The combined JD/MSc (Computer Science) program allows students to complete both the JD degree and the MSc (Computer Science) degree in three academic years instead of the four years required if the degrees were taken separately. The program is designed for students who envision a career in those areas where computer science and the law intersect.
The combined degree program is administered on behalf of the Faculty of Law and the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (SGPS) by two Program Directors, one appointed by the Faculty of Law and the other appointed by the Department of Computer Science.
Applicants to the combined degree program must either (i) apply separately for admission to both the JD and the MSc (Computer Science) programs by the deadlines established for the Faculty of Law and the SGPS or (ii) having already commenced the first year of the JD program, apply for admission to the MSc (Computer Science) program by the deadline established for the SGPS. In either case, the application must indicate the student’s intention to pursue the combined degree program.
Applicants must meet the entrance requirements for each of the JD and the MSc (Computer Science) programs.
A joint admissions committee appointed by the Faculty of Law and the SGPS shall decide on admissions and admissions policy.
Entrance into the combined degree program is competitive and limited. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee a position in the combined degree program.
Students must take first-year Law. No courses outside of Law may be taken during this year.
Years Two and Three
Students choose from one of three options for the MSc (Computer Science) and complete the requirements as indicated:
(a) Coursework Option: 5 MSc (Computer Science) courses and a directed study;
(b) Project Option: 4 MSc (Computer Science) courses and a project; or
(c) Thesis Option: 2 MSc (Computer Science) courses and a thesis.
Students will be enrolled during the Fall term of the second year in the MSc (Computer Science) program. In the Coursework Option students will take at least 3 of the required courses. In the Project Option students will take 3 of the required courses. In the Thesis Option students will take the 2 required courses.
Beginning in January of the second year, students will return primarily to the JD program. Over the balance of the second year and the third year, students must take:
(a) the three compulsory upper-year Law courses;
(b) additional Law courses totalling at least 33 credit hours, which must include:
(i) a course or courses that satisfy the Faculty of Law writing requirements;
(ii) Law 5625; and
(iii) one other course on intellectual property, information or technology law offered by the Faculty of Law as approved by the Program Director appointed by the Faculty of Law;
(c) the remaining required courses for the MSc program.
Students will also complete their directed study, project or thesis.
By May 31 of the second year, students must have a supervisor for the MSc program and a topic for their directed study, project or thesis. Students are expected to seek out an appropriate supervisor.
Coursework Option and Project Option students may not take more than two, and Thesis Option students may not take more than one, Computer Science courses cross-listed as graduate and undergraduate courses (9500-level). No Computer Science reading courses may be taken.
Students who complete all of these requirements successfully can normally expect to graduate with both degrees in the spring convocation.
Summer after Second Year
The Program Directors will attempt to make available to students a summer placement opportunity. This opportunity will involve a 6-8 week summer placement with a law firm that practices intellectual property and information technology law and a 6-8 week summer placement with a corporation working in computer science. The summer placement is not mandatory for students.
Students are also expected to work on their directed study, project or thesis.
Students in the combined degree program must meet the regular progression requirements of the MSc program and must maintain at least a B- average in the JD program.
A student who fails to meet the progression standards must withdraw from the combined degree program. If that student has met the progression standards of either the JD or MSc (Computer Science) program, he or she will be allowed to continue in that program. Such a student must complete all the academic requirements of the individual program in order to graduate from that program.
In Year One students are considered for the Dean's Honor List at the Faculty of Law. Students who take Law courses totalling at least 12 credit hours in each of Years Two and Three are considered for the Dean's Honor List at the Faculty of Law in each of those years on the basis of those courses.
Eligibility to graduate with distinction for each degree is determined by each Faculty.