special programs

JD/MBA Frequently Asked Questions

Program Overview

Q: What is the JD/MBA Program?

Harvard Law School (HLS) and Harvard Business School (HBS) offer a joint degree in law and business.  Completion of the joint degree program leads to two Harvard degreees: Juris Doctor and Master in Business Administration. 

Q: How is the Program structured in the first two years?

During the first two years, students enroll in the regular first-year programs at the two schools; either may come first.

Q: How is the program structured in the third and fourth years?

During the upper-level years, students take courses at both schools and are enrolled at both schools.

Application Process

Q: What is the application process for the JD/MBA Program?

Prospective students must apply to and be separately admitted to both HLS and HBS, each of which will independently review and admit applicants.  Questions relating to the admissions process at each school should be addressed directly to the individual admissions offices:

Prospective JD/MBA students may apply to HLS and HBS concurrently or during the first year at either school. Students cannot enroll in the JD/MBA program if they are not enrolled in HBS by their second year at Harvard.  All HLS applicants must submit an LSAT score and all HBS applicants are required to submit a GMAT or GRE score.  

Q: Will my interest in the joint program be considered by each admissions office?

You should express your interest in enrolling in the JD/MBA program when you complete either application.  Admissions officers at both schools will take this information into account when making their admissions decisions.

Q: Are there advantages to beginning the JD/MBA program at one school or the other?

For the most part, your experience in the JD/MBA program will not be greatly affected by your choice of school for the first year. However, if you start at HBS, you will graduate with your HLS class at the end of the four year program (the option to graduate with your HBS class is never available given the structure of the program. 

Course and Credit Requirements

Q: What are the course requirements during the first two years?

Harvard Law School

The first year at HLS consists of (1) courses in Criminal Law, Civil Procedure, Property, Torts, Contracts, Legislation and Regulation, and International or Comparative Law; (2) First-year Legal Research and Writing;(3) Problem Solving Workshop; and (4) a spring elective at HLS of a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 4 classroom credits.

Harvard Business School

The first year at the Business School consists of the Required Curriculum with the year divided into two terms:  Term 1 courses:  Finance 1, Financial Reporting and Control, Leadership and Organizational Behavior, Marketing, and Technology and Operations Management,  Field Foundations and Field 2.  Term 2 courses:  Business, Government and International Economy, Strategy, The Entrepreneurial Manager,  Finance II, Leadership and Corporate Accountability, and Field 3.

Q: What are the credit requirements during the third and fourth years at HLS?

  • Total credits:  52
  • Total Law School classroom credits:  36 (includes courses, seminars, and reading groups, but not clinical or writing credits)
  • Total other credits: 16 (includes 6 classroom, clinical or writing credits and up to the equivalent of 10 HLS credits from HBS courses)
  • Minimum total HLS and HBS credits per semester:  10
  • Recommended minimum Law School classroom credits per semester:  6
  • Recommended minimum total HLS credits per year:  20
  • Recommended minimum HLS classroom credits in the first year of upper-level combined study:  18

Q: What are the other degree requirements at HLS during the third and fourth years?

  • Completion of the Professional Responsibility Requirement
  • J.D. Written Work Requirement (see below)
  • Enrollment in HLS Winter Term in one upper-level year
  • Pro Bono Requirement of 40 hours of public service
**For more details see the JD/MBA Program Description.

Q: What are the credit requirements during the third and fourth years at HBS?

Joint degree students must enroll in a total of 24 credits in Elective Curriculum courses at HBS during the third and fourth years including:

  • at least 18 classroom credits in total; and 
  • a minimum of 4.5 and a maximum of 7.5 HBS MBA credits each semester to meet the required 12 total credits per year in each of the third and fourth years.  

Q: How many HBS course credits can be used for HLS credit?

Students may earn up to the equivalent of 10 HLS credits from HBS courses. 

Q: How do the JD/MBA HBS course requirements differ from those of a traditional MBA candidate?

Traditional MBA candidates must complete 30 credits (or the equivalent of 10 full-term courses) in the second year Elective Curriculum while JD/MBAs must complete only 24 Elective Curriculum credits (or the equivalent of 8 full-term courses) during their third and fourth years in the Joint Degree Program.

Q: Are there any additional courses, seminars or papers required?

Joint Degree Program Seminar  

Joint degree students must complete the year-long Joint Degree Program Seminar that is taught by Law School and/or Business faculty members and confers two Law School credits. The Joint Degree Program Seminar is held every other year.

J.D. Written Work Requirement

Joint degree students must complete the JD Written Work Requirement. 

Administrative Concerns

Q: How are tuition and fee payments administered?

Tuition: During the first two years, students will pay full tuition at the school in which they are enrolled.  During the upper-level years, students will pay tuition equal to the sum of (i) 65% of the current HLS tuition and (ii) 40% of the Business School tuition paid in the students’ first year at HBS. 

Fees: Students in the joint degree program are required to pay a $750 annual fee to HLS during each of the upper-level years of combined study. 

Q: How are financial aid applications handled?

 Students should consult with financial aid officers at both schools before enrolling in the program.

Financial Aid Decisions:  Joint degree students should apply for financial aid through HLS for the first year there and for the fourth year. Students should apply for financial aid through HBS for the first year there and the third year.

Q: What happens if one of my HLS classes overlaps with a class at HBS?  

Students will not be permitted to enroll in HLS and HBS courses with time overlaps.  Students should consider the required travel time between the schools in order to ensure compliance with this policy.

Q: How do exams work?

Students will be expected to complete all HLS and HBS exams at the times they are scheduled; exceptions are at the sole discretion of each school, in accordance with their respective policies.

 Q: What if, after starting a JD/MBA program, I decide to drop the MBA and just pursue the JD? Or vice versa?

Once enrolled, students intending to leave the joint degree program must petition the HLS Administrative Board for permission to leave the program and complete only one of the two degrees. Students should also inform the HBS MBA Registrar's Office of the decision to leave the joint program. Continuing HLS students must then complete all of any remaining JD requirements in order to earn the JD degree.  Continuing Business School students must complete the required number of Elective Curriculum courses for the MBA.


Q: What are the benefits of doing both the JD and the MBA in the Joint Degree program?

The JD/MBA program is designed to provide training and knowledge for careers where expertise in both law and business is essential.  Business lawyers benefit greatly from in-depth understanding of what management and financial challenges corporations, start-ups and non-profits face.  Executives at such businesses find that an understanding of the law helps them to evaluate risk, make strategic decisions and conduct day-to-day operations.

Q: How do JD/MBA students typically spend their summers?

One of the benefits of the JD/MBA program is that students have an extra summer to spend exploring career options.  JD/MBA students in their first year at HLS will sometimes work either at a law firm or at a law-related public interest employer.  Students in their first year at HBS often spend the summer in a business-related job, either in a for-profit or non-profit company.  After the third year in the program, students choose from a variety of legal or business jobs.

Q: What career advising resources are available to JD/MBA students?

During the first two years of the program, JD/MBA students typically make use of the career resources at the school they are attending.  At HLS, that includes access to printed and online resources, information sessions and workshops as well as advising by both the Office of Career Services (OCS) and the HLS Office of Public Interest Advising (OPIA) .  At HBS, students have access to the HBS Job Bank, a variety of workshops and recruiting events and individual career coaching by the MBA Career Services Office. In the third summer, students choose whether they want to go through the HLS on-campus interviewing process (OCI), use OPIA job search resources or use the HBS resources.

Q: What types of careers have Harvard JD/MBAs pursued after graduation?

Harvard JD/MBA alumni have chosen careers in politics, academia, international development, domestic and international business and in-house corporate practice.

Q:  Who are some prominent JD/MBAs from Harvard and what are they doing?

Among prominent Harvard JD/MBAs are former Governor Mitt Romney, Charles E. Haldeman, Jr., CEO of Freddie Mac, HLS Professor Howell Jackson and HLS and HBS Professor Guhan Subramanian.

For more information on the Harvard JD/MBA program, please contact Julie Barton at HLS (jbarton@law.harvard.edu)  or Jill Fadule at HBS (jfadule@hbs.edu)

Last modified: April 23, 2014

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