Is a Dual Degree Right for You?

Many law students find that their goals are best served by earning a degree in another field. Law students are free to apply to another program in their first, or sometimes even their second, year of law school (with the exception of PhD programs, where students usually do one or two years in the PhD program before starting law school). 

Typically, dual degree students will spend the first year at Michigan Law, the second year in the companion school, and the final one to two years taking a combination of credits in both schools or departments.

Dual Degree Program Details

  • Interdisciplinary Opportunities

    The University of Michigan Law School has a strong interdisciplinary focus in its class offerings, seminars, clinics, externships, and independent research opportunities. Many of its faculty members hold advanced degrees in other fields and have dual appointments with other schools and departments in the University. This interdisciplinary approach reflects the School’s philosophy that the study of law should be combined, as much as possible, with an awareness of the broader context of American society and the international community.

    To complement this philosophy, Michigan Law offers a wide variety of graduate degree programs that students may wish to pursue concurrently with the study of law. While completing the first or second year of law study, students may apply for admission to concurrent courses of study. 

    Admission to the second program will be granted only to students who present academic credentials 

    acceptable to the graduate school in which the desired program is offered, and who satisfy the other conditions for admission to that graduate school. General questions regarding the dual degree program can be sent to [email protected].

    If admitted, the student may, after completion of the first year of law studies, divide time between the Law School and the concurrent program of study, devoting sufficient time to each to satisfy the academic requirements and the equivalent of the residence requirements of each unit. 

    Twelve credit hours in graduate level classes in other departments may be elected in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the JD degree. Credits earned in another graduate program may not be counted toward a student’s JD degree if they are earned prior to beginning law studies.

    Degree Requirements

  • Tuition and Applying

    Tuition is assessed at either the Law School or the Graduate School rate, whichever is higher, when enrolled in courses in both schools in a single term.

    Applying to a Dual Degree Program

    Students do not have to decide to pursue a dual degree program before entering law school. Application may be made to both schools in advance, with a deferral requested from the school to be attended during the second year, or application may be made to the second school during the first or second year of law classes. 

    Whenever application is made, a student must be admitted independently to each of the schools from which they are seeking degrees. A dual degree program is not open to anyone who has already earned either degree. 

    The Law School cannot accept credits earned in other graduate programs prior to matriculation at the Law School. For a complete list of requirements for the JD, please refer to the Law School’s online student handbook.

  • Ad Hoc Dual Degrees

    Ad hoc dual degree programs are also an option. A few examples of areas of interest around which students have recently designed their own dual programs include American culture, kinesiology, and philosophy.

    The Bulletins of the other schools and colleges of the University and of the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies should be consulted for more complete information. Special attention should be given to the requirements for such graduate degrees. 

    Requirements may include special language facility, advanced study in science, and additional terms at the University. 

    The following statement has been issued by the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies:

    “In approving proposals for regularized dual degree programs leading to a master’s degree in one field and a doctoral degree in another (whether or not the latter is a degree of the Graduate School) the Executive Board will permit students to compile a total of course credits that is less than the sum of credits ordinarily required for the two degrees, provided: (1) that the reduction results from the presence of common elements in the two degree programs, and (2) that the credits for work distinctive to the master’s degree program are not reduced to less than two-thirds of the normal degree total and in no case to less than 18 credit hours.”

    Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies

    Rackman Dual Degree Declaration Form

Dual Degree FAQs