posted Oct 31, 2014

UW Law Offers New J.D./M.B.A. & Master of Jurisprudence Degree Options

Gates Hall and Foster School The University of Washington School of Law introduced two new programs that will expand its current roster of degree offerings and provide additional flexibility and options for students. The first, beginning in January 2015, is an accelerated J.D./M.B.A. program that enables students to earn a J.D. from the UW School of Law and an M.B.A. from the UW Foster School of Business in a total of four years. The second, which will begin in the fall of 2015, is the Master of Jurisprudence (M.J.), a one-year program intended for non-lawyers who wish to advance their careers with a year of legal studies and training.

"UW Law is committed to keeping pace with the changing world of legal education and remains unwavering in its commitment to providing students with the curriculum and instruction necessary to be successful," said Dean Kellye Testy. "Our society is increasingly in need of professionals with legal training, whether it be in business, government, healthcare or public service, and these new programs will help our students meet critical gaps."

In the new joint J.D./M.B.A. program, students will be encouraged to start the M.B.A. core courses during their first year under the program and start their J.D. curriculum in their second year. In the third and fourth years of instruction, students will complement their studies with additional required courses and elective offerings in areas of international business, finance and tax law. Though most students will complete their joint J.D./M.B.A. degree in four years, students may accelerate their studies by pursuing summer coursework. This allows students to prepare for the February bar examination offered in most jurisdictions. Most appealing is that applicants may opt to use the GMAT as the standardized test in lieu of the LSAT for admission purposes under this program, and the application process has been streamlined to make it simpler for applicants.

The M.J. degree program is designed for those who possess a bachelor’s degree and have a demonstrated interest in the study of law. Students seeking the M.J. degree fit several different profiles: undergraduates near graduation seeking to improve their career credentials; students in other graduate programs who might seek or benefit from a concurrent degree opportunity; early to mid-level professionals working in targeted industries in which legal issues frequently arise; professionals seeking a change in their career trajectory; and finally, those seeking life-long learning opportunities.

The program is designed to be completed in one nine-month academic year, but provides students with the capacity to stretch their studies over a longer period if their work and family life is more suited to a part-time educational program. The M.J. curriculum requires 45 quarter credits for completion. It includes four foundational courses: Introduction to American Law, Legal Research, Comparative and International Legal Traditions and a Legal Studies Writing Seminar. Students will work with a law advisor to design a program that best fits their career and professional aspirations. For example, a student working in human resources would tailor their curriculum around employment and labor law issues while a recent graduate seeking to work on environmental issues might improve their credentials by obtaining a foundation in environmental and natural resources law.