Joint Degree Program in Law and East Asian Languages and Cultures

The J.D./M.A. EALC program combines the Juris Doctor program offered by the School of Law and the Master of East Asian Languages and Cultures program offered by the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences into 4 years and one summer of full time study.

Growing interdependence with East Asia, particularly with China, provides a need for lawyers versed in culture and language. A joint degree in Law and East Asian Languages and Cultures opens many doors for its recipients. One can find opportunities in international trade and finance, immigration law, and other related fields, as well as a greater ability to work with clients from various backgrounds.


Joint J.D./M.A. students are eligible and strongly encouraged to apply for a Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowship through the Center for East Asian Studies.  FLAS fellowships include:

  • Summer award - up to $5,000 for tuition and a stipend of $2,500 for living expenses for summer language study equivalent to 1 full year of language study
  • Academic Year award -  up to $18,000 for tuition and a stipend of $15,000 for living expenses for academic year study that includes 2 semesters of language and 6 credits or more of East Asian culture courses.

Admission to Graduate Studies

An applicant seeking to pursue graduate study in the College may be admitted as either a degree-seeking or non-degree seeking student. Policies and procedures of Graduate Studies govern the process of Graduate admission. These may be found in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog.

Please consult the Departments & Programs section of the online catalog for information regarding program-specific admissions criteria and requirements. Special admissions requirements pertain to Interdisciplinary Studies degrees, which may be found in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog.

Admission to the Joint Program

To be admitted to the joint J.D./M.A. EALC Program, an applicant must hold an earned baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university, complete the admission processes, meet the admission requirements for both the School of Law and the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, and be admitted to both programs no later than the end of the first year of study in Law or the completion of more than 16 credit hours in EALC. Full-time study is required for the joint J.D./M.A. EALC program. The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is the only standardized test required for an applicant to the joint degree program.

For information about applying to the Law School, see the school website. For information about applying to the EALC Department, please visit the graduate admissions page of the EALC Department website, or contact the EALC Department Graduate program directly at

Degree Requirements

To receive the J.D./M.A. EALC, a student must successfully complete a minimum of 106 credit hours, 81 in the School of Law and 25 in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures. The School of Law requires a 2.0 grade point average, while the office of Graduate Studies requires a 3.0 GPA for all courses counting toward the M.A. in EALC portion of the degree.

J.D. Requirements

Students must complete all required first year School of Law courses (29 credit hours) prior to enrolling in courses for the joint degree. In addition to these course requirements, the School of Law has an upper-class writing requirement, a residence requirement, and a time limit for completion of the degree.

In addition to the 44 TOTAL credit hours of coursework  required of all law students, students in the joint J.D./M.A. EALC program must complete an additional 12 credit hours of coursework consisting of courses in any two of the following four areas of concentration:

International Trade
LAW 944International Trade Law3
LAW 864Advanced International Trade Law3
International Commerce
LAW 945International Commerce and Investment3
Public International Law
LAW 974Public International Law3
Comparative Law
LAW 879Comparative Law3
LAW 918Islamic Law3

Students may choose courses to complete the remaining hours necessary to reach the total of 81 hours of law school credit needed for the joint degree from any part of the Law School curriculum.

Please refer to the current School of Law Catalog for further details about the requirements for the J.D. portion of the degree.

EALC Requirements

Students shall consider the degree in East Asian Cultures to be interdisciplinary in nature:

  1. A minimum of 22 graduate credit hours plus 1 of the 2 options listed in part 6.
  2. Each student is expected to select 1 of the East Asian Cultures (Japan, China, or Korea) for concentration and to include in his or her program at least two courses dealing wholly with an East Asian culture outside of his or her concentration. Up to 2 courses can be pan-East Asian courses including the student’s country of concentration.
  3. Students must complete a third year of language of the country of concentration.**
  4. No more than 6 hours of directed reading in a language may count toward the M.A. degree.
  5. Students must take 1 literature or culture course with an EALC department graduate faculty member at the 500 level or above in the country of their concentration.
  6. Students are required to fulfill 1 of the following requirements:
    1. Write a thesis (3 credit hours) which must deal with a subject within the concentration chosen by the student, or
    2. Practical thesis: Hold an internship or job in the country of concentration for a period of at least 8 weeks, at the advisor’s approval, and write a 40 page analysis of the cultural aspects of the experience (3 credits)

Students MUST consult with the EALC Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) immediately upon admission to the joint program to determine an enrollment plan and obtain a list of current approved joint courses.  Joint students must also consult with the DGS during advising periods each semester.

First and second year language courses do not count toward the 25 credits required for M.A. degree completion in the J.D./M.A. program.  Third year language is 6-10 credits and counts toward the degree.  Third and fourth year Chinese, Japanese, and Korean language courses fulfill the requirements, as well.**

** A language course result lower than B may result in a departmental recommendation for probation status.  If language coursework performance does not improve after one semester, the student may be recommended for dismissal.