This dual degree option enables students in the VU School of Law to take advantage of the wide range of concentrations offered through the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS) program.
The MALS degree is not a professional credential that leads to any type of certification or licensure, but rather aims to provide a complementary body of knowledge for the law student.
The flexible and individualized nature of the MALS degree makes it an ideal and efficient enhancement to the JD. Specifically, students may:
- Choose from a variety of core and concentration courses, including English, Ethics and Values, Gerontology, History, Human Behavior and Society, and Theology.
- Develop an individualized concentration, taking coursework across disciplines to meet specific needs and interests;
- Receive each degree upon completion of the requirements; degrees need not be awarded simultaneously;
- Apply up to six graduate credits toward the law degree, and up to six law credits toward the MALS degree
- Enjoy a curriculum that is highly flexible, with many courses offered in the evening and during the summer sessions.
A Capstone Experience
In general, and consistent with the other joint programs with the School of Law, up to six credits of law coursework may apply to the MALS degree, and up to 6 credits of MALS coursework may apply to the JD degree. While the exact substitutions must be worked out in consultation with Law and MALS advisors, the two law substitutions may be applied to core, concentration or elective categories, so long as they match the appropriate domain of study.
No thesis is required for completion of the MALS in English, however, research papers are a regular part of graduate coursework in the program. MALS students are encouraged to culminate their studies with a capstone experience, a research project, a creative or artistic work, a service-learning endeavor, or even a travel/study experience. Regarding this last option, MALS students may earn academic credit by taking advantage of 4-6 week stints of study at one of VU's overseas centers.
A student may construct and individualized major by choosing a theme and taking coursework related to that theme, (e.g., Gender Issues and Law, Sports and the Law, Criminal Behavior, Religion and Government, etc.)
|MALS Core Requirements
||Seminar in Religion, Culture and Value
|Electives: Choose 9 credits
||Seminar in the Humanities
||Seminar in the Social Sciences
||Seminar in the Natural Sciences
||Seminar in the Fine Arts
Criteria for Admission
Applicants must be admitted to both the Graduate School and the School of Law. Admission to each program is separate. For a graduate application, click here. For a VU School of Law application, click here. Applicants must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate School, which include:
- Undergraduate degree from an accredited University;
- TOEFL of at least 550 (or 80 iBT) for non-native English speakers;
- An overall grade point average of 3.0.
As part of the application process, students must provide:
- Valparaiso University Graduate Application
- Official transcripts of all prior undergraduate and graduate coursework. If you have received an undergraduate or graduate degree from Valparaiso University, you are not required to submit an official transcript from Valparaiso University;
- Two letters of recommendation (Letters may be forwarded from the VU School of Law);
- A reflective essay indicating your reasons for wanting admission to the program;
- For Ethics & Values (required) and Theology (highly recommended) concentrations, at least 6 credits in undergraduate or graduate Theology or Philosophy;
- Application Fee: $20.
Students may be surprised to discover the affordable tuition rate at Valparaiso University. Please visit the Student Financial Services website for current tuition rates. Financial aid may be available for students taking 6 credits or more during fall and spring semesters.
Full time students enrolled in the VU School of Law may take a maximum of 6 credits in the Graduate School without paying additional tuition, as long as these credits are taken during the fall and spring semesters. Because dual and joint degree programs provide significant savings in tuition, time, and credit hours, law students in such programs will not be able to take advantage of these 6 credits. The savings afforded by combining degrees enables a law student to add on a master's degree for just over $12,000. Students are strongly encouraged to begin their study during either the summer or fall semesters.
Are you interested in learning more?
Request more information from the Office of the Graduate School.
Click here to apply online!