College, especially graduate school, can be a long-term commitment but a significant investment in your future. If you want multiple degrees to help advance your career, it could take you several years to complete. Most colleges allow their students to double major and earn two degrees in half the time.
However, law school poses an issue with double majoring, as it is one of the most prolonged degrees to earn. The best way to get through law school with a business degree in a reasonable amount of time would be to go through a top JD/MBA program. The top JD/MBA programs in the country include the American Ivy League schools that often specialize in either law or business. Included below are our ranked best 15 choices for JD/MBA programs.
Picking a top JD/MBA program comes down to whether you want more intensive education in business and law. Each top JD/MBA program is broken down and explored in detail later on in this guide. The higher ranked each half of the individual program is, the higher the JD/MBA program's overall ranking on our scale. The choices reflect schools rated highly by U.S. News's yearly law and business rankings.
What is a JD/MBA?
If you are looking for a faster track to get through law school and not spend even more time getting a business degree, you should look into a JD/MBA program. A JD/MBA allows you to gain law and business knowledge in one package, and more and more business schools are beginning to offer them. JD/MBA degrees are unique to the U.S. and Canada and usually take three to four years to complete.
A JD/MBA program is suitable for business-focused career paths and is best for people who need both skill-sets, as the intensity of the programs may not be ideal for people that only need one of these degrees. Graduates of these programs usually end up as the head of law firms, financial advisors, or in business management positions and typically use their law knowledge daily.
How Do You Get into These JD/MBA Programs?
The application process for a JD/MBA at Stanford requires that you apply to both the law and business schools individually. Conveniently, Stanford permits for "[students] already enrolled in the law school or another Stanford program, you may apply to earn a joint degree at virtually any time."
So if the applicant is only accepted into one program, you can apply for the other as soon as you get there. Importantly, you must include that you are trying or at least interested in earning this joint degree as part of both applications.
Stanford's admissions page also starts with the simple message that "no two roads to Stanford are the same." To that end, the college wants any prospective new students to join in on their offered online summer introductory programs. These allow you to connect with alumni, admissions staff, and even current students and are the perfect time and place to ask any burning questions about JD/MBAs, the Stanford application, the application essays, and more.
The JD/MBA program at Harvard not only has a presiding professor that manages it but "is designed for students who have the background that will enable them to handle the rigorous and concentrated course of study."
Like Stanford, Harvard expects students to apply during the first school year to either Harvard Law or Business School School and join the JD/MBA program from there. Ensure you also have the required GRE, LSAT, or GMAT test scores upon the second application. After the first year of one program, students swap over to their other school. In the third and fourth years, both programs open up for students to finish their degrees.
3. University of Pennsylvania:
The JD/MBA pathway at the University of Pennsylvania is a separate grouping of students who use law and business school as resources. To apply, "applicants to the [JD/MBA] program should submit the Carey JD/MBA Program application through Wharton's application system, which includes the elements of the full-time MBA application plus a Law School supplement." Afterward, you must hear back from UPenn's law and business schools to start the three-year JD/MBA program.
4. University of Chicago
The JD/MBA program at the University of Chicago includes a three-year and four-year pathway for students. U Chicago's JD/MBA degree is a relatively new offering for students and has already received great acclaim with alumni going on to successful careers.
A joint application process streamlines the typical application process, so you do not have to apply to both schools. Undergraduate students may even apply directly to the JD/MBA program but must come back after two years of deferred enrollment to gain work experience.
Columbia asks that you apply to both the law and business schools. If you are going for a JD/MBA, you must include applying to the law and business school in both applications.
Columbia’s JD/MBA program is completed on an accelerated three-year schedule, so academic prowess is a crucial component you should demonstrate in your applications. The law program can be challenging, so taking on two degrees simultaneously may not be for everyone. After that, Columbia requires a CAS report through LSAC for law school. If you have not heard back regarding your application, note that Columbia will not accept you when applying for a JD/MBA until both applications have passed.
Yale's JD/MBA program has both a four-year and a three-year accelerated JD/MBA pathway. To join them, you must apply to each school individually and gain acceptance in both. It is possible to do so before enrollment and after. However, it is impossible to join the accelerated pathway if you are already in your first semester at the business school; you can only do so during your first year of law school.
7. New York University:
Students enrolled in the NY University JD/MBA program go back and forth between NYU Law and the Stern School of Business over the four years. You must apply to both schools separately, with two letters of recommendation for NYU Law, one for Stern, and you need to take the LSAT.
You may also apply for either school if you have already enrolled in your first year at NYU. Both schools must accept you to get into the JD/MBA degree pathway.
8. Northwestern University:
At Northwestern, the JD/MBA pathway offers a single three-year program. The single application process streams into just one admission selection and review. Northwestern does not require an LSAT score and only asks that applicants hold a bachelor's degree. There is no set work experience required to apply.
Students must take all law classes their first year and then jump into the business school courses for the summer semester and second year. After a second-year summer internship, students spend their final school year in the law program while finishing any remaining business classes.
9. University of California, Berkeley:
Berkeley’s JD/MBA program shortens a five-year pathway of two separate degree programs down to four years. You must apply to each school separately, but you may do so before or after enrollment. A GRE or GMAT school may replace an LSAT score if needed for the law school application.
As a final note, Berkely requires you "notify both the Dean of Students and the Financial Aid Office if you are pursuing a concurrent degree" during or after the application process and speak to them about the curriculum available.
10. University of Virginia:
The JD/MBA program at the University of Virginia takes two separate applications to its business and law schools. The applicant must pass the typical entrance exams for law and business school and include good scores on their application. An enrolled student in either program can apply to the other to join the JD/MBA program.
All student applications must be submitted to join the JD/MBA program before the third year of law school or the second year of business. After acceptance, students must contact the University of Virginia registrar for placement in the JD/MBA program. The program lasts four years.
11. Duke University:
Duke's JD/MBA program requires only one online application. Both the MBA program and law school review your application independently, but you may reapply during your first school year if accepted by one and not the other.
Depending on which of Duke's three timelines you applied in, you may have to wait, but both programs release acceptance together. The pathway typically takes four years, but it is possible to be shortened by a semester with some schedule management. Duke’s Law School application calls for the standard law entrance exams.
12. University of Michigan:
The JD/MBA program at the University of Michigan requires two applications and acceptance from the law and business schools. It is possible to apply to the law school for dual enrollment with another college.
Proper credentials for the law school are required, but the LSAT is substitutable with other tests. You may start either program in your first year, but you will attend the other school in your second year. From there, the pathway opens up to both schools for the remainder of the four-year JD/MBA degree.
The Cornell JD/MBA follows both a three-year and four-year curriculum. Both schools require a separate application, and both will take applications from first-year students who want to join the program. The applications require the standard test for law and business school entry. The three-year JD/MBA pathway uses summer semesters to get ahead, while the four-year follows the regular school year schedule.
14. University of California Los Angeles
UCLA places all of its joint degrees in the same basket. Students have to "contact the appropriate graduate school or department to obtain its application, and must meet the department's requirements and deadlines" for each degree. Students must include a form of entrance exam score with their law school application. The UCLA JD/MBA program lasts four years.
15. Carnegie Mellon University:
Prospective students interested in the Carnegie Mellon JD/MBA program must apply to the law and business schools to gain admission. The applicant must pass the standardized entrance exam for any law and business school. Carnegie Mellon also requires a dual-degree application that a committee will review separately when that is submitted. The constructed four-year pathway ushers students through an extraneous list of credits.
1. What can you do with a JD/MBA degree?
Listed above are some of the available options. Most JD/MBA graduates go into the law, education, or financial consulting industries. Some people jump into business roles and may become CEOs or politicians, but these career paths are less common. There are plenty of online resources that can offer advice on starting a business.
2. How much does a JD/MBA cost?
This question largely depends on the school, but the average cost comes out as about $50,000 annually. Most students will have debt after school, but don't panic. Most JD/MBA careers counterbalance the cost by offering high salaries, especially as you gain more career experience. You do need a JD of some kind to practice law and must take the bar exam.
3. What are the benefits and negatives of getting a JD/MBA?
The most significant benefit is time: both degrees, when taken separately, total five years or more of schooling. Given the individual costs of a business school and law school over that amount of time, you will save a lot of money.
The trade-off to that comes with a high level of difficulty in the study. JD/MBA students dedicate more time and effort during those four years to their studies than other MBAs. Three-year programs often take summer semesters to get ahead. Depending on the school, the law and business schools may not manage the JD/MBA student's schedules efficiently, and some testing and other extracurricular activities may cause conflicts.
However, the benefits of earning a degree that functions in high-paying industries and provides ample networking opportunities greatly outweigh these considerations. Getting through your degree faster means you start your career faster.
4. What is the difference between a JD/MBA and a LLB?
A JD/MBA is a double major master’s degree covering both a Juris Doctor and a Master’s in Business Administration. An LLB is a Bachelor’s in Law and is a lower degree than a JD. There is a Master’s in Law, an LLM, which offers education in more specific areas of law.
5. Is the LSAT required for a JD/MBA, or is a GRE or GMAT score acceptable?
Every college will include which GRE, GMAT, or LSAT exam score you need for a section of the application for law school. Where you need the score on the application may change based on whether the school requires you to apply to both programs or if they have one combined application. The application should inform you upfront what test(s) you need to take.
6. Are there any online JD/MBA programs?
None of the listed top 15 schools above have online JD/MBA programs. There are a few less acclaimed online JD/MBA programs. The JD/MBA programs work best with an on-campus experience rather than online. The sheer amount of effort needed for this degree pathway is more manageable with college resources.
A JD/MBA is one of the best ways to earn a law degree with a business degree possible. Many of the best schools in the United States offer them, sometimes in accelerated timelines, as a way to help graduate students make their way through two of the most rigorous degrees in a more manageable window, both in terms of time and money.
A JD/MBA is strenuous but rewards its graduates with future success. The available career opportunities are worth it for JD/MBA graduates, who go on to pursue lucrative careers in multiple industries.