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The primary goal of the joint degree JD+MS program at DePaul University College of Law and DePaul University College of Computing and Digital Media (CDM) is to prepare students for successful legal and related careers in industry, government, and other institutions that develop innovations, engage in electronic commerce, employ information technologies, and manage and protect information and data. A critical need exists for attorneys in a wide range of fields involving software development, high-technology innovations, information processing, internet and telecommunications services, digital-content, and more. Lawyers are needed to provide advice, counseling, and litigation services regarding the acquisition of and licensing of intellectual property rights; the assertion and defense of such rights; regulations governing the use, protection and preservation of information; and contractual and business practices in the high-tech sector. Graduates who have a substantive understanding of legal and technological issues regarding e-commerce, information technologies, e-discovery, computational finance, network security, digital media, or related computer science fields will have a substantial advantage in obtaining and flourishing in such positions. Graduates with the joint degree will be better prepared to be drafters, negotiators, and litigators when seeking to obtain and protect inventions, trademarks, analog and digital creations, internet websites, and domain names; advisors concerning licensing, reverse engineering, or reusing computer software, expressive, or functional media; and managers when developing policies governing the acquisition, preservation and dissemination of information for their clients and within their own institutions.
The joint JD+MS program allows students to obtain dual degrees in both law and computer science fields with only one additional year of study beyond the regular JD program and with a minimum of additional expense. The program is designed for all students who wish to deepen their technical expertise while also obtaining a law degree.
Some of the students completing the joint JD+MS degree will seek to become members of the patent bar. There are also many opportunities (including as patent litigators and licensors) for graduates who either lack the scientific or technical background required to qualify for the patent bar exam or lack the desire to practice patent law. (Membership in the patent bar is required only to file and prosecute patent applications in the United States Patent and Trademark Office; it is not a general requirement for patent law practice.) The MS in Computer Science does not itself provide a degree that currently qualifies students to take the patent bar exam, but may provide relevant course work toward fulfilling eligibility requirements. (Applicants are advised to consult the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's General Requirements Bulletin.)
|Program Requirements||Semester Hours|
|Total hours required||76|
|Program Requirements||Quarter Hours|
|Total hours required||56|
Students will be able to:
- Solve legal problems by applying foundational knowledge of civil procedure, constitutional law, contracts, criminal law, property law, and torts.
- Solve legal problems by applying foundational knowledge of the rules regulating the legal profession.
- Identify and apply relevant legal authority.
- Communicate clearly in speech and writing.
- Demonstrate the fundamental professional lawyering skills for competent and ethical participation as a member of the legal profession.
The following rules apply to this joint degree:
- Students may substitute up to 16 CDM credit hours for up to 10 of the 86 required law semester hours, reducing their law course requirements to 76 semester hours. However, students cannot substitute CDM credit hours for required courses in the College of Law, such as Legal Profession or Advanced Writing Requirement courses.
- Only CDM courses taken after enrollment in the College of Law may be substituted for law courses.
- Students may substitute up to 8 law semester hours for up to 3 CDM master's degree courses, reducing their CDM course requirements to 10 courses plus any necessary introductory courses.
- Students must graduate from both schools on the same date, in the same semester/quarter, and in the same year. Double counting of credit hours occurs only after the student concurrently completes both degree programs. Students should consult with the joint degree advisors regarding any questions about coordinating the completion of the two degrees.
- Students must adhere to CDM introductory course grade requirements as specified for their CDM major.
- Students also adhere to CDM grade and GPA requirements as specified for their CDM major in all CDM courses beyond the introductory courses.
- CDM requires that students must maintain a GPA of 2.50 or higher while pursuing their joint degrees.
The joint degree candidate must complete all CDM requirements at the end of the fall quarter and all law requirements at the end of the fall semester to be eligible for a December degree award. Students who plan to graduate in May must complete their CDM coursework by the end of the spring quarter and their law requirements by the end of the spring semester to be eligible for a spring degree award. Students cannot be certified for admission to the Bar and sit for the bar exam until all degree requirements are completed for both degrees.
Full-time students must complete the regular first year JD program with a minimum GPA of 3.0 before being admitted to the Joint Degree. Part-time students must complete at least three law semesters with a minimum GPA of 3.0 before being admitted to the Joint Degree. The second and third years provide some flexibility to tailor a student’s program. For example, students might take three law courses in the Fall Semester and two law courses in the Spring Semester, while taking one CDM course in the Fall Quarter, two CDM courses in the Winter Quarter, and two CDM courses in the Spring Quarter. The fourth year might consist of three law courses in the Fall Semester, one CDM course in the Fall Quarter, three CDM courses in the Winter Quarter, and three CDM courses in the Spring Quarter.
This schedule allows for completion of the JD as well as completion of 14 CDM courses (the MS program plus four prerequisite courses) in four years. It is possible that, because of prerequisite coursework, the program may take some students more than four years. Since each student will require a different number of CDM introductory courses and each student will select courses based on semester/quarter availability, any particular curriculum might be different from the above-described curriculum. Students are encouraged to select courses with the assistance of the program advisors at both the College of Law and CDM.
CDM Requirements for an MS Degree
For the CDM portion of the joint degree, students may major in:
- Computer Science
- E-Commerce Technology
- Information Systems
- Network Engineering and Security
Each program listed above follows the requirements as listed on the page for that major. These requirements are divided into phases. Upon completion of the major requirements, each student will move to the Elective Phase as described below.
Students with a GPA of 3.9 or higher will graduate from CDM with distinction.
College of Law Certificate Programs
In addition to the Joint Degree, students may obtain one of the Certificates offered by the College of Law, providing that they have met the requirements for the Certificate.
For DePaul's policy on repeat graduate courses and a complete list of academic policies see the DePaul Graduate Handbook.
Students must complete 12 additional graduate quarter hours fulfilled by courses from the IP Certificate. These courses will also be counted toward the JD degree.