Department of Middle Eastern Studies
Department of Middle Eastern Studies

Dual Degree MA/JD with the School of Law

The School of Law and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies offer one of the few programs in the United States leading to the Doctor of Jurisprudence and the Master of Arts in Middle Eastern Studies. The program combines the study of law with interdisciplinary area studies and language courses. It responds to the increased need in both the public and private sectors for legal specialists with a thorough understanding of the economics, geography, history, politics, and culture of the Middle East and North Africa.

During their first year, students must complete the normal first year of course work at the School of Law, before they take any language or other courses pertaining to the Middle East. After the first year, students should arrange their course schedules so that both degree requirements are completed in the same semester. Generally, a student with the requisite language background can obtain both degrees in eight semesters.


Prospective dual degree students must apply separately to both programs and fulfill the distinct application requirements and deadlines of each. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that the appropriate materials are sent to the respective departments. An applicant must be accepted to each individual program in order to be admitted to the dual program. Please review the Center's admissions FAQ for additional information.

Admission to the School of Law is highly competitive. Typically, only one out of three Texas applicants and one out of four non-resident applicants is admitted. Application requirements differ significantly from the Center for Middle Eastern Studies. Applicants should review their dual-degree page and carefully review the law school's application requirements and procedures.

Degree Requirements

Students must complete a combined total of 104 (MES thesis option) or 107 (MES report option) credit hours in both programs. The thesis/report is written for CMES, is based on original research, is supervised by a CMES faculty member, and co-supervised by a Law faculty member.

86 credit hours are normally required for the JD, and the combined total used to be 119 credits until the 2015 year. But a 2015 agreement reduced this number to 74, with the stipulation being that these excused 12 credits (4 courses) are represented in the MES coursework plan as being relevant to law/policy/government. Therefore, on the MES coursework side, students will want to pursue coursework in areas such as, for example, Islamic law and ethics, authoritarianism, political economy, and the military in politics. Each student's coursework may vary and will be individually assessed.

As a general rule, no courses taken to satisfy the MA degree requirements, other than offerings in the School of Law itself, may be credited toward the JD degree. MES and language courses (or other course work beyond the normal first-year curriculum of the JD program) may not be taken in the first year of Law School.

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