Law and Education
dual degree program
The Law and Education Dual Degree Program seeks to identify and develop students committed to the pursuit of social justice and quality education for all. Coursework provides professional background and foundations in both law and education, an interdisciplinary understanding of the relationships between law and education, and access to field-based learning experiences that serve to empower students desiring to incorporate educational advocacy into their professional agenda. The degree is designed to prepare students for a wide range of career opportunities including professional careers as legal advocates, policymakers, education leaders, policy analysts and teachers. The over-arching aim of the program is to prepare graduates of the program to be powerful advocates in a broad range of education issues.
The Role of Education Law in Our Society
Over the second half of the 20th century, law and education became inextricably intertwined. The U.S. Supreme Court's landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education (1954, 1955) spurred countless reforms affecting all aspects of education. In the years following Brown, the law has increasingly provided a forum for resolving disputes over the nature, scope, content, and organization of public and private education.
Law has also been used as a catalyst for reform in all aspects of education, from laws aimed at individual students (i.e., individuals with disabilities or low income or minority students) to laws aimed at systemically reforming the national and state education systems (i.e., the Massachusetts Education Reform Act, the "No Child Left Behind" Act, the federal Higher Education Act).
In 1997, Boston College created the Law and Education Dual Degree Program. The dual degree program allows completion of the J.D. degree at Boston College in conjunction with one of the following education degrees: Curriculum and Instruction (M.Ed.) (nonlicensure); Educational Leadership (M.Ed.) (nonlicensure), or Higher Education (M.A.).
The Program was designed to prepare future legal practitioners and education leaders to work at the intersection of the legal and education systems. It combines the study and practice of education and law in an effort to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to better serve one's clients and constituencies. The Program is a reflection of Boston College's mission to promote social justice and to serve those who have traditionally not been well served by the nation's schools, colleges and universities. It is designed for students who are interested in serving the combined legal and education needs of students, families, and communities in our nation.
The field of education law is broad. Elementary, secondary, and higher education institutions and the employees, students and families who work with those institutions face myriad legal and public policy issues. Education institutions become involved in legal matters that include (but are not limited to) civil rights, contract law, tort law, property law, constitutional law, civil rights, employment and labor law, municipal law, intellectual property, copyright and trademark matters, administrative law, and environmental law. Additionally, an increasing number of local, state, and federal regulations and statutes apply to education institutions. Education law also includes a broad range of issues related to individual rights in education, such as the rights of persons with disabilities, legal issues concerning student expressive activities, access to athletics and extracurricular or student life activities, and representation for suspensions and expulsions for disciplinary or academic reasons.
Alumni and Employment
The program has a small number of participants each year, usually less than ten. Since the program was founded in 1997, graduates of the program have gone on to
- private law firms specializing in education law and civil litigation
- doctoral programs in education and education policy
- state and federal court clerkships
- general counsel's offices in universities and public school systems
- Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education
- school boards of local school districts and boards of directors of public community college
- think tanks and advocacy groups
Learning Opportunities for Dual Degree Students
The broad nature of education law is addressed in the course ED 705/LL 703 Education Law and Public Policy, which is required for all dual degree students, regardless of the specific education degree pursued. This course examines ethical, public policy, and legal issues surrounding elementary, secondary, and higher education institutions, both public and private.
Students in the Law and Education Program have opportunities to individualize many of their curriculum choices during the program. During the second and third years, students will take a combination of education and law courses making sure that both degree requirements are fulfilled. This usually consists of taking three law school classes and two education courses for two semesters (one academic year) and four law school classes and one education course for two semesters (one academic year).
In addition to the required course in the program, Education Law and Public Policy and the specific degree requirements in the Lynch School of Education and in the Law School, students in the program are encouraged to take law school electives that will supplement their understanding of education law. Such courses include, but are not limited to, Civil Rights Litigation, Section 1983, Administrative Law, First Amendment, State Constitutional Law, Employment Law, Labor Law, Children’s Law and Public Policy, and classes concerning the juvenile justice system.
Students in the dual degree program have successfully taken part in clinical programs based in the law school, including the Juvenile Rights Advocacy Project. Law and Education students have regularly participated in internships and in the Law School Semester in Practice clinical program. Students have worked in such sites as general counsel’s offices at local colleges and universities, the State Attorney General, the General Counsel’s Office of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Attorney, and the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights. Students have also served as volunteer tutors for students in Boston Public School and charter school classrooms and served as surrogate parents for special education students.
Some members of the program have served as graduate research assistants to faculty in the Lynch School of Education or BC Law School, as residence hall supervisors for BC undergraduates, or as supervisors of future teachers in practicum placements through LSOE.
Law and Education dual degree students still have time to write for a journal or compete in moot court/mock trial competitions. Students participating in the program have been members of the Boston College Law Review, members of national moot court teams, finalists in the Grimes Moot Court Competition, Mock Trial Competition participants, and members of the Public Interest Law Foundation's Executive Board.
Requirements for the Dual Degree Program in Law and Education
Students must complete the normal first year curriculum of the Law School in consecutive semesters before taking any other Law School classes. Ordinarily, students are advised to begin the Joint Degree program after this first year of Law School study. Students, however, may also begin the program during the summer before the first year at the Law School or in part-time study in the School of Education prior to the first year at the Law School. Students must be registered as full-time students throughout the program and can complete the program for both degrees in three years. Students in the program will most likely need to take a slight overload of coursework, taking five classes a semester (15-16 credits) to complete both degrees in three years. Some students take one or two classes over the summer along with summer work experiences.
Students must complete five semesters of residency at the Law School, as required by the American Bar Association. Students must also complete one semester of residence at the Lynch School of Education, as required by the university.
Degree Requirements for the Lynch School: Advisement in the Lynch School for students participating in the Dual Degree Program will be done by the appropriate faculty advisor in the students' LSOE program. All dual degree students must have their program of study approved by their faculty advisor and the Lynch School Associate Dean of Students.
- The Lynch School requires 30 credit hours for the M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction, Educational Leadership (nonlicensure track) and Higher Education, 9 of which may be taken in selected Law School courses.
- Students in the Law and Education Dual Degree program are required to take ED705, Education Law and Policy and are strongly encouraged to take ED878, Seminar in Higher Education Law, or ED 956 Seminar in Law and Education Reform.
- Graduation from the Lynch School requires successful completion of a comprehensive examination administered in the final year of the program.
- Degree Requirements for the Law School: The Law School requires 85 credit hours for the JD degree, 12 of which may be taken in selected School of Education courses.
- In conjunction with a faculty advisor, students will choose elective courses that complement their career interests. Such courses may come from any school at Boston College, including social sciences and professional programs.
- During the second semester of enrollment in the dual degree program, students are required to submit an approved Program of Study Form. The Program of Studies for the Lynch School master’s programs can be found at:
- Students receive two transcripts, with a grade point average (GPA) calculated separately for the Law School based upon only Law courses taken under an LL number. Although students receive credit toward the degree from cross-registered courses, these courses are accepted as pass/fail by both schools and do not count toward students’ GPAs.
Admission to the Law and Education Dual Degree Program
Applicants for the joint degree program apply and must be admitted separately to both the Law School and Lynch School of Education degree programs at Boston College.
Information on application to Boston College Law School is available on the web here:
Students will need to apply to the Lynch School for the specific Master’s degree program they wish to complete as part of the dual-degree (Curriculum and Instruction (nonlicensure), Educational Leadership (nonlicensure) or Higher Education). The Lynch School application deadline for the Law and Education Program is January 1, 2014 . For further information about the Lynch School application process, please see http://www.bc.edu/content/bc/schools/lsoe/admission/gradadmission.html
Lynch School Application Materials for Law and Education Students
Dual-degree students may submit the LSAT for their standardized admission test score in their Lynch School application in lieu of the GRE. Applicants may also request that the Boston College Law School transfer materials from their application to the Lynch School. These will include LSAT scores, reference letters, and undergraduate and/or graduate transcripts.
Applications to graduate programs in the Lynch School require submission of a Personal Statement. Applicants to the Law and Education Program are required to include in the Personal Statement portion of their application a description of why they are particularly interested in the field of education law.
Applicants should include on their application to the master’s program and specific indication that they will be seeking the Dual Degree in Law and Education.
Tuition and Federal Financial aid
Students are not required to pay double tuition for the two degrees. Students in the dual degree program pay Law School tuition for five of the six semesters of the program. The semester they are in residency in the Lynch School they pay the Lynch School per-credit tuition rate for all of their courses.
The Law School withdraws its scholarship aid during the residency semester in the Lynch School for students in the Dual Degree Program. During that semester, the Lynch School will give priority consideration to students for Lynch School financial aid.
Please review the following website for a description of the Lynch School Deans Scholarships for Continuing Students. There is a link to the Financial Aid Application that you will need to submit to the Lynch School Graduate Office. You will be notified of any financial aid you will be awarded from the Lynch School with your admission decision.
Dual degree students have to complete, sign, and submit only one federal financial aid application/validation for the academic year when they will be enrolled in either school that year. Information provided in the application/validation will be used by the Financial Services area of the university Office of Student Services to determine the student's Cost of Attendance budget for that year, as well as the student's eligibility for different types of federal financial aid assistance. Total financial aid awarded cannot exceed total calculated federal eligibility.
If a student's financial aid resources for that year, including tuition remission and stipends, exceed total calculated federal eligibility, an adjustment to awarded federal financial aid will be required.
Students who enroll at least half-time (6 credits in most cases) for the summer in the Lynch School may be eligible to receive a Federal Stafford Loan for that enrollment period. It is very important that the student completes the summer enrollment questions of the Boston College financial aid application/validation form to assist in determining eligibility.
For more information about the academic programs contact:
For specific questsions about admissions contact:
Director, Graduate Admissions and
Lynch School of Education
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
Assistant Dean, Admissions & Financial Aid
Boston College Law School
885 Centre Street
Newton, MA 02459
For specific questions regarding degree requirements, contact:
Graduate Student Services
Campion Hall 135
Boston College Law School
Office of Student Services
306 Stuart Hall
For information on financial aid processes or hourly-paid student employment information contact: