Login to MyLSU

LSU and the LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center Offer Unique Opportunities for Concurrent Degrees

For many students looking into post-graduate opportunities, the choice is often between pursuing graduate school and going to law school. However, for students who want to pursue both, LSU offers several options that eliminate the need to strictly choose one or the other. LSU, in partnership with the LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center, offers opportunities for students to earn a law degree and master's degree concurrently.


Lee D. & Cynthia C. Bloch Distinguished Professor James S. Fargason, who serves as the advisor for the JD/MS in finance and JD/MBA programs, said that LSU is on the cutting edge of joint degree programs.
Jim Zietz/University Relations

LSU and the law center offer programs where students can earn a JD/GDCL, or Juris Doctor/Graduate Diploma in Comparative Law, concurrently with one of four graduate degrees offered either through the E. J. Ourso College of Business – Master of Science, or MS, in finance; Master of Business Administration, or MBA; or Master of Public Administration, or MPA – or the Manship School of Mass Communication – a Master of Mass Communication, or MMC.

Each institution, LSU and the LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center, separately awards its degree, and students must apply and be accepted to both of the programs they choose.

"It's an excellent opportunity to explore multiple disciplines that complement one another," said Lee D. & Cynthia C. Bloch Distinguished Professor James S. Fargason, who serves as the advisor for the JD/MS in finance and JD/MBA programs.

Patrick Hron, a New Orleans native currently enrolled in the JD/MBA program, said the workload is heavy, but the two sides of the program intertwine and complement each other well.

"Being able to have knowledge and skills from the business side helps with the understanding of the legal side and the other way around," Hron said. "The law touches on every single aspect of business decisions. It helps a lot in business decisions and makes you more attractive to employers."

Hron, who graduated in 2008 from LSU in business administration, said that the learning styles associated with the two degrees are different – law is more individually driven and the MBA program focuses more on group projects and leadership training – but that he learned more by doing both degree programs together.

"I'm glad I did it this way," said Hron, who plans to take the bar examination in July. "You learn material you wouldn't learn another way."

JD/MS in Finance Program


LSU, in partnership with the LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center, offers opportunities for students to concurrently earn a law degree and a master's degree from one of four areas: finance, business administration, public administration and mass communication.
Jim Zietz/University Relations

The latest program developed to offer a concurrent degree is the JD/MS in finance. Now that the legal world and the business world have grown to be more connected, it is more relevant than ever to obtain a joint degree.

"By offering the JD with the MS in finance, LSU is on the cutting edge of joint degree programs," Fargason said. "Students are in a unique position to study a variety of topics that combine both disciplines."

The JD/MS in finance program provides students with a solid education grounded in law and finance; both schools feel that granting concurrent credit will provide greater employment opportunities to students. With LSU already being a unique school, in that it is the only law school of its kind in the United States, adding an MS in finance opens up more career doors with international financial markets.

The LSU MS in finance program provides its students with the analytical and communicative skills necessary for effective financial decision making through the application of financial theory and quantitative techniques. With ever-increasing financial globalization and competition for employment in the financial sector, it is crucial that professionals prepare for the increasingly complex world of finance by building a solid foundation. The program offers a challenging advanced degree that prepares its participants to become the leaders of this rewarding and dynamic field.

The MS in finance offers a number of concentrations that allow students to customize the curriculum to fit a variety of career goals including investments, corporate finance, accounting, statistics, information systems & decision sciences and economics. Students in the program may also participate in LSU's prestigious Internal Audit Program or obtain a minor in mathematics.

A student looking to earn a JD/MS in finance is required to complete the first year of law school and the first semester in the MS program before taking any courses for which concurrent credit is granted. A student can choose which program to begin first, but because the law center admits beginning law students only in the fall semester, a student who chooses to begin the concurrent degree program at the E. J. Ourso College may begin the MS program in the spring semester.


As part of the partnership between LSU and the LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center, a new course involving a transaction simulation was offered this spring to students enrolled in the MS in finance and MBA programs and students at the law center.
Jim Zietz/University Relations

The law center grants 12 hours of credit toward the JD degree for courses completed successfully and granted credit in the MS in finance program, and the E. J. Ourso College grants 18 hours of credit toward the MS degree in finance for courses completed successfully and granted credit in the JD program.

JD/MBA Program

The JD/MBA program was the first joint-degree program to be developed and has been offed since 2000.

"The JD/MBA makes you more marketable and opens more career opportunities. In general I believe more education is better than less education. An additional degree will provide a different perspective," said director of the Flores MBA Program Edward Watson, who called the JD/MBA program the "MBA on steroids."

Students in the JD/MBA program earn overlapping credit towards both degrees. The transfer of concurrent credits allows a student to complete the requirements for both degrees in four years. Otherwise, completion of the two degrees separately would take at least five years.

"The JD/MBA is value driven," Watson said. "You can get two of the most marketable and career oriented degrees together, in less time than if you did each of them separately. This means greater value and less cost."

The faculty of the Flores MBA Program and the law school feel that granting concurrent credit will enhance the attractiveness of the respective academic programs and provide greater employment opportunities to a number of talented students.

"An MBA degree is known to be 'the' business career accelerator, the springboard to management and leadership opportunities," Watson said. "I know many business leaders who leveraged their JD degree knowledge and skills to open unique career opportunities like, for instance, moving from General Councel of a Fortune 500 company to COO."

The awarding of concurrent credit allows students to earn 12 hours of credit toward the JD for courses completed in the Flores MBA program and 18 hours of credit toward the MBA for courses completed in the law school. The course credit is also counted toward the degree from the institution in which the courses were taken.

A student will have the option of pursuing parallel degree programs with common areas of study and will be required initially to complete either the first year at the law school or the first year at the business school.

"I am seeing more and more attorneys advance in business careers as knowledge of the law and ability to analyze problems and issues through the lens of an attorney is a valuable skill," Watson said.

Watson said that the program is geared toward a certain type of graduate student.

"You have to be really driven, self-motivated, career focused, hardworking, smart and mentally tough," he said. "If you really want to accelerate your business opportunities, either in the corporate world or as an entrepreneur, you should seriously consider the joint JD/MBA degree. Both degrees prepare you for a professional career but they take very different approaches.

"I think this is the dynamic duo education pack that will serve the graduate well in almost any business such as strategic consulting, media, entertainment, and particularly in the financial sector, include private equity, investment banking, real estate, hedge fund management, corporate development and mergers and acquisition. There will be an investment made in tuition and sweat equity but the payoffs will be handsome."

Business Plan and Transaction Seminar


Elizabeth Cuttner, a student in the JD/MMC program, came to LSU in 2010 to pursue a master's degree from the Manship School with the ultimate goal of working in media policy and government.
Jim Zietz/University Relations

As part of the partnership between LSU and the LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center, a new course involving a transaction simulation was offered this spring to students enrolled in the MS in finance and MBA programs and students at the law center.

According to Hron, who is currently taking the class, it is a transactional walk-through based around one company buying another company. The class, developed and co-taught by James Bowers, Oliver P. Stockwell Professor of Law, and Fargason, is made up of 16 students – eight from law and eight from MBA and MS in finance.

"The law students help with the legal side – documents for non-compete, acquisition agreements, etc.," Hron said. "MBA and others do valuations, negotiations,the whole business side of it."

In addition to working through the details of the business transaction, guest practitioners and business leaders are brought in to give real world experience to the students.

JD/MPA Program

The E. J. Ourso College of Business Public Administration Institute and the LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center have also partnered to offer a JD/MPA degree option.

The MPA is a 42-hour degree program, which emphasizes management and financial skills for those leading public agencies, nonprofit and healthcare organizations, and for-profit organizations that interact with governmental agencies.

The Public Administration Institute provides outstanding educational opportunities for those already in the workforce who wish to advance their careers, as well as those who seek an MPA immediately after earning their undergraduate degree.

Applicants admitted into the JD/MPA program will spend the first consecutive fall and spring semesters as a full-time student in the law center. After completion of the first year, joint degree students simultaneously schedule both MPA and law courses until the requirements for both degrees are fulfilled. Satisfactory completion of the requirements of the JD/MPA program should take approximately three and one half years of full-time study (including summers) and culminates in the awarding of both the MPA and JD degrees.

JD/MMC Program

The JD/MMC degree program, offered by the Manship School of Mass Communication and the law center, is designed to attract those students who wish to specialize in First Amendment law or to work as professionals in mass communication in fields related to law.

"This is a particularly great combination degree for students who want to work in Washington, D.C., because of the Manship School's national reputation in political communication and the study of media and public affairs," said Amy Reynolds, associate dean for graduate studies and research and holder of the Thomas O. & Darlene Wood Ryder Professorship II.

Although the two degree programs remain separate from one another, the concurrent program accelerates the completion of both degrees because of each school's recognition of credit hours earned for coursework completed in the other. The law center accepts nine credit hours of mass communication coursework as elective credits toward the JD degree and the Manship School accepts nine credit hours of law coursework as elective credits toward the MMC degree.

Elizabeth Cuttner, a student in the JD/MMC program, came to LSU in 2010 to pursue a master's degree from the Manship School with the ultimate goal of working in media policy and government.

"In my first semester at Manship, I took a media law course with Dr. Reynolds and really enjoyed it; that's when I learned about the joint program as a way to open up opportunities in Washington for the lowest cost – in both time and money," said Cuttner, a native of Norwalk, Conn. "I also think the unique perspectives of the law degree in the civil law will be beneficial outside of Louisiana because of the comparative focus between the common law and civil law and the opportunities in international law."

Cuttner said that beginning the program was a decision that she didn't enter into lightly due to the time commitments and workload associated with both degrees. To students considering the programs, she recommends that they speak with professionals to discuss career options and potential marketability by having both degrees and to also speak with current law students to get an idea of what to expect from the program.

Applicants to the program must be separately admitted into the Manship School of Mass Communication and the law center. Students may begin the program in either the law center or the Manship School, but one of the first two years of the program must be devoted exclusively to the first year of the JD program at the law center. Thereafter, students may take a combination of law and mass communication courses, and complete the MMC thesis requirement near the end of the fourth year of the concurrent program.

"This is a great opportunity because it allows students to get both degrees in four years instead of five," Reynolds said. "It's also a great combination – to have the mass communication writing/research skills as a lawyer is helpful, and to have a law degree within the field of mass communications opens up a lot of other career options as well."