JD/MA in Computer Science Technology

Juris Doctorate/Master of Arts 2010-2011

Computer Science Technology

The general objective of the joint JD/MA degree program at DePaul University College of Law Center for Intellectual Property Law & Information Technology (CIPLIT®) and its College of Computing and Digital Media (CDM) is to offer law students the opportunity to acquire technology knowledge that will support them in their work in information technology law, intellectual property law, or patent law. This joint degree accommodates JD students without a technical or scientific background who are interested in intellectual property by offering a depth of knowledge and ability to communicate in technical terms. DePaul College of Law These tools are invaluable, as future intellectual property lawyers will require at a minimum a general understanding of computer and information systems, given the prominence of cyber- and telecommunications issues in today's legal practice. The JD/MA also accommodates JD students with technical or scientific backgrounds who may be interested in a broad-based exposure to computer or information systems. Where the JD/MS degree offers students an in-depth approach to specific computer science or information systems topics, the JD/MA presents a broader view that will prepare graduates of the joint degree program to interact successfully with clients and experts in computer-related fields.

Characteristics of the program include:

  • This joint degree is designed to provide intensive technological training to students with non-technical backgrounds who wish to pursue legal careers focused on high technology.
  • Some students may wish to use the JD/MA program as a means to fulfill the technical education requirements for the patent bar exam. Such students will need to consult closely with faculty advisors in both Schools and to contact the USPTO for specific eligibility requirements.
  • It is expected that most students who pursue this joint degree will also obtain a Certificate in Intellectual Property: General, Intellectual Property: Patent or Information Technology from the law school.
  • This program simultaneously offers a variety of curriculum options encompassing key technological topics along with legal courses which prepare the student for transactional and/or litigation work.

Students in the program acquire a broad range of skills including:

  • An in-depth understanding of the legal issues that confront present and future technologies.
  • An understanding of legal principles and application of those principles to a growing number of legal issues facing technology
  • A broad exposure to current IT theory and practices including telecommunication and data communication fundamentals, database, computer and network security, B2C e-commerce technologies, object-oriented concepts, and client server architecture.

Learn more about admission to this program.

Online Learning Options
Some courses in this degree are available for review and playback via the CDM Course Online playback system (COL) . If a course is COL-enabled, any student registered in the course has access to the course playback. Students are strongly encouraged to utilize the COL resource wherever available. Some courses are offered online. To complete this degree students may take any combination of courses offered online and on campus. For more information on online learning at CDM visit the Online Learning page.
Degree Requirements
The following rules apply to this degree:
  • Students may substitute up to 8 law semester hours in place of up to 3 CDM master’s degree courses, reducing their CDM course requirements to 10 courses plus any necessary prerequisite coursework. Courses to be substituted must be selected from the elective and required courses for the College of Law certificates in Intellectual Property: General, Intellectual Property: Patent and Information Technology. Please see the certificate pages on the College of Law website for lists of qualifying courses.
  • Students may substitute up to 15 CDM credit hours in place of up to 10 of the 86 required law semester hours, reducing their law course requirements to 76 semester hours. Only CDM courses taken after enrollment in the College of Law may be substituted for law courses.
  • Students may not substitute CDM credit hours for required courses in the College of Law, such as the Professional Responsibility and Senior Seminar courses.
  • Students must graduate from both schools on the same date, in the same semester/quarter, and in the same year. Double counting of credit hours occurs only after the student concurrently completes both degree programs. Students should consult with the joint degree advisors regarding any questions about coordinating the completion of the two degrees.
  • Students must earn a grade of B- or better in each Prerequisite Phase course
  • Students must earn a grade of C- or better in all graduate courses beyond the Prerequisite Phase
  • Students must maintain a graduate level GPA of 2.50 or higher while pursuing their degree
  • Students must achieve a graduate GPA of 2.50 or higher at the completion of all other requirements

Students with a GPA of 3.9 or higher will graduate with distinction.

For DePaul's policy on repeat graduate courses and a complete list of academic policies see the DePaul Graduate Handbook in the Course Catalog.

​​The joint degree candidate must complete all CDM requirements in November at the end of the fall quarter and all law requirements in December at the end of the autumn semester to be eligible for a December degree award. Students who plan to graduate in May must complete their CDM coursework in March by the end of the winter quarter and their law requirements in May to be eligible for a May degree award. If not, they will have to graduate in July and cannot be certified for admission to the Bar in July. ​

Course Requirements
Since each student will require a different number of CDM prerequisites and each student will select courses based on semester/quarter availability, any particular curriculum might be different from the sample curriculum shown. All joint degree students will be encouraged to select courses with the assistance of Joint Degree program advisors at both the LawSchool and CDM.

Students must complete the regular first year JD program before being admitted to the Joint Degree. The second and third years might consist of three law courses in Fall Semester and two law courses in Spring Semester as well as one CDM course Fall Quarter, two CDM courses Winter Quarter, and two CDM courses Spring Quarter. The fourth year might consist of three law courses Fall Semester, one CDM course Fall Quarter, three CDM courses Winter Quarter, and three CDM courses Spring Quarter. This schedule allows for completion of the JD as well as completion of 14 CDM courses (the MS program plus four prerequisite courses). It is possible that, because of prerequisite coursework, the program may take some students more than four years.

Prerequisite Phase
The goal of the prerequisite phase is to give students the background necessary for starting the graduate program. These prerequisite phase requirements can be fulfilled in one of three ways:
  • The student takes the course and earns a grade of B- or higher
  • The student takes a Graduate Assessment Exam (GAE) to test out of the course
  • The faculty advisor waives the course because of equivalent academic background or work experience.

All students are blocked from enrolling in Graduate Phase courses prior to completing their prerequisites. Students must submit an online Change of Status request (through myCDM) when the Prerequisite Phase is completed to inform the Student Services offices that the block can be removed.

CSC 211 Programming in Java I
CSC 212 Programming in Java II
IT 263 Applied Networks and Security
Foundation Phase
ECT 425 Technical Fundamentals of Distributed Information Systems
CSC 449 Database Technologies
ECT 433 Survey of Web Programming Technologies
ECT 455 E-Commerce Web Site Engineering
IS 425 Enterprise Information
IS 511 Social Issues of Computing
TDC 572 Network Security
orECT 582
Advanced Phase
Students must complete 2 CDM major electives in the 420-699 range.
Major Electives
Students must complete 12 additional graduate quarter hours fulfilled by courses from the IP Certificate. These courses will also be counted toward the JD degree.
Culminating Thesis
Students must complete a culminating thesis. A culminating thesis is an independent research article that demonstrates a student's ability to integrate both technical expertise and legal knowledge. Normally, it is undertaken during the student's final year in the program.

In this work, the student is guided and assessed by a Committee of three faculty, at least one of whom is fulltime at CDM and at least one of whom is fulltime at the College of Law. It is the responsibility of the student to find an advisor (Committee Chair) and assemble this committee.

The Thesis will use the course number IT 698. It may be taken for two or four credits per quarter. Students may register for this course only after their advisor has approved a written proposal for their thesis. Students must continue to register for this course every quarter after their first registration in it until they complete their thesis to the satisfaction of their committee. They earn two hours of credit for each such registration but only four hours of credit will apply for degree credit.