Admissions, Financial Aid & Housing
Academic Requirements & Coursework
Admissions, Financial Aid & Housing
Does this program replace the Four-Year J.D./M.B.A. Program?
No. The Four-Year J.D./M.B.A. Program will remain in place for students interested in a broader course curriculum and additional extracurricular activities in both disciplines, and for whom the desire to enter the workforce one year sooner is not a significant factor.
How do I apply?
Students must apply separately to both Columbia Law School and Columbia Business School, and must indicate on their applications that they are interested in applying to the Columbia Three-Year J.D./M.B.A. Program. Please review the comprehensive application instructions presented in the Admissions section.
Must I apply to both schools simultaneously or can I apply to the program as a current 1L or 2L?
For the three-year program, law students may apply to the program during their 1L, but not their 2L, year. This is because students accepted into the program must spend the entire second year of study as a member of the Business School community. During the second year, students participate in orientation at the Business School, join a cluster of 70 other entering M.B.A.s, and are placed on a learning team to jointly complete core assignments. While 2L students cannot apply to the three-year program, they can apply to the Four-Year J.D./M.B.A. Program. Contact the Business School Office of Admissions for more information.
If you are accepted to the program during your enrollment at the Law School, you should immediately (1) notify the Law School’s Financial Aid Office and Robert Ford in Student Services, and (2) submit a Joint Degree Form to Registration Services.
What is the cost of tuition in this program?
Tuition for students in the Columbia Three-Year J.D./M.B.A. Program is based on where a student is in residence during a given semester. Students will be charged standard Law School tuition for their first year. In the second year, students will be charged 150 percent of the standard Business School tuition for that academic year, and in the third year they will be charged 150 percent of the standard Law School tuition for that academic year. Please review the Student Handbook for the most up-to-date information on the costs of the Three-Year J.D./M.B.A. Program.
Overall, the tuition for the Columbia Three-Year J.D./M.B.A. Program will be approximately the same as for the Four-Year J.D./M.B.A. Program. The major cost benefit to students in the three-year program is the opportunity to enter the workforce one year earlier than students who pursue the standard four-year program.
Is financial aid available?
At the time prospective students apply (separately) to the Law School and the Business School, they will also need to submit all financial aid documents required by each school. Each school’s financial aid office will award financial aid packages separately, and only for the terms in which a student will be in residence at its school. Students in the Columbia Three-Year J.D./M.B.A. Program will have their financial aid managed by the Law School’s Financial Aid Office during their first and third years, and by the Business School’s Financial Aid Office during their second year.
What happens to my financial aid if I enter the program during my first year of law school?
Law students receive a three-year financial aid award shortly after admission. That award can be used only when registered at the Law School and will be adjusted for students who enter this program to 83 percent of the original amount. Forty percent of the original amount will be awarded in the first year, and 43 percent of the original amount will be awarded in the third year. You should notify the Law School’s Financial Aid Office immediately upon your acceptance to the program.
Is on-campus housing available?
Yes. Columbia Law School guarantees housing for three years to students accepted into this program. Once accepted, students will receive information on housing from the Law School. Students who apply for housing by the deadline (May 15) will receive a housing offer, and they may remain in Law School housing for three years.
Academic Requirements & Coursework
How many credits are required to complete the program?
Successful completion of the Columbia Three-Year J.D./M.B.A. Program requires a minimum of 71 Law School credits and 45 Business School credits. (EXCEPTION: Students who first matriculated at the Law School in 2017 must complete a total of 72 Law School credits.) Classes that are cross-listed by both schools count simultaneously toward both sets of credit requirements.
Do I have to take the foundation curriculum at Columbia Law School? The core curriculum at Columbia Business School?
Students in the Columbia Three-Year J.D./M.B.A. Program must fulfill all of the requirements of Columbia Law School. This includes completing the first-year foundation curriculum, a professional responsibility course, the major and minor writing requirements, the pro bono legal work requirement, and, for students who first matriculated at the Law School in or after 2016, at least six points of experiential coursework credit. For more information about the J.D. degree requirements, please visit the J.D. Rules Page. We also encourage you to contact Robert Ford, Associate Director of Academic Counseling and Student Engagement at the Law School, with any questions about these requirements or your options for satisfying them.
While in residence at the Business School, students have the option to “test out” of certain core requirements by taking exemption exams prior to the start of classes. Exempting out of core classes means that students may take an elective in place of those classes; it does not reduce the total number of Business School credits required for the dual degree. In addition, because some of the core curriculum requirements at the Business School are cross-listed with the Law School, students must replace any exempted cross-listed core course with another cross-listed course. We encourage you to contact Katrina Maurer, Associate Director of Advising & Academic Success at the Business School, with any questions regarding the M.B.A. degree requirements.
Are there any restrictions on the types of credits that may be counted toward the Law School's credit requirement?
Students must earn at least 71 Law School credits in order to graduate from the J.D./M.B.A. Program. At least 64 of those credits must represent regularly scheduled class sessions or direct faculty instruction. Accordingly, only seven points of non-directly supervised or regularly scheduled work (e.g., Supervised Research, Supervised Experiential Project, work as an unpaid faculty assistant, externship fieldwork, law journal work, upper-level moot court work, or work as a Teaching Fellow) may be counted toward the graduation requirement. Please visit the J.D. Rules Page for the most up-to-date information about academic requirements and credit restrictions.
EXCEPTION: Students who first matriculated at the Law School in 2017 must complete a total of 72 Law School credits in order to graduate. At least 65 of those credits must represent regularly scheduled class sessions or direct faculty instruction.
Am I limited to taking only business-law-related courses?
No. In addition to the required business and law curricula, students may choose from a wide range of elective offerings at both the Law School and the Business School.
May I register for Law School classes when I'm enrolled at the Business School and vice versa?
Yes. Students may cross-register for classes at the Law School and Business School during the second and third years of the program. Students who wish to register for Law School courses while in residence at the Business School should participate in the Law School’s ordinary Pre-Registration and Add/Drop processes. Students who wish to register for Business School courses while in residence at the Law School should register for those classes directly, according to the Business School’s registration procedures, and then submit a petition to the Law School’s Office of Registration Services reflecting such cross-registration before the end of the Add/Drop period of that term.
May I register for courses at faculties of Columbia University aside from the Law School and the Business School?
Any credits you earn in connection with courses offered by another faculty of the University will not count toward the 71 points of credit required to earn the J.D. degree or the 45 points of credit required to earn the M.B.A. degree.
NOTE: Students who first matriculated at the Law School in 2017 must complete a total of 72 Law School credits in order to graduate (rather than 71). Any credits earned in connection with courses offered by a faculty of the University other than the Law School or Business School will not count toward that number.
What is the maximum number of credits that I can register for each semester?
While students are in residence at the Law School (during the first and third years of the program), they may register for a maximum of 16 credits (including both Law School credits and Business School credits) per semester. NB: Students must submit a petition to Registration Services in order to register for a sixteenth point of credit in a given term.
While students are in residence at the Business School (during the second year of the program), they may register for a maximum of 18 credits per semester.
During any given semester, do credits earned at both the Law School and the Business School count for purposes of full-time status?
Columbia University requires students to register for a minimum of 12 credits per semester in order to qualify for full-time status. Regardless of the school at which a student is enrolled in a given term, credits earned at either the Law School or the Business School will count for this purpose.
What might my plan of study look like?
Please refer to the Academic Requirements and Coursework page for a sample plan of study.
Does the program require participation during the summers?
To maximize students’ career opportunities, and give them time to explore the diversity of the legal and business fields, the Columbia Three-Year J.D./M.B.A. Program is structured to enable students to work during both summers of the program.
Will I be eligible for Kent and Stone honors?
You will be eligible for honors only during years in which you (1) are in full-time residence at the Law School for the entire academic year; and (2) earn at least 15 graded Law School credits. Accordingly, assuming you register for at least 15 graded Law School credits, you will be eligible for honors during the first and third years of the program, but not during the second year of the program, during which you reside at the Business School. Keep in mind that grades earned in courses taken outside the Law School will not be factored into honors calculations. Please click here for further details regarding the criteria for Kent and Stone honors.
Can I study abroad?
No. Because of the residency requirement (students must be in residence at the Law School for a minimum of four semesters), students in the Three-Year J.D./M.B.A. program cannot study abroad. By contrast, students in the Four-Year J.D./M.B.A. Program may study abroad for one semester.
How do students in the program typically fulfill the Major and Minor Writing requirements?
The Law School has two legal writing requirements:
- Minor Writing Requirement: Students must register for Minor Writing credit by submitting the J.D. Major/Minor Writing Registration Form to Registration Services no later than the end of the Add/Drop period of their final semester. Students typically satisfy this requirement by taking a Law School seminar, many of which confer automatic Minor Writing credit upon the completion of a final paper.
- Major Writing Requirement: Students must register for Major Writing credit by submitting the J.D. Major/Minor Writing Registration Form to Registration Services no later than the end of the Add/Drop period of their penultimate semester. While the Major Writing requirement may be satisfied through a seminar upon consultation with the professor, most students fulfill this requirement by writing either (1) a note for one of the Law School’s student law journals under the supervision of a Law School professor; or (2) an independent research paper under the supervision of a Law School professor.
Students can find a list of current course offerings that count toward the writing requirements by searching in the Curriculum Guide. For more information about these requirements, please visit the J.D. Rules Page. We also encourage you to contact Robert Ford, Associate Director of Academic Counseling and Student Engagement at the Law School, if you’d like to discuss the various options for satisfying these requirements.
How can students in the program satisfy the Experiential Coursework requirement?
Students who first matriculated at the Law School in or after 2016 must earn at least six Experiential Coursework credits in order to graduate. Students in a dual or joint degree program may satisfy this requirement through (1) clinics, externships, or policy labs; (2) experiential seminars; and/or (3) Supervised J.D. Experiential Project work (i.e., internship work supervised by a member of the Law School faculty). Students can find a list of current course offerings that count toward this requirement by searching in the Curriculum Guide.
Are services available for career management and job searches?
Both Columbia Law School and Columbia Business School have active career management and professional development offices. Three-Year J.D./M.B.A. students are encouraged to take advantage of both. Each school offers individualized career counseling and a full complement of career-related activities throughout the year, including on-campus recruiting and interview programs. Students also have access to robust career resources such as online job databases and alumni mentoring.
Please review the detailed information provided in the Career Services section.
What if I have further questions?
Please reach out to the Office of Admissions at Columbia Law School or Columbia Business School with any admissions-related questions. Students should contact Robert Ford, Associate Director of Academic Counseling and Student Engagement at the Law School, or Katrina Maurer, Associate Director of Advising & Academic Success at the Business School, with any questions regarding the academic components of the program. For career-related questions, please contact Mary Herrington at the Law School’s Office of Career Services or Tricia Baione at the Business School’s Career Management Center.