J.D./Ph.D. Program

Program Category: 
Dual Degree Program

The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Law cooperate in offering combined programs of study leading to the J.D. degree and the sequential M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. degrees.

Students who wish to take part in this program must make separate applications and gain admission to both the School of Law and a participating department of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Students must be admitted to a Ph.D. program at the Graduate School to participate (there is no J.D./M.A. dual-degree program).

Enrollment in the J.D./Ph.D. program is limited to a small number of students each year.

Participating Departments

Only the following GSAS departments have elected to participate in the J.D./Ph.D. Program:

Applying to the J.D./Ph.D. Program

Applicants must submit applications to both Columbia Law School and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. On each application, applicants must note their interest in the dual-degree program. Applications must be submitted by the Law School deadline and the deadline for the appropriate GSAS department listed above.

Program of Study

The J.D./Ph.D. Program consists of nine semesters of coursework, followed by the writing of the dissertation.

Students admitted to the J.D./Ph.D. Program usually begin their studies at the School of Law. After two semesters of study at the Law School, the student then enrolls in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences to complete the M.A. degree, according to the requirements set by the GSAS department.

Upon receiving the M.A. degree, the student then completes his or her studies at the Law School. The student is granted advanced standing at the Law School for the conferred M.A., reducing the time to complete the J.D. by one semester. (Note: Advanced standing is only granted to students who earn the M.A. at Columbia as part of the sequential M.A., M.Phil., Ph.D. program; advanced standing will not be granted for a Master's degree completed elsewhere or through a standalone Columbia M.A. program.)

Upon completion of the J.D., the student then returns to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Once the J.D. is conferred, the student will receive two Residence Units (equivalent to two semesters) of advanced standing toward the M.Phil. degree requirements. The student then completes the requirements for the M.Phil. and Ph.D. according to the departmental guidelines, which include the preparation and successful defense of a dissertation.

In certain cases, students may be permitted to vary the sequence of enrollment described above. This will only be granted with the prior approval of the respective advisors at the School of Law and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Financing Your Education

During the GSAS portion of the J.D/Ph.D. Program, students will receive funding as a GSAS doctoral student, which entails a commitment of multi-year support as indicated in the official letter of admission from the dean. This multi-year support consists of a combination of fellowships and teaching or research assistantships. For more information, see the Fellowship Information for Doctoral Students page.

Students should contact the Law School Financial Aid Office for information about educational financing during the Law School portion of the J.D./Ph.D. Program.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there prerequisites for the J.D/Ph.D. Program?

No, there are no prerequisites requirements for the J.D/Ph.D. Program. Students from all majors and concentrations are welcome to apply. For information about possible prerequisites for a specific department in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, please consult the department website.

I am currently a student in the Law School or GSAS. Am I still able to apply to the J.D./Ph.D. Program?

First-year students in GSAS or Columbia Law School are eligible to apply to the J.D./Ph.D. Program partner school for entry into the J.D./Ph.D. Program.

Does my admission to one program have any effect on admission to the other program?

The Faculty Admissions Committee at each school makes its admissions decisions independently and without  knowledge of the decision on the other application.

What if I'm only admitted to one program?

Of the applicants who express an interest in the J.D/Ph.D. Program and are subsequently offered admission, most are admitted to only one program, either the J.D. program at Columbia Law School or the Ph.D. program at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Applicants who are admitted to only one program may accept admission to that program.

I would like to pursue the J.D./Ph.D. Program, but the department in which I would like to earn my Ph.D. isn't listed above. Can I create my own program?

All degree programs must be approved by both Columbia University and the State of New York; accordingly, it is not possible for a student to design a custom J.D./Ph.D. Program.

Contact Information

Students may obtain further information about application for admission to the program by contacting the following offices:

Columbia Law School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences