Ask a Joint Degree Student Questions

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worldtraveler
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Ask a Joint Degree Student Questions

Postby worldtraveler » Fri Jul 06, 2012 12:11 pm

Questions about the Pros/Cons of a joint degree come up here all the time. I'm bored for the next couple hours so I can answer some questions.

Next year will be my final year for a JD/MA at Berkeley.

If you want to know about what it's like to do a joint degree (or dual degree, same thing), ask away.

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Broseidon
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Re: Ask a Joint Degree Student Questions

Postby Broseidon » Fri Jul 06, 2012 12:17 pm

What is the MA in, and why are you pursuing it?

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Teflon_Jeff
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Re: Ask a Joint Degree Student Questions

Postby Teflon_Jeff » Fri Jul 06, 2012 12:28 pm

How much time/effort/money does it add to your workload?

How much crossover do you have in requirements/classwork?

Would you do it again, if given the option?

What degrees would you recommend? What would you avoid?

What was your initial reasoning for doing dual degrees? Is that reason still valid?

What benefits do you expect to gain from doing a dual-degree program?

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swampthang
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Re: Ask a Joint Degree Student Questions

Postby swampthang » Sun Jul 08, 2012 9:57 pm

Teflon_Jeff wrote:What benefits do you expect to gain from doing a dual-degree program?


Especially this. There was a time where I once thought long and hard about a joint degree. Now I'm not sure I understand the benefit.

Purplebootyfox
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Re: Ask a Joint Degree Student Questions

Postby Purplebootyfox » Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:37 am

If you don't mind sharing, I am very curious about your "stats" to be admitted to both programs. As of now I want to do a JD/MA in econ at Berkeley, funny seeing someone in that position. Thanks

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1776
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Re: Ask a Joint Degree Student Questions

Postby 1776 » Mon Jul 09, 2012 5:05 pm

I want to do an MSW/JD and wondered if that would be worthwhile since I want PI.

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Broseidon
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Re: Ask a Joint Degree Student Questions

Postby Broseidon » Mon Jul 09, 2012 5:22 pm

This has been a very informative and helpful thread.

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Mr.Binks
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Re: Ask a Joint Degree Student Questions

Postby Mr.Binks » Mon Jul 09, 2012 5:46 pm

Broseidon wrote:This has been a very informative and helpful thread.


:lol: :lol:

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romothesavior
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Re: Ask a Joint Degree Student Questions

Postby romothesavior » Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:54 pm

Mr.Binks wrote:
Broseidon wrote:This has been a very informative and helpful thread.


:lol: :lol:

Nothing like a Taking Qs thread with no answers.

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flem
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Re: Ask a Joint Degree Student Questions

Postby flem » Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:58 pm

1776 wrote:I want to do an MSW/JD and wondered if that would be worthwhile since I want PI.


PM user JDandMSW for some helpful info (with pics!)

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worldtraveler
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Re: Ask a Joint Degree Student Questions

Postby worldtraveler » Tue Jul 10, 2012 8:01 am

Sorry guys my internet went out for a few days.

Broseidon wrote:What is the MA in, and why are you pursuing it?


It's in International Affairs with an emphasis on Africa. I'm mainly pursuing it because I want to work in international human rights, and faculty members as well as people in the field advised me that it would be an asset.

Teflon_Jeff wrote:1.How much time/effort/money does it add to your workload?

2.How much crossover do you have in requirements/classwork?

3.Would you do it again, if given the option?

4.What degrees would you recommend? What would you avoid?

5.What was your initial reasoning for doing dual degrees? Is that reason still valid?

6.What benefits do you expect to gain from doing a dual-degree program?


1. It adds one year. Generally joint degrees are 4 years. I did 2 years in law school and then 2 years of half law, half MA work. Usually that's not how it works though.
It's actually saving me money as pursuing it mad me eligible for a graduate fellowship and allowed me to get a TA position, so it ended up making law school cost half of what it should. This is rare, however.

2. I can count 10 MA credits towards my JD, but there aren't any crossover classes. This might be different for other programs.

3. Not sure. I see serious negatives and positives to it. The extra year in school really sucks and it's depressing to still be in school when I could be moving on with my life. I also ended up having an easier time in the job hunt than what I anticipated, so ultimately I don't know how much my MA is going to matter, at least in the short term. I also found it hard to fit in all the courses and clinics I wanted in law school, and dealing with the bureacracy of the law school, but mostly the grad school, is a giant pain.
But, it did allow me to pursue 3 summer internships instead of 2 (all were unpaid but with fellowship funding). The one I'm doing now is fantastic and I'm really glad I got a chance to do it. It also gave me a lot more time and opportunities to network and make connections.
The other big asset was that I basically had an extra year to spend a ton of time learning foreign languages, which is a huge asset for my career and I'm glad I got to do that. I also think some of my MA coursework was really valuable.

4. Totally depends on who you are and what you want to do.

5. Initial reason was to enhance career prospects. Still valid. Like I said, short term it ended up not mattering for me but I think in the long term it will be an asset, and if I wanted to get an MA at any other time it would take me more time.

6. Biggest benefits are an extra year to network, cultivate relationships, do language training, extra internship. Also, NGO and international employers seemed to really be impressed with it, although I'm not quite sure why. My thesis is pretty extensively researched and I will be publishing it, and I've gotten to go to some conferences and events based on that, which is pretty cool. I also don't want to practice law in the way that most other people think of, and I'm more interested in legal education or policy work in an international context. Through the MA another department let me design an undergrad course about a human rights issue and teach it, which is a huge opportunity for me and I wouldn't have been able to do it without an MA, even though it's primarily using skills from law school.

Purplebootyfox wrote:If you don't mind sharing, I am very curious about your "stats" to be admitted to both programs. As of now I want to do a JD/MA in econ at Berkeley, funny seeing someone in that position. Thanks


I can't help you too much with this, because grad programs all admit students independently and the requirements for mine would be much different from econ. All I can say is to check with the econ department, and whatever their guidelines are for the GRE, GPA, etc., you should be prepared to fulfill them. My program let me use my LSAT score instead of the GRE and I applied during my 2L year, so mine was a bit different.

I will say that for anyone considering a joint degree, I think it's best to wait until you matriculate to decide whether you really want to pursue it. A lot of people go in thinking they want one and then decide either it's not for them or they just don't want to spend the time/money to get it.

1776 wrote:I want to do an MSW/JD and wondered if that would be worthwhile since I want PI.


What exactly do you want to do?

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1776
Posts: 243
Joined: Wed Feb 29, 2012 3:49 pm

Re: Ask a Joint Degree Student Questions

Postby 1776 » Tue Jul 10, 2012 2:44 pm

worldtraveler wrote:Sorry guys my internet went out for a few days.

Broseidon wrote:What is the MA in, and why are you pursuing it?


It's in International Affairs with an emphasis on Africa. I'm mainly pursuing it because I want to work in international human rights, and faculty members as well as people in the field advised me that it would be an asset.

Teflon_Jeff wrote:1.How much time/effort/money does it add to your workload?

2.How much crossover do you have in requirements/classwork?

3.Would you do it again, if given the option?

4.What degrees would you recommend? What would you avoid?

5.What was your initial reasoning for doing dual degrees? Is that reason still valid?

6.What benefits do you expect to gain from doing a dual-degree program?


1. It adds one year. Generally joint degrees are 4 years. I did 2 years in law school and then 2 years of half law, half MA work. Usually that's not how it works though.
It's actually saving me money as pursuing it mad me eligible for a graduate fellowship and allowed me to get a TA position, so it ended up making law school cost half of what it should. This is rare, however.

2. I can count 10 MA credits towards my JD, but there aren't any crossover classes. This might be different for other programs.

3. Not sure. I see serious negatives and positives to it. The extra year in school really sucks and it's depressing to still be in school when I could be moving on with my life. I also ended up having an easier time in the job hunt than what I anticipated, so ultimately I don't know how much my MA is going to matter, at least in the short term. I also found it hard to fit in all the courses and clinics I wanted in law school, and dealing with the bureacracy of the law school, but mostly the grad school, is a giant pain.
But, it did allow me to pursue 3 summer internships instead of 2 (all were unpaid but with fellowship funding). The one I'm doing now is fantastic and I'm really glad I got a chance to do it. It also gave me a lot more time and opportunities to network and make connections.
The other big asset was that I basically had an extra year to spend a ton of time learning foreign languages, which is a huge asset for my career and I'm glad I got to do that. I also think some of my MA coursework was really valuable.

4. Totally depends on who you are and what you want to do.

5. Initial reason was to enhance career prospects. Still valid. Like I said, short term it ended up not mattering for me but I think in the long term it will be an asset, and if I wanted to get an MA at any other time it would take me more time.

6. Biggest benefits are an extra year to network, cultivate relationships, do language training, extra internship. Also, NGO and international employers seemed to really be impressed with it, although I'm not quite sure why. My thesis is pretty extensively researched and I will be publishing it, and I've gotten to go to some conferences and events based on that, which is pretty cool. I also don't want to practice law in the way that most other people think of, and I'm more interested in legal education or policy work in an international context. Through the MA another department let me design an undergrad course about a human rights issue and teach it, which is a huge opportunity for me and I wouldn't have been able to do it without an MA, even though it's primarily using skills from law school.

Purplebootyfox wrote:If you don't mind sharing, I am very curious about your "stats" to be admitted to both programs. As of now I want to do a JD/MA in econ at Berkeley, funny seeing someone in that position. Thanks


I can't help you too much with this, because grad programs all admit students independently and the requirements for mine would be much different from econ. All I can say is to check with the econ department, and whatever their guidelines are for the GRE, GPA, etc., you should be prepared to fulfill them. My program let me use my LSAT score instead of the GRE and I applied during my 2L year, so mine was a bit different.

I will say that for anyone considering a joint degree, I think it's best to wait until you matriculate to decide whether you really want to pursue it. A lot of people go in thinking they want one and then decide either it's not for them or they just don't want to spend the time/money to get it.

1776 wrote:I want to do an MSW/JD and wondered if that would be worthwhile since I want PI.


What exactly do you want to do?


I want to work as a legal aid to a non profit, maybe open a non profit law firm or something like that with a gov grant. I know I want to do something in non profit offering free legal help to impoverished people. Akin to the ACLU but aimed at low income families getting, especially for those getting fucked over by their employer/gov. I also want to help disadvantaged kids.




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