New UM program combines degrees
Published: Friday, April 14, 2006
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 22:11
There is a new avenue open for University of Memphis political science students who would like to earn a law degree while working on their Master of Arts.
The Tennessee Board of Regents recently approved the Dual M.A.-J.D. Program offered by the Department of Political Science and the Cecil C. Humphrey's School of Law.
"For many years a lot of undergrads who want to go to law school and also want a master's degree have had to make a choice between the two," said Shannon Blanton, chair of the political science department. "The advantage of this program is that credit towards degrees in these career-related disciplines can be earned simultaneously if admissions and curricula are carefully structured."
This is a good program for students who want to branch out from their structured roles and for students who aren't quite sure what direction they want to go in yet, Blanton said.
"A lot of people are first interested in political science field, but as they get closer to attaining their degree they choose a somewhat more practical path," said Barbara Krichevsky, a professor of law at The U of M. "Likewise, it also appeals to law students interested more in political theory or policy and those working in government."
Many reputable institutions such as Yale, Duke, Syracuse, Tulane and Cincinnati have a program similar to this one, but none here in the Mid-South region. Adding the program provides a competitive advantage for U of M students, Blanton said.
The program requires that students begin the M.A. in political science and then apply separately to the law school, or vice versa. The student will be enrolled in both colleges and have a separate advisor for each.
"We are going to have to just wait and see what students actually choose to take advantage of this program," Kritchevsky said. "I think that it will be the people interested in public policy and those who plan on working in government."
As with any new program, things may need to be evaluated and adjusted as the school year continues.
"The program goes effective in the fall and then we can start accepting people," Blanton said. "There is a lot of overlap between the two programs and we hope it will be attractive to students because we have a great law school and a really strong poli sci program."
What the program really boils down to is that 16 credit hours in law will apply towards the master's degree, reducing the amount of time to earn both, Blanton said.
"I think that it is a really great addition to our program and I hope that a lot of students take advantage of it," Kritchevsky said.