dual degree
You can earn a dual degree in both Law and Business without attending in-person classes at Syracuse University. Source: Shutterstock

A new graduate programme at Syracuse University in New York can now be taken entirely online, and students will receive two qualifications upon completion.

According to the university news site Daily Orange, the recently-launched 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 degree in law from SU’s College of Law and a Master’s 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 professor 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, 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 enroled 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


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.

It is also beneficial for law graduates to have business acumen in our era of entrepreneurship and innovation.

Associate dean for undergraduate and Master’s education at WhitmanAlexander McKelvie told the Daily Orange that having a background in business is useful for future attorneys, especially those who plan to start their own private practice or work as legal counsel for corporations.

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