Journalism MA and Law JD

Journalism MA and Law JD

The School of Journalism and the School of Law offer an integrated program in which students may obtain both a master of arts degree in journalism and a juris doctor degree in law. This program is especially suitable for students interested in enhancing their competencies, qualifications and career options through the successful completion of two complementary professional programs. Although an MA degree in journalism normally requires two years of study, and a JD requires three, many students will be able to complete the full program in four years.

Program Requirements

Dual-degree program requirements consist of both required and elective courses.

First Year Required Law Courses (31 Credits)

  • LAW 5010 Civil Procedure I and LAW 5015 Civil Procedure II (5 Credits)
  • LAW 5020 Contracts (5 Credits)
  • LAW 5035 Criminal Law (4 Credits)
  • LAW 5040 Property I (5 Credits)
  • LAW 5060 Torts I (5 Credits)
  • LAW 5080 Legal Research and Writing (2 Credits)
  • LAW 5085 Advocacy and Research (2 Credits)
  • LAW 5095 Lawyering: Problem Solving and Dispute Resolution (3 Credits)

Any student who does not achieve a 70.00 GPA in the fall semester will be required to take LAW 5090 Legal Reasoning. Those students in LAW 5090 Legal Reasoning will not take LAW 5085 Advocacy and Research until their second year. This course is designed to assist students in meeting the graduation requirements.

Required Journalism Program Core Courses (12 Credits)

  • JOURN 0900 News Practicum (3 Credits: This course does not count toward the degree.) or
    JOURN 7200 Principles of Strategic Communications (3 Credits) or
    JOURN 7300 Broadcast News I (3 Credits)
  • JOURN 8000 Mass Media Seminar (3 Credits)
  • JOURN 8006 Research Methods (3 Credits) or
    JOURN 8008 Qualitative Research Methods (3 Credits)
  • JOURN 7000 Communications Law (3 Credits) or LAW 5760 Mass Media Law (3 Credits). Students may not receive credit for both JOURN 7000 and LAW 5760.

Second Year Required Law Courses (8 Credits)

  • LAW 5220 Constitutional Law (4 Credits)
  • LAW 5260 Evidence (4 Credits)

Second or Third Year Required Law Courses (6 Credits)

  • LAW 5240 Criminal Procedure (3 Credits)
  • LAW 5280 Professional Responsibility (3 Credits)

Elective Courses

Law Electives

Students at the MU Law School are required to take 89 credits to receive the JD degree: 45 required credits and 44 elective credits. Students in the dual-degree program may count up to six credits of course work taken under course names and numbers assigned by the School of Journalism toward the 44 elective credits required for the JD degree. As explained below, students in the dual-degree program also may undertake a joint research project and receive elective research credit at both the School of Law and the School of Journalism.

Journalism Model and Elective Courses

Master’s students are required to choose one of the following models for concentrated study: advertising, broadcast news, editing, international, magazine, media management, new media, news media and society, photojournalism, public policy journalism, reporting/writing or strategic communication. Students also may create an individually structured model. Each model consists of both model core and elective courses. The total number of model core and elective credits required for completion of the master’s model depends upon the model chosen by the student. Dual-degree students may choose any model option; however, the environmental reporting model is not recommended because it already requires a large number of credits. Students interested in the environmental reporting model may wish to select some of the courses from that model and incorporate them into an individually structured model.

Journalism Master’s Capstone

Students are required to complete and defend an MA project or thesis in journalism. Students in the dual-degree program may choose to undertake the MA project or thesis in conjunction with LAW 5875 Research in Law at the MU Law School. If a student makes this choice, the student’s thesis committee must include the law faculty member overseeing LAW 5875 Research in Law. The thesis committee may also include other members of the law faculty. Students should consult information about the thesis or project for further explanation and rules.

The law faculty member overseeing LAW 5875 Research in Law shall be responsible for determining whether the project or thesis satisfies the requirements of LAW 5875 Research in Law, considering those requirements as they apply to all other law students. Generally, credit under LAW 5875 Research in Law is appropriate only for a paper of substantial length on a topic related to law.

At the discretion of the law faculty member overseeing LAW 5875 Research in Law, the upper-level writing section at the School of Law may be waived for students who use this course to successfully complete a joint journalism thesis or project. In exercising his or her discretion, the law faculty member should determine whether the joint LAW 5875 Research in Law/thesis or project satisfies the regular requirements for an upper-level writing section at the School of Law.

Summary of Requirements

Requirements for the JD degree are met with 89 credits: 45 required credits and 44 elective credits. Students in the JD-MA program satisfy those 89 credits with 83 credits in courses taken at the School of Law and 6 credits in courses taken at the School of Journalism.

Requirements for the MA degree in journalism are met with 37 credits: 31 credits in the School of Journalism (including the capstone requirement) and 6 elective credits in the School of Law. The detailed program of study in journalism is subject to approval by the student’s adviser in the School of Journalism and by the Director of Graduate Studies.

The Law School’s independent study course, LAW 5875 Research in Law, may be taken in partial satisfaction of both the Law School’s elective requirement and the School of Journalism’s capstone research requirement. Interested students should register for LAW 5875 Research in Law, and the credits earned for that course also will be counted toward the journalism capstone requirement.

Sample Course of Study

Year 1

  • First Year Required Law Courses (31 Credits)

Year 2

  • Second Year Required Law Courses (8 Credits)
  • Two Elective Law Courses (6 Credits)
  • Journalism Program Core (8-9 Credits)
  • Two Courses from Journalism Model Core Requirements (6 Credits)

Year 3

  • Second or Third Year Required Law Courses (6 Credits)
  • Journalism Model Core Requirements (6 Credits)
  • Law Electives (18 Credits)
  • JOURN 8098 MA Project Seminar or JOURN 8100 MA Thesis Seminar (1 Credit)

Year 4

  • Law Electives (14 Credits), including LAW 5875 Research in Law
  • Journalism Electives; Law Credit (6 Credits)
  • 8190 Area Problem/8090 Research (9 Credits), with LAW 5875 Research in Law (3 Credits) counting toward capstone research.

Application Procedure

Applicants to the dual-degree program must submit formal applications for admission to the School of Law and to the School of Journalism, accompanied by a statement requesting permission to pursue the dual-degree program. Students must meet the requirements for admission to both programs. Contact the School of Journalism and the School of Law for further information on admissions requirements. Students normally should declare an intent to enter both programs before entering the University. This request should be submitted before a student has substantially completed the requirements of either program. However, petitions requesting admission to the program from students at more advanced stages in either program may be considered.

Additional Regulations

  1. Law students who receive credit under the dual-degree program for taking journalism courses may not receive credit for taking other classes outside the School of Law.
  2. Occasionally, students entering the MA program in journalism are required to strengthen their undergraduate experience by taking extra course work to round out their graduate programs. The most commonly required additional courses are American government, American history and economics. These courses do not count as part of the master’s program.
  3. A dual-degree candidate who subsequently decides to pursue only one of these degrees must complete degree requirements subject to the same rules as a student not pursuing a dual degree.
  4. Student honors and class rank at the School of Law will be computed on classes enrolled in as law courses.
  5. The School of Law cannot award credit for any class taken before matriculation at the School of Law. Dual-degree candidates must therefore enroll at the School of Law before taking any journalism courses to be counted toward the JD degree.
  6. The School of Journalism and the School of Law reserve the right to limit participation in the program, including dismissal. Those interested are encouraged to submit a request for permission to participate in the program, along with applications for admission, at the earliest possible time.
  7. The listing of courses does not constitute a binding commitment that the courses will be offered during the student’s course of study.
  8. Students in the dual-degree program are subject to the same rules and regulations that apply to all students at the School of Law and the School of Journalism.