JD/MS in Computer Science Technology

Juris Doctorate/Master of Science 2011-2012

Computer Science Technology

The primary goal of the joint degree JD/MS 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 educate students to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the legal needs of industry in this high technology age. A critical need exists for patent attorneys in the high-tech field who have a substantive understanding of IT as well as for attorneys, who need not be members of the patent bar, to provide client counseling or litigation services in the information technology field. Graduates of the joint degree program will be qualified for careers in intellectual property boutique law firms, in general practice firms with clients in the high technology field, as in-house counsel in the high technology industry, and in government agencies dealing with high technology regulation.DePaul College of Law

Many of the students completing the joint JD/MS degree will choose to join the Patent Bar. The technical education provided by the MS part of the program will help to qualify them for the patent bar exam. However, in today's society, members of the Patent Bar are not the only attorneys who need technological expertise for successful legal practice. Many patent litigators are not members of the patent bar, yet must become intimately familiar with the technological bases for their clients’ litigation positions. Trademark attorneys face infringement and prosecution issues related to domain names and Internet websites. Copyright attorneys are frequently exposed to issues of protection for computer software and Internet website content. Even lawyers who do not specialize in intellectual property law frequently face computer-related issues, as such questions arise more and more frequently in "bread-and-butter" disputes between companies immersed in high technology.

The JD/MS program is primarily aimed at students with undergraduate scientific or technical degrees or with other substantial technological or scientific background who wish to deepen their technical expertise while also obtaining a law degree.

Characteristics of the program include:

  • It is designed to provide a curriculum for students with significant undergraduate technological background who wish to pursue advanced studies in Computer Science, Telecommunications, and Information Systems jointly with their legal studies.
  • It offers a variety of curriculum options encompassing key technological topics along with legal courses which prepare the student for transactional and/or litigation work.
  • 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.
  • It is expected that most students who pursue the JD/MS degree will already be qualified to sit for the patent bar exam. Students who need to "make up" some patent bar exam requirements may be able to pursue that goal as part of this program.

Students in this program will 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
  • Core knowledge in a particular technology discipline
  • In-depth fluency with state-of-the-art technologies and IT principles.

    Learn more about admission to this program.

    Degree Requirements
    The following rules apply to this degree:
    • 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 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 cannot substitute CDM credit hours for required courses in the College of Law, such as the Professional Responsibility and Senior Seminar 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 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
    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. 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. Students are encouraged to select courses with the assistance of the program advisors at both the Law School and CDM.

    CDM Requirements for an MS Degree
    For the CDM portion of the joint degree, students may major in:
    • Computer Information and Network Security
    • Computer Science
    • E-Commerce Technology
    • Information Systems
    • Network Engineering and Management
    Each program listed above follows the requirements as listed on its page on the CDM website. These requirements are divided into phases. Upon completion of those requirements, each student will move to the Elective Phase as described below.
    Elective Phase
    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.