The School of Law and the Institute of Latin American Studies offer a Dual Degree program leading to two graduate degrees: the Doctor of Jurisprudence (JD) and the Master of Arts in Latin American Studies (MALAS). The Dual Degree Program is designed for those students who wish to study law and Latin American issues in an integrated and interdisciplinary manner. Students who expect to be involved in government service or legal practices with a Latin American focus could benefit from this program.
The University of Texas is well positioned to offer a program of this nature. The Law School has long been considered to have one of the best faculties in the nation. Professors affiliated with the Institute of Latin American Studies are recognized world-wide for the resources. The Tarlton Law Library is sixth largest academic law library in the United States and has strong Latin American holdings. The Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection is the largest library covering the whole region at any university in the world.
A student admitted to the Dual Degree Program must complete the normal first-year coursework at the School of Law during the first year of the program. This must be done before taking any courses relating to the Dual Degree Program. Both degrees are awarded simultaneously upon completion of all requirements of the Dual Degree Program. Therefore, students should arrange their course schedules so that both degree requirements are completed in the same semester. Generally speaking, a student with the requisite language background can obtain both degrees in eight semesters.
The Law School's first-year curriculum includes six one-semester four-unit substantive law courses: Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law I, Contracts, Criminal Law, Property, and Torts. One of these six courses will include a writing component, which adds a unit of credit to the course. The rest of the first-year curriculum includes two semesters of Legal Research and Writing – two units of credit per semester – and an optional elective course of 2-3 units in the spring semester. The first year program in the law school usually totals 29 units of credit.
The upper-class curriculum includes the following requirements: Professional Responsibility, Constitutional Law II, a writing seminar, and a Professional Skills course.
The JD degree normally requires 86 total units. For dual degree students in the JD/MALAS program, seventy-two credit hours are required for graduation.
As a general rule, no courses taken in satisfaction of the Master's degree requirements other than offerings in the Law School itself may be credited toward the JD degree. Students must check with the Law School on their eligibility to take the bar examination. No language coursework or courses pertaining to Latin American Studies (or other coursework beyond the normal first-year coursework of the JD program) may be taken in the first year of Law School.
For more information, see the Institute of Latin American Studies website.
Prospective Dual Degree students should apply as follows:
To the School of Law: Information on admissions may be obtained from the Admissions Coordinator, The University of Texas at School of Law, 727 E. Dean Keeton St., Austin, TX 78705. This information is also available on the Law School web site. The following steps must be taken:
The School of Law and the Institute of Latin American Studies have limited funds for qualified students who merit financial assistance and who can show need. Information with respect to such assistance appears in the admissions information provided by these institutions. In general, funding for the first year may be awarded only through the School of Law, and through either institution thereafter.