The College of Law, in coordination with other premier colleges at Cleveland State University, offers five dual-degree programs that allow students to earn both a J.D. and a Master’s degree in four years of full-time study or longer for part-time students. In each program students usually begin the first year of classes in the College of Law. The student’s second year consists of courses from the other program, and the final year(s) are a combination. However, a student may begin study in a Master's program and, if admitted, start law school in the second year.
To apply for a dual degree, students must apply to the law school and the respective graduate program independently and indicate on each application that they are seeking dual degree status. Students who obtain dual degrees have a competitive advantage in careers in corporate, government and non-profit settings due to their specialized knowledge.
The J.D./M.B.A.(Master of Business Administration), a dual degree program with the John J. Nance College of Business Administration, prepares graduates for all aspects of business and business law practice. Though the J.D. program alone can prepare a law student to represent business clients, the joint program adds a much richer exposure to the business theory, quantitative skills and economic reasoning that are part and parcel of the world of management today. Students cover a wide variety of topics such as outside business planning and litigation, in-house counsel representation and management.
Students gain hands-on experience by tackling real legal issues for businesses and individuals, either through projects with our corporate partners or through special practice opportunities in one of the five College of Law Clinics where students may provide legal assistance to individuals and community agencies.
The J.D./M.P.A. (Master of Public Administration), a dual degree program with the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs, is intended for students who are preparing for a career in government or the non-profit sector, or who intend to enter a law practice where significant knowledge of the government and non-profit sectors would be a plus. JD/MPA students can choose from five areas of concentration:
- General Public Management
- Nonprofit Management
- Public Safety Management
- Economic Development
- Health Care Administration
JD/MPA students have the opportunity to gain valuable practical experience through Internships arranged by the Levin College and Clinical offerings in the College of Law. In recent years, JD/MPA students have had Internships with a number of County agencies and departments. Other students have served as Interns in various departments in the City of Cleveland. Students also gain practical experience in law clinics that represent community-based non-profits.
The J.D./M.U.P.D.D. (Master of Urban Planning, Design and Development), a dual degree program with the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs, is intended for students who are preparing for a career that will combine law with urban planning and real estate development in the public, private or not-for-profit sectors. JD/MUPDD students can choose from among five areas of concentration:
- Housing and Neighborhood Development
- Economic Development
- Real Estate Development and Finance
- Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
- Environmental Sustainability
JD/MUPDD students may gain valuable practical experience through Internships arranged by the Levin College and Clinical offerings in the College of Law. In recent years, JD/MUPDD students have filled Internships with Cuyahoga County, the City of Cleveland and with local and regional planning agencies. Many JD/MUPDD students also gain hands-on legal experience in one of the College of Law Clinics that represent community-based non-profits.
The dual J.D./M.A.E.S. (Master of Arts in Environmental Studies) degree program with the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs is designed for students interested in pursuing careers in environmental fields from either a law or policy perspective. They will complete the full J.D. program in the law school, as well as a Masters in Environmental Studies at the College of Urban Affairs, generally in four years, rather than the five that the programs would demand on them individually. Students in this program have faculty advisors in both colleges who assist in coordinating students' academic programs. Dual degree students complete a general program of law study, with a focus on environmental courses. Within the Masters program, students may pursue a general course of environmental studies, or may choose to concentrate in:
- Policy and Administration
- Environmental Planning
- Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
- Environmental Nonprofit Management
Dual degree students earn practical experience within their academic program by working with local attorneys on environmental issues through the law school's Environmental Law Clinic. Students in the law and environmental studies program develop skills that are in high demand. Graduates of the dual-degree programs have pursued three major career paths. Although most go on to practice law, they generally will use their Master’s degree by specializing in areas such as land use and real estate development. Others work for the government agencies or in the not-for-profit sector, often working with community economic development. Finally, some work in the business sector, largely in firms dealing with real estate development.
The dual J.D./M.S.E.S. (Master of Science in Environmental Science) degree program is a joint project of the College of Law and the Department of Biological, Geological, and Environmental Sciences, in the College of Science designed for students with a background in science who are interested in careers in environmental law. This dual degree program allows students to complete a masters degree in environmental science, including all of the research and lab work associated with that degree, as well as a law degree, in four years of full time study. Students have a faculty advisor in each college who assists students in coordinating the programs. Dual degree students can earn practical experience through this program both by working with science faculty on research, and by working with local attorneys on environmental issues through the law school's Environmental Law Clinic.
Students will receive a general degree in law, but may take numerous courses that support their specific interest in the environment through both colleges. Graduates of this program have been particularly successful in job placement, including competing successfully against experienced attorneys for a job at the U.S. E.P.A.'s Honors Program.