The Joint J.D.-M.A. Degree in History is designed to better prepare students for a variety of professional roles in which the knowledge, skills and background of both law and history are important. These roles can be found in a variety of settings in the public and private sectors as well as in teaching and research.
A new student must independently apply for admission both to the College of Law and the History Department (through UNL’s Graduate Studies). The History Department will accept Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) scores in lieu of Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores for its application requirement. If the student is accepted by both the Law School and History, he or she is automatically admitted to the joint degree program.
The factors that weigh most heavily in admission to the College of Law are the applicant's undergraduate grade-point average (GPA) and the LSAT score. The GPA is evaluated in terms of the applicant's undergraduate institution, courses taken, major and trend of academic performance. An applicant is also evaluated based on letters of recommendation, personal statement, work experiences, extracurricular activities and any other information supplied by the applicant.
Admission to the Graduate College for the M.A. degree program in History is dependent upon favorable recommendation of the Graduate Committee of the Department of History. The committee considers the applicant's academic record, GRE or LSAT scores, a writing sample, a personal statement, and letters of recommendation.
The application form for the College of Law is available from the College or on the website. The College admits first year students only in the fall semester. The application deadline is March 1.
The application form for admission to the Graduate College is available either from the Graduate College or the Department of History. Applications are accepted at any time; however, students seeking financial assistance should file their applications by December 1. All transcripts, GREs, letters of recommendation, as well as the writing sample and personal statement must be received by that date.
Students may apply to both programs before beginning either. Students admitted into the joint program before beginning either program will take only law courses during their first year. Students may then take both law and history courses in whatever sequence they choose, subject to the requirements listed below.
Students who are already enrolled in the College of Law and have completed not more than 48 hours at the College of Law (33 hours of first year courses and 15 hours of upper-level courses), may apply for admission to the History Department (through UNL’s Graduate Studies) and, if admitted, are automatically admitted to the joint degree program. Law students must begin coursework in the Department of History no later than the fourth semester of law school.
Students who are already enrolled in the History MA program, who have not completed more than 18 credit hours of History courses, and who have received a grade of B in each such course, may apply for admission to the College of Law and, if admitted, are automatically admitted to the joint degree program.
Students must complete the first year curriculum at the College of Law beginning in the fall semester of the academic year for which they are admitted, and may not take any history courses during that year. After they do so, they may take both law and history courses in whatever sequence they choose, subject to the requirements listed below.
The Law College requires 93 credit hours for the J.D. degree. A joint degree student must complete a total of 84 hours at the College of Law: the standard first year curriculum of 33 hours and 51 upperclass hours. The upperclass hours must include Constitutional Law I (4 hours), which must be taken during the first semester of the second year of law school, Legal Profession (3 hours), a professional skills course (Class of 2016, 2017, 2018: 3 credit hours/Class of 2019 and later: 6 credit hours), and a law seminar (3 hours) that satisfies the College of Law's substantial writing requirement. Descriptions of the Law College courses are contained on the College of Law website.
A joint degree student will be credited with 9 hours of approved course work in the Department of History toward his or her J.D. degree. A joint degree student will normally receive a J.D. degree only after the student satisfies the joint degree program requirements for both the Masters and the J.D. degrees.
A student must register for all upper-level courses using the law course and class numbers unless the course will also count toward the History MA. In that situation, the student must register for the course using the "G" course numbers.
To obtain the M.A. in History in the joint program, 36 credit hours are required. Of those 36 hours, 12 hours may be College of Law courses. The remaining 24 hours must be History courses as follows: Professional Study of History (3 hours), Research and Writing Seminar (3 hours), 1 core sequence (6 hours) in Primary Field (931/933 Europe; 941/943 American; 961/963 World), 6 additional credits in Primary Field, 3 credits in Secondary Field, 3 credits 900-level thematic class.
A full description of the programs for a Masters in History is contained in the Graduate Studies Manual.
A student enrolled in the joint degree program must file separate applications for the J.D. and Masters degrees. A student must also file with the Graduate College a Memorandum of Courses form and a Final Examination Report for Masters Degree form.
Program Approval & Academic Requirements
Before the end of a student's first year at the College of Law, the student must submit a course proposal to the Associate Dean of the College of Law. After the first year at the College of Law, the student must meet with the Associate Dean of the College of Law each semester to discuss the student's progress toward completing the requirements of the joint degree program and also to discuss the student's course selections for the following semester. This meeting must take place prior to the time the student registers for the following semester.
Upon admission to the History M.A. program, each student is assigned an adviser from among the History faculty. The student may elect to change advisers, but must do so within the first year. Students must meet with their advisers and submit a Memorandum of Courses before completing 18 hours of coursework. Students admitted to the MA program with deficiencies in language and coursework must remove them within three calendar years after beginning the joint program. By at least the fifth semester in the joint program, students will form a Supervisory Committee of at least three graduate faculty members, including the Adviser. At least two members should be in the History Department and at least one from the College of Law. Students will compile a portfolio of work to be examined by the Supervisory Committee. This will include the student’s final paper from HIST 950 Research and Writing Seminar, a historiography paper from the student’s Primary Field, and an additional piece of scholarship that the student completed in one of his or her law classes. Students must turn this portfolio in to the Department office at least three weeks before the final oral examination. The Supervisory Committee will review the portfolio. If approved, the Committee will hold a final oral examination with the student by the deadline required by Graduate Studies at UNL. Students must complete the Application for a Degree and submit it to the Office of Graduate Studies by the deadline set at the beginning of the semester in which they expect to graduate. Consult the academic calendar for the deadline each semester.
A student in the joint degree program must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 5.500 in courses taken at the College of Law and must receive a grade of B or better in each course taken in the Department of History. A student who fails to satisfy either requirement will be dropped from the joint degree program and cannot apply for readmission to the program. A student who is dropped from the joint degree program can still pursue a Masters degree and a J.D. degree but must meet the normal requirements for each degree and may not pursue the two degrees simultaneously.
For more information on the law portion of the joint program, contact:
College of Law
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Lincoln, NE 68583-0902
For more information on the history portion of the Joint Program, write to:
Chair of the Graduate Committee
Department of History
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Lincoln, NE 68588-0327