Concurrent Degree Program

(J.D./M.A.; J.D./M.B.A.; J.D./M.S.; J.D./Ph.D)

Through the Program in Law & Graduate Studies (PLGS), students at the University of California, Irvine can pursue a J.D. from the Law School concurrently with a master’s or Ph.D. in virtually any UCI graduate program.

UCI was one of the few places that allowed you to craft your own pathway. I felt like UCI Law itself was a pioneer, and I could be a pioneer there, too.” 
— Crystal Caldera, '17, J.D./M.A. in Sociology, Associate, Cooley LLP 

Designed to be one of the broadest programs of its kind, PLGS allows enormous latitude and options – giving students a chance to combine law with graduate research degrees in such areas as humanities, social sciences, life sciences, information and computer sciences, physical sciences and engineering, or with graduate professional degrees in business, urban planning, education, and public health.

PLGS was created to promote interdisciplinary study of law while also enabling students to obtain both a J.D. and an M.A., M.B.A., M.S. or Ph.D. in less time than would be required to earn both degrees separately. The normative time for completion of the program is four years for J.D./Master's and J.D./M.B.A. and seven years for J.D./Ph.D. combinations.

Interdisciplinary by Nature

From the start, UC Irvine School of Law has embraced an interdisciplinary approach, where faculty and students engage in work at the very cutting edge of legal scholarship and legal practice.

Faculty members at UCI Law are influential scholars with a broad range of expertise. Many of them hold joint appointments in other departments, bringing law together with a variety of disciplines, including political science, economics, social ecology, history, literary journalism, criminology, anthropology, psychology, sociology, business, transportation science, philosophy, and policy, planning and design. 

UCI Law faculty also lead global discussions of the most critical and complex current legal and social issues, including access to justice, law and inequality, law and social change, immigration reform, race, gender and identity studies, the changing legal profession, climate change, election and campaign finance reform, dispute resolution, consumer protection, constitutional law, intellectual property law, women’s rights, international and transnational law, and much more.

UCI is the perfect place to pursue a concurrent degree because the Law School and the various graduate programs across the University are flooded with faculty focusing on empirical, normative and theoretical studies of law. Moreover, our program is one of the most comprehensive in the country. We offer students maximum flexibility and choice to combine a J.D. with virtually any graduate program on campus. Interdisciplinary training in law at UCI will not only position students for careers in academia, public service or public policy, but will provide students with additional tools to enter professional practice in law, business, engineering and many other areas.
— Shauhin Talesh, Director, Program in Law & Graduate Studies, Professor of Law with Joint Appointments in Criminology, Law & Society and Sociology

What Sets UCI Apart

UC Irvine School of Law has the distinct advantage of being located on a university campus that already has strong interdisciplinary programs with law and related fields of law. In fact, UC Irvine is nationally known for its graduate programs in such fields as criminology, law and society; psychology and social behavior; anthropology; management and business; literature; history; performing arts; engineering; physical sciences; and biological sciences

Who Should Apply

Highly qualified students interested in combining the study of law with graduate research and/or professional qualifications in cognate disciplines are invited to explore PLGS. The program is well-suited to students interested in professional or academic careers focused on the interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary study of law and legal institutions, policy analysis, and/or applied research in law-related fields, such as:

Being in a joint J.D./Ph.D. program at UC Irvine has been an amazing experience. UCI is filled with accomplished lawyers and academics who take teaching and mentorship very seriously. The faculty members at UCI Law are highly motivated to create a new generation of legal practitioners and academic thinkers. They’ve spent a great deal of time advising me in order to ensure that I will be able to have the career that I want. I can’t imagine a more supportive, energizing environment, and I’m confident that my education will prepare me to both practice law and enter academia. 
— Matthew Fritz-Mauer '16, J.D./Ph.D. in Criminology, Law and Society (expected '19), 2014 1Microsemi/Peterson Fellow
 Read about Matthew's advocacy and research on anti-wage theft laws >

  • Criminal justice and criminology
  • Urban planning
  • Environmental protection
  • Discrimination
  • Human rights
  • Intellectual property
  • Psychology
  • Biotechnology

Meet some of our concurrent degree students >

How the Program Works

Applicants must submit separate applications for admission to UCI Law and to the eligible graduate program of their choice. Once admitted for study into both programs, concurrent degree students will work with UCI Law's PLGS director and the director of the student's concurrent graduate program to develop a plan that will allow completion of both degrees in less time than if the degrees were pursued separately. Ordinarily, students will begin their first year of law instruction after one or more years of graduate program study. Upon completion of the first year of law instruction, students will pursue a coordinated curriculum of upper-level law study and graduate program study and research.

Financial Assistance

PLGS students are eligible for financial support through their chosen graduate program while pursuing graduate degree studies and through UCI Law while pursuing law studies. The Law School offers up to full-tuition scholarship support to concurrent degree students during their semesters of full-time law school enrollment. These merit scholarships recognize the potential for outstanding law school performance and will be awarded to those whose academic records demonstrate exceptional promise as concurrent degree students. The scholarship may be renewed for up to six semesters of law school enrollment, so long as the student maintains good academic standing.

Emphasis in Law, Society and Culture

Of special interest to students pursuing a concurrent degree in humanities, social ecology or social sciences is the newly established Emphasis in Law, Society and Culture.

At UCI, I knew I could combine a J.D. and a master’s degree in urban and regional planning and get the exact education I wanted. Because of UCI Law’s focus on public service and interdisciplinary studies, these academic programs complemented each other in a way I didn’t find at other schools.”
— Lauren Gruber, '14
J.D./Master of Urban and Regional Planning Law Fellow, Accountability Counsel 

Offering an advanced graduate curriculum, the LSC Emphasis aims to create transdisciplinary communities of emerging socio-legal scholars whose intellectual development is enhanced by formal and informal exchange across diverse fields.

LSC scholars explore and develop theoretical and empirical models to analyze and critique the role of law in legal, social, economic, political and cultural contexts. Students enrolled in any UCI graduate or professional program are eligible to apply. Each student will be assigned a faculty mentor outside of their home department and will meet with that mentor on a monthly basis to discuss the student's ongoing research. 

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