Dual law degree programs offer students the opportunity to explore multiple professional interests simultaneously, both within and beyond the field of law. Aspiring lawyers usually opt for a traditional Juris Doctor (J.D.) program.


However, there are other degrees available for non-lawyers, such as the Master of Legal Studies (MLS), as well as a specialized degree for attorneys called a Master of Laws (LL.M.).

Additionally, each of these degrees can be combined with other areas of study to create a unique dual degree program.


We’ve compiled information on the various dual law degree programs, outlining their differences and admissions requirements, so that you can determine if a dual degree program is the right choice for you.

What is a Dual Law Degree?

A dual law degree, also known as a joint law degree, is a program that allows students to pursue two degrees simultaneously.


Typically, this program combines a Juris Doctor (J.D.), Master of Legal Studies (MLS), or Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree with another program such as business, public policy, or healthcare administration. 

The main advantage of the dual law degree program is that it allows students to save both time and money by completing the coursework for both degrees concurrently. Additionally, it provides students with the opportunity to widen their fields of expertise and acquire knowledge in multiple areas. 

Moreover, students who complete a dual law degree program may have a competitive edge in the job market. They may be able to apply for jobs in both fields, or they may be sought after by employers who are looking for individuals with a diverse set of skills and knowledge. 

In conclusion, the dual law degree program is a great option for students who want to obtain multiple degrees and broaden their career prospects. It is a challenging, yet rewarding program that can help students achieve their academic and professional goals.

Admissions Requirements

If you are thinking about pursuing a dual degree, it is essential to be aware that most schools will ask you to apply to each program individually.

Some programs may require you to commence one program before applying to another, such as J.D./LL.M. joint programs. Other programs may allow you to apply for both programs simultaneously, such as MLS/Master of Social Work dual programs.

Types of Dual Law Degrees

There are many dual law degree programs available for those interested in pursuing a career in law, no matter if they are a lawyer or not. These programs include J.D./LL.M. dual degrees, MLS dual degrees, and cross-disciplinary dual degrees.

Juris Doctor (J.D.)/Master of Laws (LL.M.) Dual Degrees

If you’re a second or third-year law student looking to practice law in a specialized area, you might consider the J.D./LL.M. dual degree. This degree combines general law with master’s-level coursework in various areas of the law.

By choosing this option, you can pursue a master’s in your preferred area of law while finishing your J.D. coursework. For example, pursuing a master’s in tax law can help you become a tax lawyer. This route can help you complete both degrees in six to seven semesters instead of eight. 

You can choose from a range of concentrations, such as global health law, international law, or environmental law. J.D./LL.M. dual degree students usually begin their LL.M. coursework in their third year of law school and apply at the end of their second year.

Legal Studies Dual Degrees

If you’re a working professional looking to gain a foundation in law or enhance skills relevant to the field, then a legal studies dual degree program might be a good option for you.

These programs, such as Master of Legal Studies degrees, Master of Science in Legal Studies degrees, and Juris Master degrees, provide an introduction to basic legal concepts like compliance, risk management, and contracts, which you can apply to your own career.

Legal studies programs come in a variety of formats, including part-time, full-time, and online options. Some programs can also be combined with a master’s degree in dispute resolution, social work, or forensic psychology.

It’s important to note that these programs are not full J.D. degrees, but rather a way for professionals to gain foundational knowledge in the field of law. By keeping language simple and familiar, and organizing information logically, legal studies programs can help individuals achieve their career goals.


Cross-Disciplinary Dual Law Degrees

A dual law degree combines a law program with another field of study. Examples include a law and social work degree, a law and business degree, or a law and medicine degree.

Admission requirements vary by program. For example, a law and medicine program will require pre-medicine classes and the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).

Dual Degree vs Double Major vs Minor in Law: Differences and Benefits

Students can earn two degrees in less time by enrolling in dual law degree programs. These programs offer either two degrees in law or one degree in law and another in a second discipline.

This means that students can obtain additional qualifications without spending as much time as they would if they pursued these degrees independently. 

It’s important to note that dual degrees are different from double majors. With double majors, students can fulfill the requirements for two majors but only receive one degree.

Dual degree students, on the other hand, combine the requirements for two different degrees into their coursework and ultimately receive both degrees. 

Additionally, pursuing a minor or concentration allows students to specialize in specific areas of their larger field of study. However, students who pursue a minor or concentration only receive one major and one degree. For example, a J.D. student focusing on business and financial law would receive only one degree with this concentration.

Tips on How to Choose a Dual Law Degree Right for You

Choosing the right graduate or professional program can be a difficult decision and if you’re considering a dual law degree program, it may require more careful thought because of the time and money involved. To help you decide whether this is a good investment for you, it’s important to think about your career goals. 

First, you need to decide whether you want to become an attorney or if you simply want to learn more about the field of law. If you’re a professional hoping to learn more to integrate into your current career, a shorter MLS program might be a better choice than a longer J.D. program. Keep in mind that if you’re pursuing a dual degree, it may be difficult to participate in extracurricular activities. 

Another important factor is your previous experience. If you haven’t started your J.D. yet, you may have to wait to apply for a J.D./LL.M. dual degree program. Additionally, you should think about whether you can afford the time and money required to pursue two degrees. Even though dual degree programs take less time than pursuing two degrees separately, they are usually more expensive because you need to take more courses. 

It’s worth noting that you can also specialize in law as an alternative to pursuing an extra degree. J.D., MLS, and LL.M. programs offer a variety of law degree specializations, such as entertainment, human resources, public policy, and business law, among others.

Frequently Asked Questions on Dual Law Degrees 

Who are dual law degrees designed for?

Dual law degrees are a great way for people who want to become lawyers or non-lawyer professionals to expand their knowledge and skills. They’re designed for people who have specific career goals and are willing to invest extra time and money to earn two degrees.

Is a dual law degree worth it?

Getting two law degrees can be expensive, but it can also save time in the long run. It can give you a better understanding of your area of expertise and make you more attractive to potential employers.

What are the admissions requirements of dual law degree programs?

If you are interested in pursuing two degrees at the same time, you need to apply and get accepted to both programs. Sometimes, the application timelines for both programs might overlap, or you may need to start one program before applying to the other. Every school has different requirements, particularly for degrees that span multiple disciplines. Therefore, it is recommended that you check with each university separately to ensure you meet their specific requirements.

How long does it take to complete a dual law degree?

Depending on the degree, dual law programs can take anywhere from one year to several years to complete. For example, a Master of Legal Studies program usually lasts between one and two years, but if combined with another master’s program, it can take up to two years. A full-time Juris Doctor (J.D.) program usually lasts three years (or six semesters), but if combined with a Master of Laws (LL.M.), it typically takes seven semesters to complete.