Joint Degree Program in Law and East Asian Languages and Cultures

The J.D./M.A. EALC program, which leads to the J.D. and M.A. in East Asian Languages and Cultures degrees, combines into 4 years and one summer of full time study the Juris Doctor program offered by the School of Law and the Master of East Asian Languages and Cultures program offered by the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Growing interdependence with East Asia, particularly with China, provides a need for lawyers versed in culture and language. A joint degree in Law and East Asian Languages and Cultures opens many doors for its recipients. One can find opportunities in international trade and finance, immigration law, and other related fields, as well as a greater ability to work with clients from various backgrounds.


In addition to the KU admission requirements for graduate study, to be admitted to the joint J.D./M.A. EALC Program, an applicant must hold an earned baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university and meet the admission requirements for both the School of Law and the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures.  Students apply for each program separately and must be admitted to both programs no later than the end of the first year of study in Law or the completion of more than 16 credit hours in EALC. Full-time, in-resident study is required for the joint J.D./M.A. EALC program.

The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is the only standardized test required for an applicant to the joint degree program.

Visit the KU School of Law or more information about requirements for admission to the J.D. and the EALC graduate admissions page for more information about admission to the EALC M.A. program.

To receive the J.D./M.A. EALC, a student must successfully complete a minimum of 106 credit hours, 81 in the School of Law and 25 in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures. The School of Law requires a 2.0 grade point average, while the Graduate School requires a 3.0 GPA for all courses counting toward the M.A. in EALC portion of the degree.

J.D. Requirements

Students must complete all required first year School of Law courses (32 credit hours) prior to enrolling in courses for the joint degree. In addition to these course requirements, the School of Law has an upper-class writing requirement, a residence requirement, and a time limit for completion of the degree.

In addition to the 44 TOTAL credit hours of coursework required of all law students, students in the joint J.D./MA EALC program must complete an additional 12 credit hours of coursework consisting of courses in any two of the following four areas of concentration:

International Trade (6)


LAW 944

International Trade Law


LAW 864

Advanced International Trade Law


International Commerce (6)


LAW 945

International Commerce and Investment


LAW 936

International Economic Law and Development


Public International Law (6)


LAW 974

Public International Law


LAW 932

International Human Rights Law


Comparative Law (6)


LAW 879

Comparative Law


LAW 918

Islamic Law


Students may choose courses to complete the remaining hours necessary to reach the total of 81 hours of law school credit needed for the joint degree from any part of the Law School curriculum.

Please refer to the current School of Law Catalog for further details about the requirements for the J.D. portion of the degree.

EALC Requirements

Students shall consider the degree in East Asian Cultures to be interdisciplinary in nature:

  1. A minimum of 22 graduate credit hours plus 1of the 2 options listed in part 6.
  2. Each student is expected to select 1 of the East Asian Cultures (Japan, China, or Korea) for concentration and to include in their program at least two courses dealing wholly with an East Asian culture outside of his or her concentration. Up to two courses can be pan-East Asian courses including the student’s country of concentration.
  3. Students must complete a third year of language of the country of concentration.*
  4. No more than 6 hours of directed reading in a language may count toward the M.A. degree.
  5. Students must take 1 literature or culture course with an EALC department graduate faculty member at the 500 level or above in the country of their concentration.
  6. Students are required to fulfill 1 of the following requirements:
    1. Write a thesis (3 credit hours) which must deal with a subject within the concentration chosen by the student, or
    2. Practical thesis: Hold an internship or job in the country of concentration for a period of at least 8 weeks, at the advisor’s approval, and write a 40 page analysis of the cultural aspects of the experience (3 credits).

Students MUST consult with the EALC Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) immediately upon admission to the joint program to determine an enrollment plan and obtain a list of current approved joint courses.  Joint students must also consult with the DGS during advising periods each semester.

Third and fourth year Chinese, Japanese, and Korean language courses fulfill the requirements, as well.*

Typical Enrollment Pattern





First Year




First Summer


1st year language (NOCR)*


Second Year


2nd year language (NOCR)*


Elective courses (3-6)

  CHIN (3)

  JPN   (6)

  KOR  (6)

21* - 24*

Third Year


3rd year language (CR)*

  CHIN (10)

  JPN   (6)

  KOR  (8)


Elective courses (6)

24* - 28*

Fourth Year


Elective courses

  CHIN elective (3)

  JPN elective   (4)

  KOR elective  (2)


3 thesis credits


Total Credit Earned




Law credit allowed




EALC credit allowed




Total credit required





* A language course result lower than B may result in a departmental recommendation for probation status.  If language coursework performance does not improve after one semester, the student may be recommended for dismissal.

Due to the rigorous course load, joint J.D./M.A. students are ineligible for Graduate Teaching positions; however, because of the interdisciplinary nature of the degree, joint  J.D./M.A. students are particularly eligible and strongly encouraged to apply for a Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowship through the Center for East Asian Studies. FLAS fellowships include summer and academic year awards.

Kasey Considine, J.D./M.A.  Thesis presentation of Gender Dynamics in China's Legal System: Comparative Analysis with the United States, Spring 2016.  Keith McMahon, Chair.  Virginia Harper Ho, Co-Chair.

Justin Kohlbeck, J.D./M.A.  Practical Thesis presentation of Socio-Cultural Explanations of the Fundraising Challenges Faced By North Korean Human Rights NGOs Based in South Korea, Spring 2015.  Kyoim Yun, Chair.