The joint M.A./J.D. program allows students to earn the standard professional degree required to practice law, simultaneously with advanced study of history. It is designed to allow students to complete the two degrees in less time (with fewer courses and credit hours) than if they did the two degree programs separately.
Legal practice requires fluency in information retrieval, research, analysis, and writing. Moreover, understanding of historical circumstances in which legal precedent has evolved is central to many fields of law. For these reasons, studying history at the graduate level can be a significant enhancement to legal career skills and prospects. Other prospective students may be interested in eventually pursuing a Ph.D. in history, with the intention of an academic career in law and a particular interest in legal history, making an M.A. taken simultaneously with a J.D. a logical starting point. Additionally, some prospective students may simply be interested in continuing study of a subject about which they are passionate, while preparing for professional life.
Students in the joint program must meet all the degree requirements for the J.D. (for which details are available here). Of the credit-hours earned toward the J.D., 9 may be applied toward the minimum of 30 credit-hours required for the M.A. in history (leaving a minimum of 7 courses or 21 credit-hours to be taken in History, of which one must be History 601). Most other requirements apply as for the basic MA: students in the joint program must meet the same language requirement and take the same comprehensive exams, although the joint program requires one research seminar instead of the two required for the basic MA.
Admission to Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law is a prerequisite for admission to the M.A./J.D. joint degree program. A student interested in the program would first matriculate in the law school and then apply to the joint degree program at the end of his/her first year of J.D. studies.
The M.A./J.D. program usually requires five years of full-time study.
Prospective students interested in applying for the joint degree program are invited to communicate directly with the Director of Graduate Studies, Dr. Stephen West, to discuss the program and its requirements further.
For full details of all aspects of the joint degree program and its requirements, consult the History Department Graduate Handbook and the Columbus School of Law.