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Joint Degree with KU Law

The University of Kansas offers a joint degree program in law and Indigenous Studies. As part of this unique program, students may graduate with both the J.D. and an M.A. in Indigenous Studies in three to four years, making it an ideal choice for students interested in tribal law. Students must apply separately to the KU School of Law and the Indigenous Studies graduate program.

The program aspires to facilitate the protection and strengthening of Indigenous sovereignty, self-determination, and self-sufficiency in Indigenous nations throughout the Americas.

The University of Kansas was the third institution of higher learning in the United States to offer a joint degree program relating to Indigenous peoples.

For more information, contact Elizabeth Kronk Warner, KU Law, (785) 864-4659, elizabeth.kronk@ku.edu; or Dr. Michael Zogry, Indigenous Studies, (785) 864-5271, mzogry@ku.edu.

KU Law
JD/MA in Indigenous Studies
Tribal Law and Government Center

Program Objectives

The objectives of this joint degree program are:

  • to facilitate interdisciplinary studies;
  • to support the interest of students who wish to pursue study in both fields; and
  • to provide an educational opportunity that trains candidates for leadership and policy-making roles in Indigenous communities worldwide, in higher education, and in state, national, and international institutions and organizations.

Admissions

Candidates for the joint program will need to meet the separate admission requirements of the law school and the master’s program in Indigenous Studies. Admission into one school will create no presumption favoring admission into the other. To be admitted into the joint program, an applicant must be separately admitted to both programs and then must request to proceed in the joint program. The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is the required entrance examination for the School of Law application, and the GRE is the required entrance examination for the Indigenous Studies application.

Per American Bar Association policy, credit for the J.D. degree shall only be given for course work taken after the student has matriculated in the law school. The law school shall not grant credit toward the J.D. degree for work taken in a pre-admission program. For this reason, students should start the law program first.  

Students may apply to both degree programs simultaneously, but they are not required to do so. For students who are admitted into the School of Law first, they should seek admission into the master’s program as soon as possible and must be admitted into that program no later than the end of the spring semester of their second year of law study, but earlier application is recommended. For students who are admitted to the master’s program first, they should seek admission into the School of Law as soon as possible and must be admitted into the law school no later than the end of their second semester of graduate study.

NOTE: Some of the Law and ISP courses are cross-listed, meaning they have a LAW course number and an ISP course number. Only courses taken under the LAW course number will count toward law school credits. This is an important point, as the manner in which you enroll in classes can affect a timely completion of the dual program, especially if ISP is started first.

Joint Program Requirements

The School of Law requires all J.D. candidates to earn 90 credit hours to complete the degree. For students enrolled in the J.D./M.A. program, the Law School will accept nine (9) credit hours earned from approved courses in the master’s program in Indigenous Studies (ISP) toward the J.D. requirements. Students in the joint degree program should note that while the School of Law requires a 2.0 grade point average in J.D. course work to remain in good standing and graduate, the Graduate School requires a 3.0 grade point average for all courses counting toward the M.A. in the ISP portion of the degree.
 
The master’s program in ISP requires all candidates to earn thirty (30) graduate credit hours. The master’s program will accept for credit toward the M.A. degree twelve (12) credit hours earned from approved courses in the law school.   

Students may use six (6) law hours toward satisfying their ISP specialization requirement, and apply the balance of the 12 law hours for which they may receive master’s credit toward their master’s electives.  

Sequencing of Courses

Students who have been admitted to both programs and intend to pursue the joint degree program must complete the first twenty-nine (29) credits of required courses in the J.D. program. After the completion of these 29 hours, course enrollment in either program or both concurrently is permitted.

Law Courses that Count Toward the Master’s Degree

Students may apply a maximum of 12 hours of law electives toward their master’s degree from the following courses:
LAW    987    Sovereignty, Self-Determination, and the Indigenous Nations (3) (ISP 883)
LAW    914    Federal Indian Law (3) (ISP 824)
LAW    879    Comparative Law (3) (ISP 876)
LAW    975    Public Lands and Natural Resources (3) (ISP 877)
LAW    967    Native American Natural Resources (3) (ISP 882)
LAW    974    Public International Law (3)
LAW    ___    Special Topics in American Indian Law (3) (courses taught on occasion such as Indian Gaming)
LAW    998    Tribal Judicial Support Clinic (2 or 3)

Master’s Courses That Count Toward J.D.

Students may apply nine (9) credit hours of master’s work toward their J.D. degree from the following courses:
ANTH    562     Mexamerica (LAA 302 / LAA 602)
ANTH    603     Shamanism Past and Present
ANTH    775     Seminar Cultural Anthropology: Indigenous Development Latin America (LAA 602)
GEOG    570    Geography of American Indians
GEOG    571    Topics: Indigenous Cartographies
HIST    890      Collqm American Hist 1492-1800
ISP    601/801  Indigenous Peoples of the World
ISP    614         Decolonizing Narratives
ISP    800         Indigenous Issues in the United States
ISP    804         Smnr: Issues in the study of Native American Religious Traditions (REL 775 / AMS 998)
POLS    684      Internatl Law:State&Individual (GIST 750 / GIST 501)

More details about the joint degree can be found in this document (pdf).


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