Almost from its beginning, the graduate program in Catholic Studies has cooperated with the St. Thomas School of Law in a joint degree program in which students can earn both an M.A. degree in Catholic Studies as well as a J.D. degree. Students take all the required law courses as well as the required courses, core area courses and master’s essay in the CSMA program. What students give up are some of their electives in the two programs. As a result, the joint program can be completed in three years with some summer study or in three and a half years without summer study. Former student Jenny Kraska (’04 J.D/M.A.) found her classes in law and Catholic Studies amazingly complementary, “As I progressed through my course work in law and Catholic Studies, I was struck by the many ways the two programs complemented each other. Many of my law classes would at some point lead to a discussion about how Catholic principles shape the way one might look at certain types of law or a legal situation.”It is precisely the integrated interdisciplinary study of the truth and vitality of Catholicism in its impact on human thought and culture that is attractive to law students who are looking for sustained study of the Catholic thought in their preparation for a legal career. Prospective students to both the CSMA program as well as the School of Law increasingly are interested in the joint degree program. Current student Katie Mullen finds the program extremely beneficial, “I chose St. Thomas specifically for the joint degree program. The MA program not only sharpened my writing and researchskills, both of which are pertinent to the legal field, but it also provided a framework for me to rely on when considering the law. This is especially true when considering the mission of the law school: ‘to integrate faith and reason in the search for truth.’ The essence of the Catholic intellectual tradition, which students are thoroughly exposed to in the Catholic Studies Department, teaches one how to follow that mission and searchfor the truth effectively.”Professor Elizabeth Schiltz of the School of Law is the law school adviser for students in the joint degree program. Schiltz is not only the co-director of the Terence J. Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law, and Public Policy, but also completed the master’s program in Catholic Studies. She is uniquely able to advise and assist students in the joint program. She writes, “The courses in the CSMA program provide a rich, interdisciplinary look at the wealth of the Catholic intellectual tradition. The CSMA program’s focus on illustrating the integration of the different parts of this tradition is a wonderful complement to the JD program, which stresses the integration of your professional identity as a lawyer with your personal faith convictions. My CSMA classes helped me understand where I fit in this long tradition, in my vocation as a lawyer and a laywoman in today’s Church.”

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