Journalism and Master of Legal Studies Dual Degree

The School of Journalism’s newest pairing partners with the James E. Rogers School of Law and offers students a dual master’s degree in Journalism and Legal Studies. Four other dual degrees are offered in partnership with other units in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

At a time when law is having such a profound impact on political, economic, and social institutions and values, journalists who understand the factors that shape the decisions of legislatures, courts, and regulators are of crucial importance. There is a significant demand in the news media and other information industries for graduate students who have an educational background in both law and journalism.

News reports about issues such as climate change regulation, corporate bankruptcy, health care reform, and criminal prosecutions illustrate clearly how providing journalists with a cross-disciplinary education in law can affect decisions about how information about legal topics is selected and used in news reports that become part of the global information environment. This coverage, in turn, has a major impact on discourse about justice and a range of related topics like the environment, social inequality, and race in this country and others.

Students who acquire the research background, professional training, and knowledge of law and journalism provided by this dual-degree program can make important contributions not only to discussions within news organizations about timely legal developments but also to the fields of law and journalism about the ways in which this information influences society and the economy.

Admission to the Dual Degree Program

Students must apply to and be accepted by both the James E. Rogers School of Law Master of Legal Studies Program and the School of Journalism to qualify for the dual degree program.

Transfer Credit

A request to transfer must be submitted to the Graduate College, in consultation with the Directors of Graduate Studies of both units, by the end of the first year. Many of these transfer units may be applicable to requirements in either degree program, or may count toward the additional units required of the student.

Thesis or Project

By the end of the second semester of enrollment, students must form a master’s thesis or master’s project committee of at least three faculty members, one of whom serves as the thesis or project adviser.

The committee membership must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies or the Master’s Program Director in each unit.

Curriculum for Dual Master’s Degrees in Legal Studies and Journalism  (51 units)


JOURNALISM COURSES                                                           (18 units)

      Journalism Course Requirements                                       (18 units)

Take all: JOUR 506     Introductory and Advanced Reporting (3 units)
JOUR 507   Reporting with Multimedia (3 units)
JOUR 508   Journalism Theory and Practice (3 units)
JOUR 509   International and U.S. Media Law (3 units)
JOUR 589   Research Methods (3 units)
JOUR 590   School Media (3 units)

SHARED JOURNALISM/LAW COURSES                          (16 units max)

Take both: LAW 571    Communications Law (3 units)
JOUR 520   Digital Communications Law (3 units)

Select one: JOUR 539   Ethics and the News Media (3 units)
JOUR 547   Government Secrecy (3 units)
LAW 655K First Amendment (3 units)[1]
LAW 615E Freedom of Speech & Religion (4 units)1
LAW 615    Constitutional Law II (3 units)[2]

Select one: JOUR 909 or 910 Project or Thesis (6 units)
LAW 909 or 910 Thesis or Project (6 units)               

LAW COURSES                                                                 (18 units)

     Law Course Requirements                                                   (14 units)

Take all: LAW 501      Procedure (3 units)
LAW 502A Common Law System I (contracts, torts) (3 units)
LAW 502B Common Law System II (property) (3 units)
LAW 504    American Public Law (constitutional law, administrative law) (3 units)
LAW 507    Legal Process, Analysis & Writing (2 units)

    Law Course Electives                                                              (4 units)

Select two: LAW 550      Native American Law & Policy (3 units)
LAW 551    Public International Law (3 units)
LAW 552    Health Law (3 units)
LAW 553    Immigration Law (3 units)
LAW 554    Environmental Law & Policy (3 units)
LAW 556    Family Law (3 units)
LAW 557    Employment Law (3 units)            
LAW 558    Criminal Law & Procedure (3 units)
LAW 561    Legislative Analysis (3 unit)
LAW 655B  Copyright Law (2 units)
LAW 682    Cyberlaw (3 units)
LAW 692A Information Privacy (2 units)
LAW 655A  Trademarks & Unfair Competition (2 units)

Students may also petition to enroll in other 600-level LAW electives, which will be determined on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the program director and the course professor.

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[1] Prerequisite: LAW 504 American Public Law

[2] Prerequisite: LAW 504 American Public Law