UTA’s College of Business and the Texas A&M University School of Law will offer two new dual-degree programs in the spring.
Texas A&M students in the School of Law’s J.D. program have to be accepted into either UTA’s Master of Business Administration or its taxation degree program to complete the new dual-degree program, said Rebecca Neilson, UTA’s College of Business assistant dean. UTA students in the Master of Business Administration or taxation degree program have to be accepted into the Texas A&M School of Law J.D. program.
Students will use joint courses between the two programs, allowing them to save money, Neilson said. They are allowed to use coursework from one program in the other’s program.
“A lot of lawyers own their own business, right?” she said. “So understanding business can help you make sure that you’re doing things properly.”
The steps to finalizing the program included figuring out the credit structure between UTA’s College of Business and the Texas A&M School of Law and which courses would count toward which degree, said Robert Ahdieh, School of Law dean.
“You’ll be able to complete both degrees in less time than it would normally take to do them separately,” Ahdieh said.
Approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and each university’s president or board was also needed before continuing, he said.
Texas A&M students can use up to nine law credit hours toward the taxation degree, said Terri Helge, academic affairs associate dean at the Texas A&M School of Law. This means those students would have to take 33 out of 42 semester hours at UTA.
UTA students can use up to 12 credit hours toward their J.D. degree, Helge said.
The Master of Business Administration degree requires 48 credit hours and students would need to take 33 hours at UTA, she said. They can count up to 16 credit hours of law classes toward the degree.
As a tax lawyer, Helge said she sees the value of the dual-degree programs, which will open up more job opportunities for students.
Roger Meiners, economics professor and department chair, said one of the reasons the collaboration came about was because the Texas A&M School of Law did not have a relationship with its business school since it’s not located on Texas A&M’s main campus.
Meiners said the original coursework was decided a while back, and they will need to review the courses again to make sure they are still being offered.
“It was an effort to just help our students that might be interested in going to law school to reduce the number of hours they have to take in that program,” he said.