Joint Degree Program


The department and the School of Law offer a joint degree program leading to a J.D. and a Ph.D. in history. Columbia has an extraordinary wealth of resources for the study of law and history, including leading scholars and teachers in legal history, political history, the history of state institutions, and related fields.

The joint degree program allows students interested in pursuing a career in teaching and scholarship in a university or law school to pursue an in-depth, interdisciplinary course of study in legal history.

Students admitted to the joint degree program spend their first year enrolled in the Law School and their second year enrolled in the History Department. Thereafter, students enroll on a semester-by-semester basis in either the Law School or the History Department, in accordance with a program of study created by the student and the two institutions.

Students must fulfill the separate requirements of the two degrees, except that roughly one semester's worth of course requirements in History and one semester's course requirements in Law may be counted jointly toward both degree programs. Many students will thus be able to complete the J.D. in five semesters, and to complete their coursework toward the Ph.D. in three rather than four semesters.

Admission. Students applying to the joint degree program in legal history must apply and be admitted separately to both the History Department and to the School of Law. Students should note in their applications their interest in the joint degree program. Once a student is admitted to both programs, each must approve a proposed program of study for the joint degree.

Fellowships. Students in the joint program will receive the same fellowship packages offered to other graduate students in history: normally, either a five-year or a four-year fellowship that includes tuition, fees, and a stipend. Students will be eligible for financial aid from the School of Law on the same basis as regular J.D. students. In addition, the School of Law will provide students with approved programs of study a Legal History Fellowship stipend during semesters of residency at the School. The School of Law recognizes that students considering careers as scholars and teachers may face greater financial constraints than many students in the regular J.D. program. Accordingly, the School will provide loan repayment assistance consistent with the Law School's Loan Repayment Assistance Plan ("LRAP") to joint degree students in the legal history program who graduate from the law school and take on full-time work in scholarship or teaching.

More Information. For more information about the joint degree program in law and history, you may contact the history department chair or Professor Christina D. Burnett,