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JD/MS in Journalism

The JD/MS in Journalism program combines into approximately three and one-half years of full-time study the Master of Science (MS) in Journalism and the Juris Doctor (JD) programs offered by the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications and the KU School of Law.

The program is designed to offer students academic grounding in both disciplines to prepare them for the professional practice of journalism, law or a combination of media law.

This joint degree prepares students to address legal, ethical, and policy problems facing communicators and media managers, legal practitioners and scholars who face complex issues within their own disciplines as well as pressing societal issues in biosciences, technology, business, intellectual property and constitutional law. Graduates of this combined degree will assume responsibilities in the public and private sectors. The goal of the joint program is to develop leaders with technical and philosophical approaches to address and communicate complex issues to policymakers and to various communities and audiences.

If you are a prospective law student, contact the KU Law Office of Admissions, 785-864-4378, admitlaw@ku.edu; or Assistant Dean Matt Tidwell, journalism, 913-897-8416 or mtidwell@ku.edu

If you are a current KU student, contact Assistant Dean Leah Terranova, law school, 785-864-4357, leaht@ku.edu; or Assistant Dean Matt Tidwell, journalism, 913-897-8416 or mtidwell@ku.edu

Admissions Requirements

To be admitted to the joint JD/MS program, an applicant must hold an earned baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university, complete the admission processes and meet the admission requirements for both the School of Law and the School of Journalism. Also, the applicant must be admitted by both schools no later than the end of the first year of study in the School of Law or the completion of more than 18 credit hours of graduate work in the School of Journalism.

The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is the only standardized test required for an applicant to the joint degree program. An applicant or student who is interested in entering the joint degree program should discuss his or her plans with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the School of Law and the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research in the J-School as early as possible.

Degree Requirements

To receive the JD/MS, a student must complete a minimum of 109 credit hours. Of these, at least, 81 credit hours must be from courses offered by the School of Law and 28 must be from the master's program in journalism.

Students in the joint degree program should note that while the School of Law requires a 2.0 grade point average in JD coursework to remain in good standing and for graduation, the master’s degree in journalism follows the Graduate School regulation requiring a 3.0 cumulative grade point average for coursework that is counted toward the MS portion of the joint degree.

In planning their enrollments, students should inform themselves of course prerequisites and plan their course schedules accordingly. Please refer to the journalism school and law school websites for the most current information about admission and graduation requirements: www.journalism.ku.edu and www.law.ku.edu

J.D. Requirements

All candidates for the J.D. must complete the following required courses:
First Year
Course Credit hours
Law 804 Civil Procedure 4
Law 806 Intro. to Constitutional Law 4
Law 809 Contracts 4
Law 814 Criminal Law 4
Law 820 Lawyering Skills I 2
Law 821 Lawyering Skills II 3
Law 826 Property 4
Law 831 Torts I 4
Upper Class
3 courses from among the following:
Law 892 Business Organizations 4
Law 881 Conflict of Laws 3
Law 878 Criminal Procedure 3
Law 909 Family Law 3
Law 845 Jurisdiction 3
Law 837 Contracts II/ UCC Sales 3
Law 873 Commercial Law: Secured Transactions 3
Law 996 Trusts and Estates 4
Law 908 Evidence 3
Law 972 Professional Responsibility 2

Students must complete all required first-year courses (29 credit hours) during their first year of law school enrollment. In addition to these course requirements, the School of Law has an upper-class writing requirement, a residence requirement, and a time limit for completion of the degree. Please refer to the current School of Law Catalog for details.

In addition to the 43 credit hours of coursework (described above) required of all law students, students in the joint JD/MS program must complete the following coursework:

Any 4 of the following courses
Course Credit hours
LAW 888 Copyright Law and Digital Works 3
LAW 951 Global Data Protection Law 3
LAW 968 Intellectual Property 4
LAW 958 Media and the First Amendment 3
LAW 959 First Amendment Advocacy 3
LAW 994 Special Topics (when offered for at least 3 credits on a topic related to media, law and technology)* 3
1 or more of the following courses for a total of at least 2 credits
LAW 894 Field Placement Program (when completed for at least 3 credits with a government agency or nonprofit or public international organization related to media, law and technology)* 3
LAW 924 Independent Research (written work on a topic related to media, law and technology* for at least 2 credits) 2
LAW 937 and/or 940 Kansas Journal of Law and Public Policy (written work on a topic related to media, law and technology* for at least 2 credits) 2
LAW 950 Law Review (written work on a topic related to media, law and technology for at least 2 credits)* 2
LAW 955 Legislative Simulation and Study 3
LAW 976 Public Policy Practicum 3
1 or more of the following courses for a total of at least 2 credits
LAW 851 Contracts III 3
LAW 964 National/International Moot Court Competitions (competition on the First Amendment or other media-related subject)* 2
LAW 971 Product Liability 3
LAW 977 Patent Law 4
2 of the following courses
LAW 842 State Constitutional Law 2
LAW 850 Administrative Law 3
LAW 886 Civil Rights Actions 3
LAW 891 Elections and Campaign Finance 3
LAW 910 Federal Courts and the Federal System 3
LAW 933 Judicial Field Placement Program 3
LAW 954 Legislation and Statutory Interpretation 3
LAW 956 Local Government Law 2
* Enrollment for credit toward the joint degree is subject to approval by the director of the Media, Law & Technology Certificate Program at the School of Law.

The Academic Committee shall have the authority to make changes or substitutions to this list upon showing of changed circumstances, such as changes in the fundamental nature of a course or the discontinuance of a course.

In addition to the coursework described above, students in the joint JD/MS program may count 9 credit hours of master's journalism courses toward their JD degree. Students may choose courses to complete the remaining hours necessary to reach the total of 81 hours of law school credit needed for the joint degree from any part of the law school curriculum.

Journalism Requirements

All candidates for the MS in Journalism must complete the following required courses:

Mass Communications (37 hrs) and Joint Degree in Journalism in Law - Professional Track
Core Courses (22 hours)
 PRE 710 (& 711) Statistics (4)
JOUR 801 Res I: Theory (Fall) (3)
JOUR 802 Res II: Methods (3)
JOUR 803 Survey of Mass Media & Pop Cult. (3)
JOUR 818 Social Responsibility in Modern Media: Law and Ethics (3)
JOUR 822 Database Development & Management (3)
JOUR 8XX 21st Century Digital Media (3)
Specialization (12 hours)
JOUR Specialization (3)
JOUR Specialization (3)
JOUR/Outside Specialization (3)
JOUR/Outside Specialization (3)
Project/Thesis (3 hours)
JOUR 898 Project (3) or
JOUR 899 Thesis (3)
• Indicates a prerequisite
Mass Communications (37 hrs) and Joint Degree in Journalism in Law - Academic Track
Core Courses (15 hours)
JOUR 750 Leadership/Finance (3)
JOUR 818 Social Responsibility in Modern Media: Law and Ethics (3)
JOUR 801 Res I: Theory (Fall) (3)
JOUR 802 Res II: Methods (3)
JOUR 803 Survey of Mass Media & Pop Cult. (3)
Advanced Courses (12 hours)
JOUR 840 Seminar (3)
JOUR 840 Seminar (3)
Elective (3)
Elective (3)
Concentration (7 hours)
JOUR 805 or JOUR 806 Advanced Methods (3)
PRE 710 (&711) Statistics (4)
Thesis (3 hours)
JOUR 899 Thesis (3)
Mass Communications (36 hrs) and Joint Degree in Journalism in Law - Marketing Communications Track
Marketing or media-related experience:
2 years
Core Courses (12 hours)
JOUR 820 Marketing Fundamentals 
JOUR 828 Financial Fundamentals
JOUR 829 Marketing Communications Research 
JOUR 850 Capstone Course in Marketing Communications
Professional Courses (24 hours)
JOUR 819 Writing for Marketing Communications (3)
JOUR 821 Integrated Marketing Communications & Sales Strategies (3)

JOUR 822 Database Development and Management (3)

JOUR 823 Branding in Marketing Communications (3)

JOUR 824 Creative Process (3)

JOUR 825 Relationship Marketing (3)

JOUR 826 Innovation in the Management of Marketing Communications (3)

JOUR 827 Marketing Ethics (3)

JOUR 831 Technology in Marketing Communications (3)

JOUR 832 Leadership and Management in Marketing Communications (3)

JOUR 834 International and Multi-cultural Marketing Communications (3)

JOUR 840 Seminar in: ___ (3) May be taken twice on different topics.
* Indicates a prerequisite

Graduate Degree Requirements (All Courses of Study): All Journalism master’s candidates must complete a minimum of 36 graduate credit hours in Marketing Communications (MarComm) or 37 graduate credit hours in Mass Communications with at least a B (3.0) average. Students must complete Core Course requirements, Professional Course requirements and Advanced Course requirements.

Core Course Requirements: The core graduate courses help students develop research and critical thinking skills.

Advanced Course Requirements: A Mass Communications student must complete a project/thesis. Two seminars on topics of current research or professional practice help students explore and learn to present research findings.

Enrollment Requirements after Completing Course Requirements: A student must enroll for at least 1 hour of credit in the semester in which he or she graduates. The student must complete 3 hours of JOUR 898 (Project) or JOUR 899 (Thesis).

Enrollment in Elective Courses Outside the School: Up to 6 credit hours of course work may be completed outside the School, with the approval of the graduate director or graduate committee. Students who wish to take a course or courses outside the School must have permission from both the instructor of the course and from the School. The student should submit a written proposal to the Graduate Director and should indicate how the course contributes to her/his master’s program.

Typical Program Format


  Law Journalism Total
First Year 29 0 29
Second Year 15 18 33
Third Year 21 10 31
Fourth Year 16 0 16
Total Credit Earned 81 28 109
Law Credit Allowed -- 9 9
Journalism Credit Allowed 9 -- 9
Total Credit Required 90 37 127

The policies of the two schools (Journalism and Law) and the University of Kansas Graduate School govern waivers, substitutions and all other degree requirements. Students should consult the respective associate deans if they have questions about degree requirements.

Students must conclude their joint degree program enrolled in courses offered in the law school. In all cases, students must receive their joint degrees concurrently.

Academic Calendar
Contact KU Law Admissions

Steven Freedman, Assistant Dean
Bryanna Hanschu, Director of Recruiting

103 Green Hall