Getting Accepted into Joint PhD/JD Program

  • Thread starter neosoul
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PF Family,

What is a good way to increase my chances of getting into a joint PhD/JD program. I'm physics major with a 3.86 GPA, a rising junior, and have plenty of math electives (if that helps). I am currently in an REU program at my school, and we are doing climate modeling. I am also doing an internship this summer--we are building EPR and magnetization probes. Hopefully, we can get a publication. I think I'm an doing fairly well in the "science department", but I've only interned with a judge once, which was during the summer before my senior year of high school.
Should I take electives in the pre-law department of my school? Should I find a law firm in my city to do an internship during the school year? I think those are good ideas. What do you guys think? Any more suggestions? Your advice would be truly appreciated!

NEOSOUL
 

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  • #2
Dr. Courtney
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I think your questions would be best answered by those with more expertise on the JD/law side. You seem well prepped on the Physics side. The big unanswered question on the Physics side is the subject GRE score. Above the 80th percentile and you will be good to go.
 
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I'll help you out with the JD part of this.

Any reason why you would want the JD/PhD dual degrees? What's best for the law side of this may not be the best thing for the physics aspect of it. If you think you are cut out for the practice of law, you do realize that employability is a function of where you go for law school, in which case T14 schools are the way to go. However, several T14s will not allow you to get a PhD in physics combined with a JD. This leaves Harvard, Yale, UChicago (NYU and Duke may consider it on an ad-hoc basis)... non-T14 law schools may well be worth it for the physics component but not for the legal component.

Law schools (and hence the JD portion of the JD/PhD) care almost entirely about two things: GPA and LSAT. Want to go to a T14 law school, considering your research experience? Aim for 168+ and you'll likely find Cornell, Georgetown, Michigan (Northwestern seems to favor applicants with post-graduation work experience, plus it won't allow you to get a joint JD/PhD with a physics PhD) to be within range, add 2 more points and you can consider attending UVA, UPenn, Duke or Berkeley, 171-172 and NYU, UChicago, Columbia, 173+ allows you to consider Harvard (Yale is a crapshoot even at 173+, a physics publication may help at Yale though)

There is no need whatsoever to pursue pre-law electives; just write cogently about how your physics background makes you a good candidate to practice patent law in your legal personal statement and you'll be fine. But pursue an internship at a law firm so that you can ascertain whether you are more drawn to law or to physics research though.

Ask the same people for letters of recommendation for both PhD and JD.
 

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