While joint degrees are still rare at law school, they are becoming increasingly common. The fall is the time when first- and second-year law students should contemplate applying for a joint degree. The most common joint degree is the JD/MBA, though others choose to do a JD/PhD (normally with a field like economics), a JD/MA (with international relations, for example), or, for the truly ambitious, even a JD/MD. Still, joint degrees are uncommon. There are perhaps five JD/MBAs in the average class at Penn, for example. Those who want to try for the JD/MBA should register to take the January GMATs now, and line up their recommendations.

There are three ways to become a joint student: Apply to both programs as an undergraduate, or apply to business school from law school in your first or second year. “It makes most sense to apply as a first year,” advises one JD/MBA. “That way, you’re not applying as an unknown. If you apply as a second year, it’s almost like you’re starting a new program after law school altogether.” Those who want to hedge their bets may try to take classes in other programs. “Most schools let you take up to four or five classes in other schools or programs,” says a joint degree veteran, “though scheduling conflicts and other time constraints can be daunting.”

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