New Dual Degree Combines Bachelor’s in Political Science, Master’s in Law

Political science undergraduate students who want to prepare for a postgraduate degree while completing the requirements for the Bachelor of Arts (BA) in political science may now do so with the dual degree option offered by the Department of Political Science and the Department of Law. The dual degree combines a BA in political science and a Master of Arts (MA) in international human rights law. This dual degree can be completed in 11 semesters and is open to undergraduate students who are pursuing a bachelor’s in political science.

“The dual degree option gives our students a fast track into graduate education,” said Clement Henry, chair of the political science department. “We want students to know that if you major in political science and you’re good enough and work hard enough, you can qualify for taking courses in international law, which will lead to a master’s in international human rights law, in addition to your bachelor’s in political science.”

There are several benefits to obtaining this dual degree. First, students who choose to pursue the dual degree option will be better qualified for law school. “Pre-law or non-law students who achieve an MA under the auspices of the law department at AUC are qualified for better jobs in Egypt or for pursuing a legal education at prestigious law schools in the United States or abroad,” explained Thomas Skouteris, associate professor and chair of the law department. “The MA would in fact qualify as pre-law training for political science students, boosting their chances to enter top U.S. professional law schools.”

Not only will this dual degree program make students viable candidates for law school, but it will also widen employment opportunities for students who may choose to follow a different route. According to Henry, this program will open up job opportunities for students because “they have the ability to analyze legal situations and have learned the basics of legal research.”

Skouteris also highlighted the benefits of having a dual degree for policy-making positions. “It will provide students with the necessary expertise in international human rights law and with the intellectual, analytical and communication tools needed to intervene critically and effectively in the global-policy debates confronting their societies as policymakers, academics, activists and international civil servants,” Skouteris said.

Students may start the dual degree in the sixth semester of their political science undergraduate career. Once they begin the program, they are required to take three 400-level courses that are cross-listed under both the political science and law departments. These classes, which will count for credit toward both a BA in political science and an MA in international human rights law, are taught by “top-flight law department and political science faculty” and will give students “a more complete and systematic legal education,” noted Skouteris.

The classes will cover topics like public international law, Egyptian and Islamic law, and international human rights law. “Political science students will have the opportunity to share classes with law and public-policy professionals in an exciting interdisciplinary environment,” Skouteris said.

This program takes the place of what was previously a political science specialization in public and international law. “What we’re doing, in effect, is upgrading what used to be called an undergraduate law specialization within political science, which really did not amount to much because it’s only an undergraduate degree,” Henry said. “Now for those who are going on to specialize in law, they will have much more credibility by taking courses that are carefully tailored by the law department.”

The law department was established at AUC in 2006, and has quickly received widespread recognition for its program. “Despite its relatively short history, the law department enjoys a wide reputation on account of its excellence in interactive teaching, engaged thesis supervision and innovative research that focuses on contemporary debates, with a deep concern about the inequalities that law and legal systems can be complicit to,” Skouteris said.

In order to apply for the program, students pursuing a bachelor’s in political science must submit a graduate admission application during the fifth semester. The Department of Law’s admission committee will make the final admission decisions.

For more information on the dual degree program,click here.