Want to do a double major and JD/MA

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ichthyosaur

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Want to do a double major and JD/MA

Postby ichthyosaur » Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:24 am

I'm a current undergrad interested in doing a joint JD/MA program. Currently have a pretty high GPA that I'd hate to mess with. Will doing a double major offer any benefits? I hear a lot of people saying no, but doesn't it negatively affect internship opportunities to just do the bare minimum academically?

icechicken

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Re: Want to do a double major and JD/MA

Postby icechicken » Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:32 am

Sorry to pepper you with questions, but answering them will help you get better advice:

ichthyosaur wrote:I'm a current undergrad interested in doing a joint JD/MA program.


Why do you want a JD? What field do you want a master's in, and why?

Will doing a double major offer any benefits?


What kind of benefits are you talking about? Double-majoring is good for demonstrating interest in two disparate academic fields, or for developing an interdisciplinary line of inquiry that can be ridden all the way to a doctorate, but it's not clear if that would be relevant to your goals (because, again, it's not clear what your goals are).

Doesn't it negatively affect internship opportunities to just do the bare minimum academically?


Are you talking about internship opportunities in college or in law school? If the former, no, it hardly matters at all. If the latter, I've heard anecdotally that people in dual-degree programs have a tougher time getting summer legal jobs because of the extra workload, but other people here will have better info on that. What do you mean by "just do the bare minimum academically"?

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Want to do a double major and JD/MA

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Jan 09, 2018 7:59 am

ichthyosaur wrote:I'm a current undergrad interested in doing a joint JD/MA program. Currently have a pretty high GPA that I'd hate to mess with. Will doing a double major offer any benefits? I hear a lot of people saying no, but doesn't it negatively affect internship opportunities to just do the bare minimum academically?

A single major isn’t “the bare minimum,” it’s normal. There may be circumstances where a double major makes sense but it’s by no means expected or especially highly valued. (I’ve run into academics who think it’s a *bad* thing to do. I don’t have any reason to think law schools feel this way, I just note it to show that opinions vary.)

If by “internship” you mean “legal job during law school” (a lot of people refer to summer jobs as internships), it won’t make the slightest bit of difference - they will only care about what you do in law school.

Also if the MA were to add any time/cost to your JD it’s probably not worth it.

cityb101

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Re: Want to do a double major and JD/MA

Postby cityb101 » Sat Jan 20, 2018 1:30 am

The JD/MA is often frowned upon. It depends what fields these are in and what your ultimate goals are, but for the most part, a JD/MA program will lead to lower grades in your law courses…and that's obviously BAD for recruiting.

As for the double major, law schools don't really care what you major in, with a few exceptions:
-law schools aren't huge fans, in general, of pre-professional majors. Best to avoid things like business (finance and accounting not bad if you want to do corporate, but stay away from sales, marketing, management, etc). If you do major in finance, accounting, etc., be sure to take some humanities/social sciences courses. Lots of law schools like to see liberal arts courses on transcripts. Don't do pre-legal or criminal justice
-you'll get a slight boost for quant majors like engineering. It adds diversity to the class. Don't expect a huge bump for your GPA, but know that an engineering major's GPA will be viewed, by most, in a different light than an Environmental Studies' major's GPA (and I say that as a liberal arts major--no hate!)

At some schools, virtually everyone double majors. I imagine that's the case at your school, otherwise you wouldn't categorize someone with a single major as a person doing the "bare minimum." I went to a school that was relatively split in terms of single versus double major, but virtually everyone I knew had at least 1 minor. At the end of the day, it's your grades (and LSAT) that matter.

MonicaYoung_LOL

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Re: Want to do a double major and JD/MA

Postby MonicaYoung_LOL » Sat Jan 20, 2018 3:14 am

ichthyosaur wrote:I'm a current undergrad interested in doing a joint JD/MA program. Currently have a pretty high GPA that I'd hate to mess with. Will doing a double major offer any benefits? I hear a lot of people saying no, but doesn't it negatively affect internship opportunities to just do the bare minimum academically?


As someone who is a double major and interested in JD/MA programs, I can tell you that the reason that the double major personally benefitted me was because I was passionate about two fields. The only other benefit I can think of regarding the double major was that, at my school, all students are required to write a thesis, and so I'm in the process of writing two at the moment, which probably doesn't hurt to have on a resume. But if you have no interest in the second major and are just doing it for prestige, don't do it! I'm a firm believer that people succeed in what they love, and if you don't love both things, you may struggle in upper-level courses in one of those fields. If you're looking for some sort of compromise, you could definitely consider minoring/concentrating/doubling up on one of those, since it'll give you that extra bit on your resume, but it won't set you over the edge. Again, though, I really don't think it's a big deal at all if you don't double-major--do what you care about, and the rest will follow!

Regarding the JD-MA, I don't know that it's necessarily frowned upon--if it were, I doubt so many schools would offer it--but double majoring doesn't necessarily suggest that you can handle the joint programs, if that's what you were getting at. Masters & JDs are very different from undergrad, which law schools know, and because you have to apply to both programs and get accepted separately anyway, I can't imagine that there would be a real benefit from double majoring in that regard.

Really, though, I understand what it feels like to think you're doing the bare minimum--only ~5% of my college double majors, and even I felt some pressure to have something more than a major--but if you're only doing it because it feels like you have to, you shouldn't double major. But if it's because you really care about both subjects and you're debating whether to pursue it, go after it! You can always shave it down to a minor in one field if it starts to become too much (no one will ever know!!!)

mcmand

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Re: Want to do a double major and JD/MA

Postby mcmand » Sat Jan 20, 2018 5:49 am

JD/MAs are basically offered to make universities more money. The value to the university is higher than the value to the student.

You either want to be a lawyer or you don't. If you do, get a JD and leave the rest. If you don't, get your MA or whatever you need for your career.
Last edited by mcmand on Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Want to do a double major and JD/MA

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:29 am

cityb101 wrote:The JD/MA is often frowned upon. It depends what fields these are in and what your ultimate goals are, but for the most part, a JD/MA program will lead to lower grades in your law courses…and that's obviously BAD for recruiting.

As for the double major, law schools don't really care what you major in, with a few exceptions:
-law schools aren't huge fans, in general, of pre-professional majors. Best to avoid things like business (finance and accounting not bad if you want to do corporate, but stay away from sales, marketing, management, etc). If you do major in finance, accounting, etc., be sure to take some humanities/social sciences courses. Lots of law schools like to see liberal arts courses on transcripts. Don't do pre-legal or criminal justice
-you'll get a slight boost for quant majors like engineering. It adds diversity to the class. Don't expect a huge bump for your GPA, but know that an engineering major's GPA will be viewed, by most, in a different light than an Environmental Studies' major's GPA (and I say that as a liberal arts major--no hate!)

There is no basis at all to say that doing an MA will hurt your JD grades.

Also what you major in doesn’t matter for admissions. You don’t get a boost in admissions for quant majors. It might help somewhat for future employment, but not for admissions.

1MichMan23

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Re: Want to do a double major and JD/MA

Postby 1MichMan23 » Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:48 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
cityb101 wrote:The JD/MA is often frowned upon. It depends what fields these are in and what your ultimate goals are, but for the most part, a JD/MA program will lead to lower grades in your law courses…and that's obviously BAD for recruiting.

As for the double major, law schools don't really care what you major in, with a few exceptions:
-law schools aren't huge fans, in general, of pre-professional majors. Best to avoid things like business (finance and accounting not bad if you want to do corporate, but stay away from sales, marketing, management, etc). If you do major in finance, accounting, etc., be sure to take some humanities/social sciences courses. Lots of law schools like to see liberal arts courses on transcripts. Don't do pre-legal or criminal justice
-you'll get a slight boost for quant majors like engineering. It adds diversity to the class. Don't expect a huge bump for your GPA, but know that an engineering major's GPA will be viewed, by most, in a different light than an Environmental Studies' major's GPA (and I say that as a liberal arts major--no hate!)

There is no basis at all to say that doing an MA will hurt your JD grades.

Also what you major in doesn’t matter for admissions. You don’t get a boost in admissions for quant majors. It might help somewhat for future employment, but not for admissions.


Nah the original poster is right, you do get a small bump for quant majors, for a few reasons. One is they're more rare and so help some types of diversity. Another is law schools are increasingly interested in tech-competent students. A third is the different type of critical thinking skills that doing well in that kind of major represents. So yeah it's not HUGE, but it does help. I've heard it from admissions officers firsthand, and you can prob find support online too. It helps for admissions decisions, not just future employers (again not as much as LSAT/UGPA).

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Want to do a double major and JD/MA

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:07 am

I will revise my original statement to this extent: STEM majors may give you some small bump compared to someone else with the same stats as you. They do not equate to a higher LSAT or GPA, which I think is pretty clear from the LSN info that we have.

(I also wouldn't take everything adcomms say at face value; they also say that they consider all LSAT takes, that the process is holistic, etc etc... I think this is more true than many on this board do, but I nonetheless also think that the baseline for admission is numbers. Finally, I don't think the critical thinking skills cuts in favor of STEM majors any more than it does other majors; I've seen plenty of instances of STEM majors struggling in law school because they're not used to the heavy reading/writing load and they tend toward more black/white thinking.)

icechicken

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Re: Want to do a double major and JD/MA

Postby icechicken » Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:09 am

1MichMan23 wrote:Nah the original poster is right, you do get a small bump for quant majors, for a few reasons. One is they're more rare and so help some types of diversity. Another is law schools are increasingly interested in tech-competent students. A third is the different type of critical thinking skills that doing well in that kind of major represents. So yeah it's not HUGE, but it does help. I've heard it from admissions officers firsthand, and you can prob find support online too. It helps for admissions decisions, not just future employers (again not as much as LSAT/UGPA).


I agree with this logic, but a yet-to-be college freshman shouldn't care. Median GPA at my college is probably around 3.3 but most classes in the chemistry department, for example, curve to a B-. Even at universities that don't work that way, people tend to get much better grades in subjects they actually like.

That kind of consideration dominates whatever street cred you get for being a STEM major. Statistically, people who choose to major in (for example) computer science instead of sociology probably don't fare any better in law-school admissions as a result of that choice.

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