits and none of the credits being earned in other colleges that semester or term will be applied toward the student’s JD degree. All joint-degree students pursuing a JD degree will be assessed at least 6 semesters of Law school tuition.
Prospective Joint Degree Program students must submit separate applications to the College of Law and the graduate program of interest. Therefore, prospective Joint Degree Program students must take both LSAT for admission to the College of Law and comply with all College of Law admissions requirements. They also must meet the requirements and the testing requirements of the other graduate programs (e.g., GRE or the GMAT, depending on the graduate degree at issue). Admission to the College of Law does not guarantee admission to the other graduate program, and vice versa.
Students interested in the Joint Degree Program should indicate they are seeking the Joint Degree Program with Law on their applications. Students who are admitted to both colleges will receive separate letters of admission from those colleges as well as an official notification of being admitted to the Joint Degree Program from the UI Office of Admissions at Calvin Hall. Students who are admitted to both colleges but do not receive official notification of being admitted to the Joint Degree Program should contact the main UI Office of Admissions at 107 Calvin Hall, 800-553-IOWA.