The Scoop on Joint Degrees
I'm interested in designing
a joint JD/PhD program with Yale's Department of English. Can you tell me
anything about whether Yale encourages individually designed programs? Does my
unusual profile make me a more or less desirable candidate?
received a number of variations on the question of joint degrees, so I hope my
response to this one will answer most of them.
me explain how our joint degrees work.
If you would like to do a joint degree with Yale Law School and another
program, you must apply and be admitted to each program separately. During your first year or second year at
Yale, you can petition the Faculty Committee on Special Courses of Study to do
your joint degree with the other program.
If you are approved, you will be allowed to use up to 12 units of
coursework (about one term) from the other program towards your JD. This thus reduces your total in-residence
time requirement at the Law
School to five semesters,
rather than the usual six.
program may, at your request, allow you to credit Law School
coursework towards its program. In such
a case, your total time required to complete that degree would be reduced as
well. Certain programs, such as the
Graduate, Divinity, Forestry, Management, and Medicine schools at Yale, as well
as the Woodrow Wilson School
for International and Public Affairs, have in practice approved such an
arrangement. However, you may also pursue
a joint degree with other programs and institutions; the caveat is that Yale Law
School can only approve
and grant credit for work completed for your JD; we have no control over
whether the joint program will reciprocate.
So, always check with the program or institution with which you are
considering a joint degree to find out what their policy and requirements are
and whether they will give you credit for Yale Law School coursework.
considering a joint degree, you should think about a few things. First, as I mentioned previously, you must be
enrolled at Yale to petition to do a joint degree, and at the time you
petition, you must be accepted into the other program. This means that you either need to apply to
the other program at the same time you apply to law school (or already be
enrolled), or apply no later than your second year at Yale. The second thing to keep in mind is that you
may only receive Law School credit for coursework completed prospectively, i.e., you cannot receive
credit for any work you completed before you matriculated at the Law School. In this vein, if you are a PhD candidate who
has reached ABD status, you cannot pursue a joint degree, and if you defer your
entrance to Yale Law School
to begin another program, you cannot use any of the work completed during your deferral
towards your JD.
respect to individually-designed programs, Yale encourages coursework outside
the Law School within the parameters described
above, if you are a joint degree candidate.
If you are not a joint degree candidate, you can still take up to 12
units of class outside the Law
School at the
undergraduate, graduate, or professional schools (including up to two semesters
of language courses!). There are also
numerous courses cross-listed between other programs and the Law School
each semester. So there are ample
opportunities to get an interdisciplinary legal education without doing a joint
intention of doing a joint degree will have no impact on your chances for
admission. We do ask on the application
whether you are considering a joint degree – this is mainly for us to get a sense
of students’ interests. However, at the
point of admission, you will be evaluated solely for the JD program, so keep
that in mind as you put together your application!
Please submit questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.