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, 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.
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 passing a comprehensive examination in these subfields. Complete M.A. curriculum and testing requirements are available through the Department of Political Science.
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*
Comparative Judicial Systems
European Union Law
International Criminal Law
International Environmental Law
International Human Rights
Civil Rights Litigation
Constitutional Law II (First Amendment)
Current Controversies in Environmental Law
Death Penalty Law and Process
Mass Media Law and Policy
Regulation of the Political Process
*This list is not restrictive. Other LAWS courses may be proposed to the Political Science Graduate Program Coordinator 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.