In cooperation with other schools and departments of Yale University, the Law School offers programs leading to a master’s degree and a J.D. (Juris Doctor) or to a doctorate and a J.D. These programs are intended for those who wish to acquire the specialized skills of some body of knowledge related to law. All proposals must be submitted to and approved by the Faculty Committee on Special Courses of Study. There are no "joint admissions" at Yale Law School. Instead, once a student has been admitted to YLS and another program of their choice — either concurrently or in separate years — they can petition for joint degree status at the Law School as early as the spring of their 1L year. Joint degree status is usually granted but is not guaranteed. Information on the petition process can be found on the registrar’s website.
While joint degrees have been most common with the Graduate School and the School of Management, students have also arranged joint work in the schools of the Environment, Divinity, Global Affairs, and Medicine. On a case-by-case basis, the Law School has permitted students to pursue joint degrees with relevant programs in other universities as well.
Joint-degree students must satisfy one of the two writing requirements before they can register for their penultimate term at the Law School.
Master of Arts
Some Graduate School departments and programs offer one-year master’s degrees and two-year programs. In either case, a student can complete a joint J.D.–M.A. program in four years.
At the end of the fourth year, students should have completed all requirements for both the law degree and the one-year master’s degree. Additional courses in the Graduate School are required in two-year master’s degree programs. Individual departments generally also impose requirements such as reading knowledge of a foreign language or passage of particular examinations.
Application for a master’s degree program should be made at the same time as application to the Law School or during the student’s first or second year at the Law School. Initial inquiries should be directed to the appropriate associate dean. Application to the Graduate School should be made by the first working day in January preceding the fall term in which the student wishes to matriculate in the Graduate School, although late applications may be considered at the discretion of the Graduate School. Detailed instructions on admissions should be obtained from the Graduate School Office of Admissions. Students should also consult the director of graduate studies in the relevant department and the Graduate School bulletin.
Master of Environmental Management
Yale Law School and the Yale School of the Environment offer students the opportunity to jointly pursue a J.D. at Yale Law School and a master's degree in environmental management (M.E.M) at the Yale School of the Environment. Undertaken separately these two degrees would take five years to complete. Together students can earn both degrees in four years.
Master of Business Administration
The School of Management offers a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.), which is normally completed in two years. The J.D.-M.B.A. is directed toward students interested in business law-related practice as well as in careers as entrepreneurs and managers in business and nonprofit organizations. A J.D.-M.B.A. joint degree program, in which the J.D. and M.B.A. degrees are earned in four years, is offered. Students may apply to both the Law School and the School of Management simultaneously, or they may apply during their first year at the School of Management or their first or second year at the Law School.
Master of Public Policy
A four-year joint degree program is offered in law and global affairs leading to an M.P.P. degree in global affairs and a J.D. degree in law through Yale Law School and the Jackson School of Global Affairs. To complete the joint degree, students must complete the requirements for the Global Affairs degree, though only a total of 12, not 16, courses are required. None of these courses may be Law courses. Students must also petition the Law School’s Special Course of Study committee and complete the requirements for the J.D. degree.
It is possible to combine study for the J.D. and Ph.D. degrees. The total time in residence and the details of each program of study must be taken up with the Graduate School, the director of graduate studies in the relevant department, and the Law School. Students interested in such a program must be admitted to the two schools separately. They may apply to both simultaneously or, having been admitted to the Law School or the Graduate School, may apply for admission to the other program. Ordinarily, the Law School encourages a joint-degree candidate to complete the J.D. within four years. Inquiries concerning joint J.D.–Ph.D. programs should be directed to the appropriate associate dean. The deadline for application to Ph.D. programs is early in January.
J.D.-Ph.D. in Finance
This joint-degree program is intended for students wishing to pursue a career in business law teaching. The program is structured to permit course requirements to be completed in five years. The expectation is that law students will apply for admission in their first year of law school, but they may apply at any time.
For program details, including application instructions, please visit the J.D.-Ph.D. in Finance page.