This NY university offers the first online dual JD/MBA in the US
You can simultaneously earn a juris doctor degree in law and an MBA through this fully-remote postgraduate programme. Source: Drew Angerer/Getty Images North America/Getty Images via AFP

Thinking of going to grad school remotely? Well, this dual degree from Syracuse University in New York would grant you two qualifications upon completion.

According to the university news site Daily Orange, this dual degree is the country’s first-ever joint online law and business graduate degree.

This enables students to earn two degrees at once — a Juris Doctor from SU’s College of Law and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the Martin J Whitman School of Management —  without needing to attend classes in person.

While other universities are already offering joint undergraduate and graduate degrees in law and business, Syracuse University is the first to offer a programme that students can take entirely online.

How it works is that students first apply for the online JD, known as JDinteractive or JDi for short. Upon completion of a set number of courses in this programme, they can then apply for the online MBA.

MBA applications will open in fall 2020, and current JDi students are also eligible to apply for the programme.

The online courses include live video sessions from faculty when they lecture in real-time so that students can interact with their professors and classmates.

Associate dean of online education at the College of Law Kathleen O’Connor said: “Our standards are the same, whether you are in our residential programme or our online programme. It’s our professors that maintain the rigour in their courses.”

As for the online MBA, the courses use interactive tools to facilitate discussion and critical thinking where students are encouraged to reflect on course material and answer questions rather than just watching lectures.

Online degrees have grown more popular in recent years, primarily for its flexibility and convenience, allowing students to further their studies without sacrificing family or professional commitments.

Online education is now the main driver of growth in post-secondary enrolments — US Education Department data showed 34.7 percent of all enrolled college students took at least one online class in 2019, rising from 33.1 percent the previous year.

The benefits of a cross-discipline dual degree

dual degree

Future attorneys will be empowered with business knowledge in this dual-degree programme. Source: Josep Lago/AFP

In today’s competitive world, fields often overlap and graduates are expected to be dynamic and have multiple skills.

Receiving a dual degree like this one offered by Syracuse University gives them a competitive edge and allows them to further develop skills like critical thinking and analytical thinking.

According to faculty director of online education Nina Kohn, the breadth of courses on offer sets this dual degree apart from other online degrees.

“Our upper-level students can choose classes that match their interests and career plans. For example, we have a really strong programme in national security, and so our residential students JDi students can take specialised courses in this area.”

Additionally, Syracuse University has eyes and ears in the legal field and beyond to keep abreast of industry demands.

Kohn said on the ABA Law Student Podcast, “So we’re not just looking at what’s happening in the legal field but we’re looking at what’s happening in other fields and learning from that to predict how that might in the future influence the legal field and what that means for preparing our students.”

Dean Craig Boise adds that this dialogue with practitioners and scholars includes their 10,500-strong law school alumni who now work in law firms and counsel departments.

“We also partnered with the New York State Bar Association’s committee on technology and the law to create a one-credit course here that addresses a whole host of technology-related things including cybersecurity, data privacy, and autonomous systems,” he shared.

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