Law & Mass Communication Dual Degree Program

The dual degree program provides a course of study for students interested in pursuing graduate studies in law, and journalism and mass communication. The program is intended for students with a variety of goals including those who plan to practice media or intellectual property law, pursue academic careers in law and mass communication fields, pursue a Ph.D. degree in a related field or perhaps plan to pursue a career in journalism or strategic communication with a law-related emphasis.

Dual degree students work with advisers in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the School of Law to help them create a unique program of required and elective courses that satisfies the degree requirements for both schools and that best fits each student’s particular interests. Both schools have a large number of faculty members with expertise and interests in the fields of journalism, intellectual property, and mass communication law, and the schools have collaborated to establish the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy.

Some of the courses offered include:

  • LAW 475 – Media Law Practicum
  • LAW 234F – First Amendment Law
  • JOMC 705 – Theories of Mass Communication
  • LAW 374 – National Security Law
  • JOMC 847 – Seminar in Communication for Social Change
  • LAW 357C – Cyberspace Law
  • JOMC 810 – Seminar in the Psychology of Human-Computer Interaction
  • LAW 334 – Privacy Law
  • JOMC 846 – Seminar in International Communication
  • LAW 418 – International Intellectual Property Law

This is just a partial listing. You can view all the recommended courses and their descriptions here: Dual Degree Shared Credit Courses.

Academic requirements and curriculum

The dual degree program does not alter the core requirements either for the M.A. or J.D. degrees. Students in the M.A./J.D. dual degree program ordinarily will spend the first year of their studies completing the first year required curriculum in the School of Law and then begin graduate studies in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication during the second year. Dual degree students must complete the degree requirements to earn the J.D. from the School of Law, and the degree requirements to earn the M.A. from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Dual degree students may count approved shared credit course hours toward the total credit hour requirements for both degrees, however. Depending on their individual degree programs, dual degree students may count up to 12 hours of approved law course (LAW) credit toward the M.A. degree from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and up to 12 hours of approved journalism and mass communication course (JOMC) credit toward the J.D. degree from the School of Law. Students who do not maintain dual degree status may need to take additional coursework if they pursue either degree separately after being admitted to the dual degree program.

Advising

M.A./J.D. dual degree students will work with advisers in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and the School of Law, to help them create a unique program of required and elective courses that satisfies the requirements for the M.A. in mass communication and the J.D. and that best fits each student’s particular interests and career goals. Degree plans for dual degree students must be approved by their advisers in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and the School of Law.

Length of program

The M.A./J.D. dual degree program can allow students to earn a M.A. in mass communication and J.D. in approximately four years compared with the usual five years it would take to earn both degrees separately. However, the length of each student’s program can vary depending on individual circumstances and the track selected for the student’s master’s program in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Admissions

Students seeking admission to the dual degree program must be admitted to both the master’s program in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and also to the School of Law. This requires a separate application package to each program with a written statement in each application indicating that the student is seeking admission to the dual degree program. Among other requirements, students seeking admission to the dual degree program will be required to submit current and valid GRE scores for consideration for admission to the master’s program in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and an LSAT score for consideration for admission to the School of Law.

Students are admitted to begin the dual degree program in the Fall semester, and dual degree students complete the first year required law school curriculum during the first year of the program. Dual degree students then begin master’s coursework in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication during the second year of the program beginning in the Fall semester. This requires dual degree students to defer their admission to the master’s program in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication for one year until the second year of the dual degree program.

For more information about admission to the M.A. program in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication click here.  For more information about admission to the UNC School of Law click here.

Contact information

For more information, please contact either

  • Dr. Michael Hoefges, associate professor, UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication: mhoefges (at) email.unc.edu or 919.843.0971; or
  • Prof. David Ardia, assistant professor, UNC School of Law: ardia (at) email.unc.edu or 919.962.8955.