Dual Degree Programs

USC Law maintains dual degree programs with the Graduate School of Business Administration, the Department of Economics, the School of Public Administration, the School of Urban and Regional Planning, the School of Social Work, the School of Religion, the Annenberg School of Communications and the School of International Relations. These programs enable qualified students to earn a law degree (J.D.) and the appropriate Master's degree as follows:

  • Master of Arts in Communications Management (M.A.)
  • Master of Arts in Economics (M.A.)
  • Master of Arts in International Relations (M.A.)
  • Master of Arts in Philosophy (M.A.)
  • Master of Arts in Political Science (M.A.)
  • Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.)
  • Master of Business Taxation (M.B.T.)
  • Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.)
  • Master of Public Policy (M.P.P.)
  • Master of Real Estate Development (M.R.E.D.)
  • Master of Science in Gerontology (M.S.G.)
  • Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

If a Master's degree normally requires one year of study, a student in a dual degree program earns both degrees in only three years. If the Master's degree normally requires two years of post-baccalaureate courses, a total of four years is required.

USC Law also maintains two other dual degree programs. A program administered in conjunction with the California Institute of Technology enables a student to receive a J.D. from USC and a Ph.D. in social science from Cal Tech. A dual degree program initiated with the USC School of Pharmacy enables a qualified student to earn a J.D. and a Pharm.D. degree. Students admitted to the J.D./Pharm.D. program must begin their studies in the School of Pharmacy.At the request of individual students, other dual degree programs may be initiated with the concurrence of USC Law and the other departments involved. All such programs must be approved by the Graduate and Professional Studies Committee and the Provost. This approval process can be long and difficult.

Specific information regarding the requirements for the various dual degree programs is available in the University Catalog at http://www.usc.edu/dept/publications/cat2011/schools/law/. Specific requirements for the dual degree programs may be changed without prior notice. Students interested in further information should consult with the Registrar and contact the non-law department directly. The following individuals are available as contacts for the different dual degree programs:

J.D. Dual Degrees

Business Administration (J.D./M.B.A.)


Grace Kim, Associate Director of Admissions
Phone: (213) 740-7846

Keith Vaughn, Assistant Dean MBA Admissions
Phone: (213) 740-7846

Located in Popovich Hall Room 308
E-mail: marshallmba@marshall.usc.edu
Web: http://www.marshall.usc.edu/mbaprograms


Business Taxation (J.D./M.B.T.)


Cathy Cowan, Director, Masters Programs
Phone: (213) 740-4838

Located in the Leventhal School of Accounting, Room 101
E-mail: macc.mbt@marshall.usc.edu
Web: www.marshall.usc.edu/leventhal/grad


Communications Management (J.D./M.A.)


Anne Marie Campian, Director, Student Services and Graduate Studies
Phone: (213) 740-0903

Located in the Annenberg School for Communication.
E-mail: campian@usc.edu
Web: http://annenberg.usc.edu/Prospective/Masters/CMGT/DualDegrees/CMGTJD.aspx


Economics (J.D./M.A.)


Professor Jeffrey B. Nugent, Director of Graduate Admissions
Phone: (213) 740-2107

Morgan Ponder, Graduate Advisor
Phone: (213) 740-3507

Located in Kaprielian Hall, Room 300C.
E-mail: nugent@usc.edu; ponder@usc.edu
Web: http://www.usc.edu/schools/college/econ/graduate/ma_economicsjd.html


Economics (J.D./Ph.D.)


Edward McCaffery, USC Law Professor
Phone: (213) 740-2567

Located in the USC Law, Room 420.
E-mail: emccaffe@law.usc.edu
This program allows a student to earn the Ph.D. in economics from the California Institute of Technology in addition to the J.D. The student must satisfy the entrance requirements of both schools. The length and content of the program depend on the student's academic background.


Gerontology (J.D./M.S.)


Maria Henke, Assistant Dean
Phone: (213) 740-5156

Located in the Andrus Gerontology Center.
E-mail: mhenke@usc.edu
Web: http://www.usc.edu/dept/gero/academics/graduate4.shtml


International Relations (J.D./M.A.)


Ms. Luda Spilewsky, Graduate Staff Advisor
Phone: (213) 740-8629

Located in the Von KleinSmid Center Room 301.
E-mail: ludas@usc.edu
Web: http://www.usc.edu/dept/LAS/ir/programs/g-jointma.htm


Pharmacy (J.D./Pharm.D.)


Jim Granderson, Director of Admission and Student Affairs
Phone: 323-442-1466

Located in PSC 206A, HSC.
E-mail: granders@hsc.usc.edu
Web: http://www.usc.edu/schools/pharmacy/pharmd/programs/dual/juris.html


Philosophy (J.D./M.A.)


Professor Mark Schroeder
Phone: (213) 740-4084

Located in Mudd Hall.
Web: http://www.usc.edu/schools/college/phil/graduate/#MAJD


Public Administration (J.D./M.P.A.)


Marisol Gonzalez, Director of Admission and Recruitment
Phone: (213) 740-0550

Located in Ralph & Goldy Lewis Hall (RGL) Room 111.
E-mail: marisolr@usc.edu
Web: http://www.usc.edu/schools/sppd/programs/masters/dual/mpa_jd.html


Public Policy (J.D./M.P.P.)


Marisol Gonzalez, Director of Admission and Recruitment
Phone: (213) 740-0550

Located in Ralph & Goldy Lewis Hall (RGL) Room 111.
E-mail: marisolr@usc.edu
Web: http://www.usc.edu/schools/sppd/programs/masters/dual/mppjd.html


Real Estate Development (J.D./M.R.E.D.)


Marisol Gonzalez, Director of Admission and Recruitment
Phone: (213) 740-0550

Located in Ralph & Goldy Lewis Hall (RGL) Room 111.
E-mail: marisolr@usc.edu
Web: http://www.usc.edu/schools/sppd/programs/masters/dual/mred_jd.html


Social Work (J.D./M.S.W.)


Necole Naanouh Yaacoub, Admissions and Operations Manager
Phone: (213) 740-3595

Located in the Social Work Center, Room 114.
E-mail: naanouh@usc.edu
Web: http://sowkweb.usc.edu/master-of-social-work/msw-degree/dual-degrees/law


Graduate Certificate-Gender Studies Program


Professor Lisa Bitel
Phone: (213) 821-2150

E-mail: bitel@usc.edu
Web: http://www.usc.edu/dept/LAS/gsp/htm/degrees.htm


Considerations Concerning Application

Students who are considering enrolling in a dual degree program should review these materials carefully. Although the dual degree programs are well-designed for a student whose specific academic or career interests match the particular program, there are cautionary suggestions which interested students should consider prior to deciding whether to enroll in a dual degree program.

First, students should remember that USC Law will accept twelve units toward the J.D. for USC graduate level courses (numbered 500 and higher) taken outside USC Law. This means that any regular (i.e., non-dual) J.D. student is allowed to take four graduate level courses outside USC Law. (To consider this option, an interested student should look at the course selections available for the alternative discipline.) In addition, USC Law curriculum itself contains many courses which are already interdisciplinary. For example, a student interested in the J.D./M.B.A. should already be planning to take the standard business-related courses offered in the law curriculum; a student interested in the J.D./M.B.T. should already be planning to take the standard business- and tax-related courses in the law curriculum. For many students, the combination of these two approaches will satisfy their interest in the non-law discipline--and will save them the added time and effort of pursuing the dual degree.

Second, students considering a dual degree program should have a clear idea about how the dual degree will affect their ability to secure employment. Many students erroneously believe that a dual degree "opens doors" and "leaves open" (or even broadens) their career options. In truth, many traditional legal employers report that, on balance, they would prefer a student with a standard J.D. over a similar student with a dual degree. The primary reason for this is that, due to the dual degree programs' accelerated schedule, dual degree students take fewer law courses than standard J.D. students. In this sense, the dual degrees have curricula which are actually narrower than the standard J.D. curriculum. Students with clearly focused career ideas which relate directly to the joint area may be able to overcome this traditional employer bias against the dual degrees, but students should keep this issue in mind when considering the dual degree programs. Sponsors of some dual degree programs often "market" their programs to law students. Students considering enrolling in a dual degree program should ask the program sponsor to provide specific, detailed information to support any marketing claims they make regarding employment prospects for graduates of the dual degree program.

Third, students often believe incorrectly that it is a simple process to switch back and forth between the J.D. program and a dual degree program. This is not the case. Hence, students should not begin a dual degree program with the notion in mind that, "Well if it doesn't work out, I'll just switch back and nothing will be lost." Because units are credited differently depending on whether the student is in the J.D. program or a dual degree program, switching back from the dual degree to the J.D. program may result in a loss of units toward the degree. If this switch occurs late in a student's studies, the lost units may result in delaying the student's graduation and his or her ability to take the Bar Examination.

Fourth, students often believe incorrectly that, as long as they finish the J.D. portion of the dual degree, they will be able to take the Bar Examination. This is not the case. If a student has completed only the reduced J.D.-portion of the degree, but not the rest of the dual degree, the student will not be able to graduate and USC Law Registrar will not be able to certify the student to take the Bar Examination.

Fifth, students should remember that the J.D. requires satisfactory completion of 35 numerically graded USC law units after the first year of law school. Courses taken in the non-law department do not count toward the requirement of 35 numerically graded law units. Courses taken at another law school may not count toward the requirement, even though such courses might count toward the J.D. for a non-dual degree student. Many dual degree students find this added limitation on their ability to take law classes on a Cr/69/65 basis to be frustrating. In addition, students enrolled in dual degree programs will find that virtually all of their non-Bar-related elective courses will necessarily be taken in the non-law department. As a result, dual degree students are very limited in their ability to enroll in Law School courses other than those courses which are tested on the Bar Examination. Many dual degree students find this limitation on their choices of elective courses to be frustrating.

Sixth, tuition charges for students in the dual degree programs are difficult to predict in advance. Most law students pay USC Law tuition flat rate which applies to the standard unit-load of 13-17 units. Charges for dual degree students vary based on enrollment and on the particular dual degree program. Some schools have flat rates higher than the Law flat rate; some schools do not have a flat rate. The actual charges vary depending on the student's specific enrollment selections. Many dual degree students find this matter frustrating and unsettling. Unfortunately, USC Law financial aid staff have only a limited ability to predict how the University's central billing office will calculate the non-law charges.

Seventh, students should remember that many other University programs hold registration in April. Since USC Law does not publish its class schedule until July, dual degree students must register for their non-law classes without knowing the schedule of law school classes. Many dual degree students find this experience frustrating.

Eighth, because of the unusual nature of the dual degree programs--and because there are many programs which are different from each other--there are seldom simple answers to students' questions regarding the dual degree programs. For that reason, students are strongly encouraged to raise questions about the dual degree programs with the Registrar, Kyle Jones, or with the Enrollment Services Office.

Finally, problems which arise within the setting of USC Law are usually handled with minimal hassle to the student and with minimal bureaucratic rules and regulations. If problems occur in the alternative discipline (e.g., grades are late; a needed course is unavailable, etc.), USC Law Registrar and Associate Deans will have limited ability to intercede successfully on the student's behalf.

Application Process

The application process for the dual degree program requires the student to provide the non-law department with an original and official undergraduate transcript. Although some departments announce that they are willing to accept a photocopy or an unofficial undergraduate transcript, students should submit only original and official transcripts to the non-law departments. Students who submit photocopied or unofficial transcripts will find that the non-law department will place an activity restriction on their academic record until the department receives the original official undergraduate transcript. Although the activity restriction is placed on the student's record by the non-law department, the activity restriction will restrict the student's ability to enroll in law school classes at the student's appointed time during registration. Many dual degree students find this activity restriction to be very frustrating. The way to avoid it is to submit only an official and original undergraduate transcript to the non-law department. (To assist students in avoiding this activity restriction problem, USC Law will not provide photocopies of undergraduate transcripts.)

The goal of the dual degree programs is to encourage law students to gain a recognized competence in another discipline which has a direct relevance to the roles lawyers play in society. The dual degree programs are based on the premise that some topics covered in USC Law are also covered in the programs of the cooperating departments, so that some credit toward the law degree may appropriately be given for specified graduate work taken in the cooperating department. Similarly, the cooperating departments have recognized that some credit toward the Master's degree may appropriately be awarded for certain work completed in USC Law.

Students may apply for a dual degree program when they are accepted to USC Law, although most do not apply until sometime in the first year. Applications and information on admissions requirements are available from the individual departments. Some departments have requirements which may be difficult for law students to meet. For example, the Business School sometimes requires applicants to have two years of appropriate work experience. Interested students should seek admissions counseling from the admissions office of the other department. All programs require that students successfully complete the required first year of law school before beginning work toward the Master's degree. A student who intends to enroll in a dual degree program must notify the Registrar no later than registration for the second-year fall semester.

Credit toward the law degree may not be given for graduate work completed prior to the completion of the first year of law school.

In compliance with ABA accreditation standards, students are not eligible for either portion of their dual degrees until they complete the requirements for both degrees.

Transfer students are not permitted to enroll in dual degree programs. Students with a GPA below 75 at the end of the first or second year may not enroll in a dual degree program without special permission. A student enrolled in a dual degree program may not take any non-USC nor any additional non-law courses for credit toward the J.D.


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