Want a J.D. and a Masters? Here’s How to Manage a Joint Degree

Monday 11/28/2016
How to handle a joint degree.

Sure, getting a J.D. and a Master’s degree sounds fantastic, but ‘fess up: it sounds a little intimidating, too, right? We get asked a lot about what it’s like to get a joint degree (and if those students ever sleep), so for those of you interested in doubling up, read on. This is how you tackle getting two degrees at once:

Choose a law school that’s connected to top-ranked graduate schools—and one that openly encourages joint degrees, allowing you to complete the program in the same amount of time as the J.D. and often at the same cost. Syracuse Law does exactly that, offering programs like the J.D./Master of Public Administration program or the J.D./Master in Forensic Science track. (See the rest of our options here, including our J.D./M.S.Ed. Joint degree in law and disability studies)
Learn to manage your time wisely. All graduate students need time management skills, of course, but joint degree students in particular should have it down to an art. At whichever school you choose, make use of the mentors and advisors you’re provided with by getting their assistance in setting priorities and schedules you can handle.

Be productive. There’s no room for procrastination when you’re pursuing a joint degree. Do yourself a favor and research productivity tips—right down to things like how to save time checking emails or how to minimize distractions while you study. (Insider tip: We love Cold Turkey, a website that lets you temporarily block social media sites, games, and other Internet distractions so you can focus on work.)

Have a clear goal. Are you pursuing a J.D. and an MBA because you know you want a career in corporate law or mergers and acquisitions, and your career path would highly benefit from having two degrees? Remember your specific reasons for enrolling in a joint program and you’ll have good motivation to get it done.

Lastly? Relax! Getting a joint degree doesn’t mean you’ll be doubling your coursework. Joint degree students are able to count many of their graduate required credits as law elective credits, cutting off significant time from both programs and allowing you to graduate with your class (with two degrees!) in the same amount of time.

Click for more details on Syracuse Law’s joint degree options.