Miami Law Continues To Offer Innovative Programs


Miami Law has announced the launch of a new joint degree program in Law and Communications (J.D./M.A.) – the first interdisciplinary program at the University of Miami to allow students to earn a J.D. and an M.A. in communication in less than three and a half years.

The program was officially announced on March 1st during the presentation of "Capturing The Friedmans" – the award-winning documentary film which presents a complex portrait of a family in the 1980's dealing with shocking allegations of child sexual abuse. The event was held at the University of Miami School of Communication Shoma Hall.

"We hope that this inaugural event of the joint law and communication program will be an example of how a greater understanding can emerge by examining this gripping story from the perspective of both disciplines," said School of Law Adjunct Professor Donald Papy, who moderated a panel that included the film's Editor and Co-Producer Richard Hankin, along with Miami Law Visiting Professor Susan Bandes and School of Communication Associate Professor Samuel Terilli, a media, commercial and employment lawyer who discussed the legal and communications dynamics of the documentary.

The panel examined many of the questions that were explored in the film such as what really happened, how do the criminal justice system and society address such accusations, and how do law, journalism, communication studies, and public relations play vital roles in the story told in this piece of filmmaking.

The new joint degree program in Law and Communications is intended for students with a variety of goals including those who plan to practice professionally in a communication-related field such as journalism or strategic communication with a law-related emphasis. Graduates of these programs may also work as in-house counsel for new communication technology companies and others may serve with government agencies concerned with communications law, or with law firms practicing in that field. This program also provides a solid grounding for future journalists who wish to report on legal affairs.

In this program, a law student can choose from three different M.A. programs within the School of Communication – Journalism, Public Relations and Communications Studies.

The program will allow nine J.D. credits to be applied to the M.A. degree and six M.A. credits to be applied to the J.D. degree, saving the student 15 credits between the two programs.

Currently enrolled students can apply for the joint degree by submitting a personal statement attached to an e-mail ( indicating their interest to apply for one of the three M.A. programs offered. Applications are due by April 1.

The J.D./M.A is one of three new joint degrees Miami Law has offered in the past year. Last spring the law school announced a J.D./M.M., where a student earns the Juris Doctor degree from the School of Law and a Master of Music in Music Business and Entertainment Industries degree from the Frost School of Music; and in the fall the Triple Degree Program, which enables an undergraduate business major to complete a J.D., an M.B.A., and an LL. M degree in nine semesters or fewer, was announced. The law school also offers an array of other joint degrees including ones in Public Health and Marine Science.

For more information on the J.D./M.A. program contact:

Sandra Abraham, Executive Liaison for Interdisciplinary Programs, 305-284-4030,

For details on all of Miami Law's joint degree programs, click here.