The MU School of Law offers a collegial environment, reinforced by a small student body and a low faculty-student ratio. The intimacy of this setting, coupled with reasonable cost, consistently high bar passage rates, a network of alumni around the globe and access to top scholars in the legal world, make MU Law one of the best values in the nation.
College of Human Environmental Sciences
School of Law
Office of Admissions
103 Hulston Hall
Columbia, MO 65211
Phone: (573) 882-6042
Fax: (573) 882-9625
Students completing the following course of study will be eligible to receive the JD degree from the School of Law and an MS or MA degree in Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS). This course of study may be completed in four years. Normally, students require three years to complete the requirements for the JD degree and two years to complete the requirements for the Master’s degree.
A joint degree program administered through Human Development and Family Studies and the School of Law is available for those students who wish to earn simultaneously a Master of Arts (MA) or a Master of Sciences (MS) degree and Juris Doctorate (JD).
Applicants to the Dual Degree Program must submit formal applications for admission to the School of Law and to the School of Human Development and Family Studies accompanied by a statement requesting permission to pursue the Dual Degree Program. Students must meet the requirements for admission to both programs. Contact the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, and the School of Law for further information on admissions requirements. Both applications and the request must normally be submitted before a student has substantially completed the requirements of either program. However, petitions requesting admission to the Dual Degree Program from students at more advanced stages in either program will be considered.
Degree Requirement Summary
The program meets the requirements for the JD with a total of 83 hours of law credit and 6 hours of HDFS credit. The program meets the requirements for the MA/MS with 27 credit hours of courses in HDFS and 6 elective credit hours and 6 required credit hours at the School of Law. These can be completed in four years, and summer courses are available in both programs if necessary or desirable.
JD/MS Family Studies students are sought after by law firms because they have a strong understanding of family systems and can integrate their knowledge of family interaction with their ability to apply laws governing divorce, custody, adoption, marriage, stepfamilies, and so forth. Alternatively, knowledge of the legal system can be an advantage for the student who chooses a career in family studies. Having an understanding of the legal system as it applies to families gives them an opportunity to serve as skilled advocates on behalf of children and families.
The curriculum has been designed so that law and essentials in Human Development and Family Studies are addressed, followed by specialized courses in the upper levels. Students in the dual-degree program will spend their first year at the law school taking the traditional first-year law school curriculum. Students will spend their second year primarily taking HMI courses. In addition, students will be able to enroll in one law school course in the fall and one or two law courses in the spring. The law courses might include some of the required upper-level courses. In the two final years, students will split the time between the law school and the Department of Human Development and Family Studies.
5010, 5015 Civil Procedure (5)
5020, 5025 Contracts (6)
5035 Criminal Law (4)
5050 Property (5)
5070 Torts (5)
5080 Legal Research and Writing (2)
5085 Advocacy and Research (2)
5095 Lawyering (2)
5220 Constitutional Law (4)
5260 Evidence (4)
5240 Criminal Procedure (3)
5280 Professional Responsibility (3)
Law electives - 38 credits
HDFS electives - 6 credits
*Any student who does not achieve a 77.5 GPA in the fall semester will be required to take 5090, Legal Reasoning. Those students in Legal Reasoning will not take Advocacy & Research until their second year. This course is designed to assist students in meeting the graduation requirements.
Students must take a total of 89 credit hours to graduate, at least 83 of which must be law school credit hours. In addition, all students in the Dual Degree Program must take Family Law for 3 hours of credit. It is recommended that at least 6 credit hours of electives should be taken from the following list:
5311 Adoption, Assisted Reproductive Techniques, & Guardianship (3)
5330 Advocacy, Family Violence & Public Policy (2)
5410 Children & the Law (3)
5415 Civil Rights (2-3)
5530 Elder Law (3)
5577 Family Law Dispute Resolution (1-3)
5580 Family Violence Clinic: Individual & Social Justice (3)
5595 Gender & the Law (2-3)
5615 Health Care Law & Policy (2-3)
5765 Mediation (2-3)
5770 Mediation Clinic (1-2)
36 hours required for graduation
Requirements for the MS/MA degree in HDFS are met with 27 credit hours of courses in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies (12 required), 3 required and 6 elective credit hours within the School of Law, for a total of 36 credit hours. While approval of a detailed program of study does not require approval from the School of Law, it is strongly recommended that dual degree students obtain academic counseling from a law faculty member.
HDFS 8200 Research Methods (3)
HDFS 8220 Family Theories (3), or
HDFS 8210 Theories of Human Development (3)
HDFS 9090 Thesis (3-6), or
HDFS 8090 Project (3-6)
Statistics (7000 level or higher) (3)
Students must take a minimum 9 hours of HDFS electives, at least 6 credit hours must be at the 8000 level:
HDFS 7257: Aging and the Family (3)
HDFS 7300: The Black Family (3)
HDFS 7610: Stress in Families (3)
HDFS 7620: Family Interaction (3)
HDFS 7630: The Process of Divorce (3)
HDFS 7640: Interpersonal Relationships (3)
HDFS 7720: Child and Family Advocacy (3)
HDFS 8012: Family Dynamics and Intervention (3)
HDFS 8087: Poverty (3)
HDFS 8300: Advanced Seminar on Multicultural Families (3)
HDFS 8420: Cognitive Development (3)
HDFS 8440: Social and Emotional Development (3)
HDFS 8450: Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood (3)
HDFS 8460: The Life Course Perspective (3)
HDFS 8470: Identity Development (3)
HDFS 8610: Remarriage and Stepfamilies (3)
HDFS 8620: Work and Family (3)
HDFS 8630: Gendered Relations in Families (3)
HDFS 8710: Children, Families and Public Policy (3)
* Or any advisor approved HDFS graduate level course.
Students are required to complete and defend a Master’s thesis for the MS or a Master’s Project for the MA in Human Development & Family Studies. This is normally undertaken in conjunction with HDFS 9090 or 8090.