Guide to Dual Law Degree Programs

Dual law degree programs offer students the opportunity to pursue multiple professional interests simultaneously, either within or outside the field of law.

Students who aspire to become lawyers typically enroll in a traditional Juris Doctor (J.D.) program. However, there are also degrees available for non-lawyers, such as the Master of Legal Studies (MLS), and a degree for specialized attorneys called a Master of Laws (LL.M.).

These three degrees can be combined with additional areas of study. We have provided information on dual law degree programs, their differences, and their admissions requirements to help you determine if a dual degree is suitable for you.

What is a Dual Law Degree?

A dual law degree, also referred to as a joint law degree, is a program that combines a J.D., MLS, or LL.M. degree with another program. By completing both programs simultaneously, students can potentially save time and money.

Pursuing a dual degree program also enables students to expand their areas of expertise, which can enhance their job prospects upon graduation.

Admissions Requirements

If you are considering pursuing a dual degree, then it is crucial to keep in mind that many schools may require you to apply for both programs separately.

Certain programs may require you to start one degree before applying for the other, for example, J.D./LL.M. joint programs.

On the other hand, some programs allow you to apply for both degrees simultaneously, such as MLS/Master of Social Work dual programs.

Types of Dual Law Degrees

There are various dual law degree programs available for individuals interested in pursuing law and other professions. These programs include J.D./LL.M. dual degrees, MLS dual degrees, and cross-disciplinary dual degrees.

Juris Doctor (J.D.)/Master of Laws (LL.M.) Dual Degrees

The J.D./LL.M. dual degree program provides an opportunity to pursue a general law degree along with specialized master’s level coursework in specific areas of law.

This program can be completed in a shorter duration if you are a second or third-year law student who already knows the area of law you would like to specialize in.

For instance, if you aim to become a tax lawyer, a dual degree can let you pursue a master’s in tax law while completing your J.D. coursework. By choosing this path, you may be able to complete both degrees within six to seven semesters instead of eight.

You can explore several concentrations such as global health law, international law, or environmental law by pursuing an LL.M. degree. The J.D./LL.M. dual degree students typically commence their LL.M. coursework in their third year of law school and apply at the end of their second year.

Legal Studies Dual Degrees

Legal studies dual degree programs offer professionals who do not require a full J.D. degree the opportunity to gain knowledge in legal studies and enhance their existing skills relevant to the field of law.

There are several types of legal study programs, including Master of Legal Studies degrees, Master of Science in Legal Studies degrees, and Juris Master degrees. These programs can be combined with a master’s degree in dispute resolution, social work, and forensic psychology.

Legal studies programs provide a foundation in basic concepts of law, such as compliance, risk management, and contracts, which can be applied to various careers. Working professionals can choose from a range of part-time, full-time, and online Master of Legal Studies programs.