On-Campus J.D. students can earn a master’s degree or Ph.D. in a variety of in-demand fields from Syracuse University’s other nationally recognized schools and colleges while completing their J.D. degree. 

For most joint degree programs, students can earn their degrees within three years instead of the traditional four and at little additional cost. Among the specialty degrees law students can add to their legal education are those in business, disability studies, communications, international affairs, public administration, and forensic science.

Students are encouraged to meet with the prospective Graduate department in the Fall of 1L year to discuss application procedures and deadlines.

How to Apply

Joint Degree Programs

J.D./LL.M. in Advocacy and Litigation

This innovative program from the Syracuse University College of Law empowers on-campus students to earn both their J.D. and LL.M. in just three years without any additional cost beyond that of the J.D.

Whether you’re an incoming student or a current 1L, you can seize this opportunity to gain a distinct advantage in the world of litigation and advocacy with credentials that previously have been available only after completing the J.D. This skills-based education provides you with the knowledge and experience that employers seek in any legal setting.

With a specialized focus on Trial, Appellate, or Alternative Dispute Resolution, you’ll master 25 advocacy-focused credits, including required courses like Evidence and Trial Practice and elective options like Selecting Your Jury. Plus, participation in intercollegiate competition teams can count toward your LL.M. degree. Students can still participate in externships and OrangeFlex, although preplanning your coursework is strongly advised.

Entry to the program will be based on an essay and a GPA of 2.9 or higher after the 1L academic year.


J.D./Master of Business Administration

Business and industry must take the law into account when making decisions. The College of Law and the Martin J. Whitman School of Management have responded with a J.D./Master of Business Administration joint degree program. Students may obtain a J.D. and M.B.A. in less time than when both programs are pursued separately. These programs are particularly appropriate for students with career objectives in corporate law, tax law, intellectual property, or labor law.

Whitman School of Management Admissions

J.D./Master of Arts or Science in Communications

Joint degrees in communications – offered with the renowned S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications – prepare students for careers in communications law and media public policy. Students may matriculate into one of several programs including advertising (M.A.); Arts Journalism and Communications (M.A.); magazine, newspaper and online journalism (M.A.); Multimedia, Photography & Design (M.A.); Public Relations (M.S.); and television, radio and film (M.A.). The duration of the joint program in communications varies according to the program chosen and the student’s prior coursework.

Newhouse School Admissions

J.D./Master of Science in Cultural Foundations of Education with an Optional Certificate in Disability Studies

This joint degree program offers students the opportunity to earn a J.D. and M.S. in Education, as well as a Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) in Disability Studies [PDF], which is a New York State-approved certificate and concentration. Disability Studies applies legal, social, cultural, historical, and philosophical perspectives to the study of disability in society, and this joint degree, with its concentration in Disability Studies, was the first such degree in the nation. Joint degree students enroll in selected courses with the School of Education, which is ranked among the best education graduate schools in the country, and its Special Education and Cultural Foundations in Education Programs are consistently ranked within the top 10 nationwide. Graduates are prepared for disability law and policy jobs in federal and state government, community service agencies, advocacy organizations, school districts, and law firms specializing in disability and/or education law. Students are able to complete the J.D. and M.S. in three years.

School of Education Admissions

J.D./Master of Arts in International Relations

This joint degree—conferred in collaboration with the globally recognized Maxwell School—offers students a unique opportunity to combine their practical knowledge of world affairs with a J.D. from the College of Law. The Master of Arts in International Relations (MAIR) combines rigorous, multidisciplinary coursework with real-world skills to give graduates an edge in the global job market. The curriculum requires the completion of five different career tracks, second language proficiency, and a professional capstone experience. Students may obtain the J.D. and MAIR in three years instead of the four necessary to earn both degrees independently. Students also can pursue a Certificate of Advanced Study in National Security and Counterterrorism Law through the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism. 

Maxwell School Admissions

J.D./Master of Public Administration

The Maxwell School’s storied public administration program educates students to work in government agencies, nonprofit sector, international organizations, think tanks, and elsewhere. The M.P.A. is the oldest academic training program of its kind in the United States, influencing the growth and development of public administration and policy in the US and globally. Students typically obtain the J.D. and M.P.A. in three years. Students also can pursue a Certificate of Advanced Study in National Security and Counterterrorism Law through the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism. 

Maxwell School Admissions

J.D./Master of Science in Forensic Science

The J.D./Master’s of Science in Forensic Science is offered in collaboration with the Forensic & National Security Sciences Institute. Graduates often go on to work in law enforcement, as court psychologists, in federal agencies, or as investigators—after taking classes with leading forensic practitioners and gaining experience in world-class forensic science facilities.

Graduate School Admissions

Other Programs

The J.D. and M.S. in Computer Science is conferred jointly with the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer science. This joint degree enhances the scope of a student’s legal education with instruction in computer science, technology, intellectual property, and technology transfer.

Engineering and Computer Science Admissions

To truly understand the law as it is applied today is also to have a firm grasp and appreciation of its history, both the legal history of the United States and of nations, such as the United Kingdom, whose common law traditions influenced the US. The research and analytical skills used by historians are also advantageous to lawyers. The J.D./Master of Arts in History is a joint degree is offered with the Maxwell School’s Department of History. The objective of the M.A. in History is to develop analytic techniques, to broaden knowledge in the student’s specialty, and to offer research experience in an area chosen by the student and his or her advisor.

Maxwell School Admissions

The J.D./Master of Arts in Philosophy and J.D./Doctor of Philosophy are joint degrees jointly conferred with the College of Arts & Science’s Department of Philosophy. This joint degree program prepares students to analyze legal history and legal theory, especially as they relate to ethical, moral, and political philosophy.

Graduate School Admissions

A degree for students who wish to explore how domestic and international law, the judiciary, regulation, public policy, and political science intersect, the J.D./Master of Arts and J.D./Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science is conferred with the Maxwell School’s Department of Political Science.

Maxwell School Admissions

The J.D./Master of Social Work is offered through the Falk College’s School of Social Work. The social work program is based on the concept of “ecological systems,” which holds that the fundamental focus of social work practice is on the transactions of people and their environments. Students with a joint law and social work degree are trained to advocate for their clients and to have a keen understanding of the psychological, social, and legal perspectives of their challenges.

Falk College Admissions

The concurrent J.D. and Master of Professional Studies in Forest and Natural Resources Management (FNRM) is offered in conjunction with SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, situated next to the Syracuse University campus.

This joint degree is designed for students interested in legal careers involved with forest, natural, and environmental resources. As human demands on the environment increase, society needs attorneys who understand the economic, demographic, social, and political issues that drive resource use allocation. Students learn the complexities of managing both resources and people, recognizing that resource and environmental decisions involve value-driven conflicts. An FRNM provides a comprehensive foundation in natural and environmental resources issues and an understanding of both biophysical and social science.

Students must earn a minimum of 96 combined credits at Syracuse University College of Law and SUNY ESF. The stand-alone J.D. requires 87 credits; however, concurrent degree students can take advantage of a credit-sharing agreement between the institutions, allowing them to complete at least 72 College of Law credits, and to transfer 15 credits from SUNY ESF to the College of Law. The FNRM degree requires 30 credits, a minimum of 24 of which must be SUNY ESF courses and six of which may be applied by transfer from coursework at the College of Law.

Students can apply to the joint J.D./M.P.S. in FNRM simultaneously before entering the College of Law or after completing the fall semester of study at the College of Law. Applicants applying simultaneously must complete a College of Law application and a SUNY ESF graduate application. Applicants applying after enrolling at the College of Law must complete an internal College of Law application and a SUNY ESF graduate application.

Student Joint Degree Stories

Check out a few student stories to see why they elected to pursue a joint degree and how their enhanced credentials will benefit their future careers in the law.