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JD-MALA Dual-Degree Program

The JD-MALA Dual-Degree Program:
University of Maryland Carey School of Law and St. John’s College

The JD-MALA Dual-Degree Program was instituted through the efforts of Geoffrey Comber and Alan Hornstein. In 1986, Geoffrey Comber was the Director of the St. John’s College Graduate Institute and Alan Hornstein was a graduate student at St. John’s and Professor of Law at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law. Dr. Hornstein and Mr. Comber collaborated to formalize a transfer-credit policy wherein students who are interested in pursuing graduate degrees at St. John’s College and the University of Maryland Carey School of Law could earn a joint degree from both institutions.

Through credit sharing, students in this dual-degree program can satisfy the requirements for two degrees in different disciplines in less time, and at less expense, than would otherwise be possible. Students interested in the JD-MALA Dual-Degree Program must apply separately for admission to both schools. Applicants must meet the separate admission criteria and complete the distinct degree requirements at each institution.

If admitted to both programs, students may enroll in and obtain degrees from both programs simultaneously; although, students typically enroll in one school and defer admission to the other school until the following year. For example, the first year of study at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law is comprised almost entirely of required courses; therefore, first-year law students cannot cross-enroll at the St. John’s Graduate Institute. Instead, the Carey School of Law prefers students to focus on the first year of law school, then enroll in relevant courses at St. John’s during the second year, which is when law students ordinarily have the opportunity to take electives. To clarify, it would be possible for JD-MALA Dual-Degree Program students to begin their studies at St. John’s before completing their first year at the Carey School of Law, provided none of those courses would transfer from St. John’s to the Carey School of Law.

Regardless of the order of enrollment, participation in this JD-MALA Dual-Degree Program must be formally established prior to the completion of any coursework that would be intended to transfer from one of these institutions to the other. Once participation is approved, the schedule for fulfilling degree requirements for each program may be completed in a variety of ways, including completing courses at both institutions concurrently or successively. The principal constraint is time. The St. John’s MALA program must be completed within eight years of matriculation, while the University of Maryland JD program must be completed within seven years. To be strategic, students are encouraged to communicate interest in this dual-degree program as early as possible and to work very closely with both institutions to devise a sensible and comprehensive long-term enrollment plan. Ultimately, in order to be listed as a dual-degree recipient in both commencement programs, dual-degree program participants must complete their last requirements for both degrees in the same term.

The University of Maryland Carey School of Law will accept nine credits awarded by the St. John’s Graduate Institute for satisfactory completion of the Politics and Society segment toward the Carey School of Law’s J.D. degree, provided that the student has not yet completed those specific St. John’s graduate courses, and provided that the St. John’s Politics and Society segment credits were earned after the start of enrollment at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law. Specific preceptorial topics to be submitted for approval in conjunction with the Politics and Society segment include courses in the areas of History, Politics and Society, and Philosophy and Theology. In all cases, any classes taken at St. John’s that are intended to apply to the law degree must be approved by the Office of Registration and Enrollment at the Carey School of Law prior to the student’s enrollment in those St. John’s courses. This approval process formalizes the student’s participation in the JD-MALA Dual-Degree Program from the perspective of the Carey School of Law.

The St. John’s College Graduate Institute will accept nine credits awarded by the University of Maryland Carey School of Law for satisfactory completion of the J.D. degree toward the MALA degree, provided that grades of B- or higher were earned at the Carey School of Law. Specific courses to be considered for transfer include Constitutional Law II, Criminal Law, and Property Law. In all cases, any classes taken at the Carey School of Law that are intended to apply to the MALA degree must be approved by the St. John’s Associate Dean of Graduate Programs prior to the student’s enrollment in those Carey School of Law courses. This approval process formalizes the student’s participation in the JD-MALA Dual-Degree Program from the perspective of the St. John’s Graduate Institute.