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Joint J.D./M.A.

Dual-Degree Program: J.D./M.A. (in Political Science) Program Information

The connection between law and politics has been well established. The idea that lawyers should be trained in the methods of social science research goes back at least to Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Furthermore, no less a judge than Benjamin N. Cardozo recognized the importance of social science to legal development. The dual-degree program enables students to analyze both legal doctrine and principles and their theoretical and empirical bases and consequences.

The School of Law at Case Western Reserve University prepares J.D. students to practice law in the fields of international law and public law, among others. The M.A. in Political Science program, operated by the Political Science Department and the School of Graduate Studies, prepares students to conduct research in the traditional subfields of political science, which include international relations, comparative politics, U.S. Politics, public policy, and public law. The dual-degree program will prepare students to participate in the fields of international law and public policy-making as well as give students an opportunity to develop expertise in areas of substantive interest.


Program Structure

The School of Law requires 88 credits of coursework, including 33 hours of required courses and an upper-class writing requirement, for the J.D. degree. J.D. students may choose to concentrate in a particular area of law by taking 15 credit hours of coursework in that area. In addition, J.D. students are allowed to take up to 9 credit hours of graduate-level electives outside the law school for credit toward the law degree. This limit is extended to 12 hours for students accepted into the dual-degree program with Political Science. Complete J.D. curriculum requirements are available through the CWRU Law School.

Students in the Political Science M.A. program must complete 30 hours of graduate credit, 9 of which may be taken in another CWRU department or school. M.A. students must take at least 3 credit hours in each of the following Political Science subfields: American politics, comparative politics, international relations, and research methods. Upon completion of Political Science coursework, the M.A. degree requires either the passing of comprehensive examinations in two of these subfields or the successful completion and defense of a thesis. More information about the M.A. requirements can be found here.

The dual-degree program, therefore, allows students to count 12 hours of graduate-level Political Science courses toward the J.D. and allows 9 hours of Law School courses to count toward the M.A. Instead of the 118 hours needed to pursue each degree separately (88 in Law and 30 in Political Science), the credit-hour requirements for the dual-degree program break down as follows:

Total hours in the School of Law 76

Total hours in the Political Science Department 21

Total hours in the Dual-Degree Program 97

Political Science courses to be taken toward the J.D. must be approved, in advance of enrollment, by the Law School’s Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Likewise, Law courses to count toward the M.A. in Political Science must be approved, in advance of enrollment, by the Political Science Graduate Program Coordinator.


Dual Degree Admission

Students wishing to participate in the dual-degree program must be admitted separately by each unit. The Political Science Department will waive the GRE requirement for admission to the M.A. program and instead will use the LSAT for the admissions process. The department will require an LSAT score of no less than 155. Once admitted, students will consult with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the School of Law and the Political Science Graduate Program Coordinator to determine their appropriate course of study.

The Law curriculum requires a fairly standard “core” of courses to be taken in the first year. Therefore, dual-degree students generally will begin study in the law school and defer matriculation in the M.A. program until their second year.


Recommended LAWS Courses for Political Science M.A. Students

JD/MA students are likely to select some LAWS courses that fit one or two areas of focus within their MA studies.  So, for example:

Students focusing on U.S. Politics or public policy might select from among the following:

            LAWS 1202 Constitutional Law I

            LAWS 5717 Constitutional Law II (First Amendment)

            LAWS 5711 Civil Rights

            LAWS 1204 Law, Legislation and Regulation

            LAWS 4702 Courts, Public Policy, and Social Change

            LAWS 4806 Administrative Law

            LAWS 5745 National Security Law

            LAWS 4201 Health Law

            LAWS 5725 Education Law

            LAWS 5727 Environmental Law

            LAWS 5929 Judicial Selection

            as well as other courses not listed above. 

Students who are focusing on international relations or comparative politics might be interested in some of the following courses:

            LAWS 4101 International Law

            LAWS 5110 Contemporary Issues in International and Comparative Law

            (multiple sections)

            LAWS 5114 European Union Law

            LAWS 5116 International Human Rights

            LAWS 5123 International Trade Law and Policy

            LAWS 5735 International Environmental Law

            as well as other courses not listed above.

Students can propose courses to the Political Science Graduate Program Coordinator for approval as acceptable for the M.A. in Political Science.

Recommended POSC Courses for J.D. Students

A wide variety of POSC courses is available and should be discussed with the Political Science Graduate Program Coordinator before proposal to the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs of the School of Law.