The University of Texas Schools of Information (iSchool) and Law offer a dual degree program leading to two graduate degrees, the Master of Science in Information Studies (MS) and the Juris Doctor (JD). The dual degree program responds to an increased need for specialists trained in both of these fields who are thus positioned to help address the increasingly complex and changing world of legal information use, retrieval, and storage. The program enables students to earn both degrees simultaneously in three academic years, including one summer. While the length of the degree program is streamlined, students will still satisfy all of the existing requirements of both programs.
The University of Texas at Austin has a long history of academic excellence in information studies and in law. Both programs' recognized leadership in their respective fields offer a sound foundation for students to join expertise in an area of information studies with expertise in legal affairs. At any one time, there are five or more holders of the JD degree enrolled in the master’s or doctoral program in the School of Information. These students, as well as others, often take coursework in the iSchool’s law librarianship program, rated by the U.S. News & World Report in fall 2007 as the second best in the nation. Additionally, graduates of the iSchool master’s and PhD programs often take professional positions in institutions in governmental and other organizations that integrate expertise in the law with that in information studies, e.g., the Congressional Research Service, federal mission agencies such as the Department of Defense, the Library of Congress, and state libraries in Texas and elsewhere. Students with such ambitions are particularly well served by the dual degree program.
Students must meet the separate admissions criteria of each school and must be separately admitted to both schools before they can be approved for admission to the dual degree program. Applicants applying to both programs at the same time should submit a written statement of interest in the dual degree program as part of the separate application to each program. Students who begin work in one of the schools and then apply for admission to the other program will submit a written statement of interest in the dual degree program as part of their application to the second program; they should submit the same statement of interest to the advisor for the dual degree program in the school in which they are already enrolled.
To complete the MS/JD dual degree program, students must meet all of the requirements of the dual degree program. The degrees will be awarded simultaneously when the student has completed all of the dual degree program requirements. These requirements include 30 hours of iSchool courses and 68-70 hours of law school courses (36 hours required + 26-28 of electives + 6 in intellectual property courses.) The Professional Experience and Project required in the iSchool Master’s degree can be completed by JDs doing the equivalent work in one of the law school’s clinical education programs. Two of the iSchool courses are already cross-listed with the Law School.