Benefit of adding an MA to a JD?

(Please Ask Questions and Answer Questions)

Posts: 87
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 5:04 pm

Re: Benefit of adding an MA to a JD?

Postby aer » Tue Jun 08, 2010 9:41 pm

Regionality wrote:
aer wrote:

The answers to most of your questions vary with different schools. I am doing a joint degree program at Duke. I did not take the GRE, the extra coursework to get the second degree is mainly covered by starting the summer before the rest of the class, tuition didn't change except for having to pay for the initial summer, my MA and JD GPA's are completely seperate and my 1L and 2L summers are still free for legal work. This could all be different at a different school though.

Getting an MA has the potential to impact your job search in both positive and negative ways. I'm getting mine in environmental science and policy. This is very good for applying for environmental law jobs, but would probably hurt me if I applied to non-environmental law jobs. It is basically a time consuming and expensive signal to future employers that you are really interested in one specific area of law.

Thanks for this info! Why do you think adding an MA in a field unrelated to a potential job would be detrimental? At the very worst, why wouldn't it just not matter at all?

A MA in Environmental Studies/Resource Management/Enviro Policy is definitely something I'm very interested in...Wisconsin has a dual degree JD/MA in just this and it looks pretty strong...I like the idea of adding substance in a specific field outside of the's only a year more, I love learning about this kind of stuff, and as you said, it's a very positive signal if I want to practice law in the field I get my MA in. It is a way to differentiate myself from fellow peers ranked w/in the same 5% as me, right?

Do you think that the MA has given you ACTUAL knowledge/perspectives that perhaps allowed you/will allow you to nail an interview for a job in your MA's field? Maybe?

I think the risk in getting a JD/MA in a subject that is unrelated to the field of law you want to go into varies depending on the degree. The risk for me is that if I were to interview for a non-environmental law job I would have to explain why I was interested in that field and why I chose to get a masters in the environment if that is not the field that I am interested in.

It is a way to differentiate yourself, but mainly by showing that you are really interested in the subject and are not just applying because it is a law job.

I'm still pretty early in my masters program, but the classes I am planning on taking are going to cover a broader range of subjects in less depth than if I was planning on going into the field.

User avatar

Posts: 41
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2010 8:29 am

Re: Benefit of adding an MA to a JD?

Postby pilawpcv » Thu Jun 10, 2010 10:38 pm

I am also looking into a joint degree (JD/MSW). I know it's not an MA, but the school usually have all their joint programs in one booklet. I checked the info I have for various schools, and none of the ones I have require the GRE for any of their joint programs. (This makes a lot of sense because the LSAT is about 15 times harder.)

Also, I want to do PI family/immigration/social justice law, and conversations with people who have jobs like the ones I want all recommend getting the joint degree. They reasoned that most public interest organizations run on a tight budget, and if you have JD and an MSW they can hire just you instead of a lawyer AND a social worker.

It might be worth seeking out some people who are currently doing what you want to do and asking for their recommendation.

Return to “Law School FAQ?

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests