Medicine and Law

Combined Degrees

Some students want to explore areas beyond the law, whether it be to maximize their skillsets for future careers, gain in-depth knowledge in a second subject matter, or simply to broaden their minds. 

Combined degree programs allow students to pursue two degrees simultaneously, taking advantage of synergies between degree requirements while gaining significant exposure to a second area of study. 

At Iowa, JD students are able to pursue combined degree programs with most graduate and professional programs at the University. Cross-crediting policies allow students to receive the JD and another graduate or professional degree in a shorter time than would be necessary if the two degrees were pursued independently.

Dexter Golinghorst '20

Meet Alum Dexter Golinghorst


Dexter started his undergraduate career as a pre-pharmacy student but quickly became interested in the laws, regulations, and policies that govern healthcare and the Affordable Care Act’s effect on the industry as he continued his studies.

Combined Degree Options

1. Established combined degree options include:

2. Non-traditional combined degree options include: 

  • Accounting
  • Art History
  • Communication Studies
  • Economics
  • Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Higher Education
  • History
  • Journalism
  • Library and Information Science
  • Political Science
  • Social Work

JD students are free to pursue a combined degree with almost every graduate or professional program at the University of Iowa. Please contact us if you are interested in additional information about pursuing a combined degree.

Applying for a Combined Degree

To pursue a combined degree, students must apply to and be accepted into both the JD program at the College of Law and another graduate or professional program at the University of Iowa.

Students typically seek admission to the second degree-granting program after matriculation at the College of Law by applying to the graduate program of interest during the first year of law school. 

In some cases it is possible to apply to both programs simultaneously. Similarly, students who have already begun graduate work at the University of Iowa may apply to the College of Law. 

Once students have been accepted to the JD program and another graduate or professional program at the University of Iowa, students must obtain the permission of the Associate Dean for Student Affairs or Dean of the College of Law to be classified as a Combined Degree candidate. 

The College of Law recommends that any prospective student interested in pursuing a joint degree contact the admissions offices of both programs to discuss the proposed program of study.

Contact Iowa Law Admissions

A student who seeks a combined degree 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 granted combined degree status.  Likewise, a combined degree candidate who terminates work toward either degree may typically continue to work toward the other degree.

Prospective combined degree students must submit separate applications to the College of Law and the graduate program of interest.  Prospective combined degree students must take the 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).  Prospective students should indicate to the Admissions Office of both programs that they are applying as a combined degree student to confirm the admissions requirements for the other program.  Admission to the College of Law does not guarantee admission to the other graduate program, and vice versa.

Students interested in a combined degree at the beginning of their legal studies should indicate they are seeking a combined degree 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 combined 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 combined degree program should contact the main UI Office of Admissions at 107 Calvin Hall, 800-553-IOWA.

Admissions information for the JD program is available on the admissions page.  For information about other graduate programs of interest, please visit the Academic Units Admissions Departments.

Students enrolled in combined degrees must satisfy the usual hours and course requirements that all other students must satisfy for each degree separately.  However, as an integrated program of study, combined degree candidates have the option of crediting some courses towards both degrees.  These courses are typically electives in each discipline that satisfy the requirements for each degree separately.  As an example, a student enrolled as a JD/MPH candidate may be able to count both the Family Law and Introduction to the US Healthcare System courses toward the graduation requirements of both the JD and MPH degrees.  

In general, a combined degree student may apply up to 12 non-law credits earned in the student’s second program of study at the University of Iowa toward the JD provided that the courses satisfy the College of Law policy on non-law courses.  Students considering a combined degree should keep in mind that the first-year program in the College of Law consists of required courses and usually may not take courses outside the College of Law that first year.

The amount of cross-crediting for the student’s second degree varies by program.  Established programs specify the number of credits that a student may cross-count.  For example, the JD/MPH degree permits up to 12 credit hours of specific College of Law courses to count toward the MPH graduation requirements.  See the specific program requirements (linked above) for additional details.  Outside of established programs, all other degrees offered through the Graduate College, which includes most MA or MS degrees, allow students to count up to 6 credit hours of College of Law courses toward the non-law degree.  Details on the Graduate College policy may be found in the Graduate College Manual of Rules and Regulations.  In general, prospective students should check with the graduate or professional program 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.

Additional details about College of Law graduation requirements and other policies may be found in the Student Handbook.

This policy applies to students enrolled in a combined-degree program seeking a JD degree and any other graduate program whose tuition is lower than that of the College of Law.  

Such a combined-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 combined-degree students pursuing a JD degree will be assessed at least 6 semesters of Law School tuition.