School of Information and School of Law Launch New Joint Degree in Legal Information Studies

April 14, 2010

AUSTIN, Texas — The School of Information and the School of Law at The University of Texas at Austin will admit the first cohort of students for a new three-year dual degree program in fall 2010.

The degree, a Master of Science and Information Studies and Doctor of Jurisprudence (MSIS/JD) responds to an increased need for specialist trained to help address legal issues arising from the increasingly complex and changing world of information use, retrieval and storage in the 21st century.

The program results from the recognition that not only is digital information changing the practice of law, increasing reliance on digital information is changing our understanding of ownership, copyright, creativity and privacy.

The dual degree will enable students to take a concentrated set of coursework in both degree programs and to tailor their programs to specific areas of interest.

"The legal aspects of information are evolving and complicated," said Dean Andrew Dillon of the School of Information. "As the world's information supply is increasingly born digital, the international and intellectual challenges facing us need to be tackled by professionals who understand people and contexts of use as well as they understand the law."

The School of Information is home to an intellectually diverse faculty with expertise in librarianship, user psychology, social informatics, computer science, and archival and preservation studies. The school has the nation's #1 ranked program in Archives and Preservation and #3 ranked program in Legal Librarianship.

Close links with the School of Law's Tarlton Law Library offer students unique opportunities to engage in projects and gain practical experience in all aspects of legal informatics.

The Law School is a top-tier law school with specific strengths in the areas of constitutional, intellectual property, energy and international law. The Law School is also home to a nationally honored trial advocacy program, 17 legal clinics, and more than a dozen special centers and institutes that facilitate interdisciplinary studies.

Graduates of both programs are in high demand nationally and the new joint degree formalizes and builds on the tradition of legal librarianship courses offered at The University of Texas at Austin over the last two decades.

More information on admissions and a sample program of work can be found on the School of Information's Dual Degree Programs Web page.

For more information, contact: Amy Crossette, Office of the President, 512-573-1078; Program contact: Dr. Mary Lynn Rice-Lively, associate dean, School of Information, 512-471-2371.