#PennLawLife: Get ready to learn the word “cross-disciplinary”
This blog series from current students examines aspects of #PennLawLife.
I came to the decision to go to law school late in the college game, but once I finally figured out what [I think] I want to do with my life, the decision-making didn’t end. Like many 20-somethings, I liked having options, and the same was true when it came to choosing a law school.
What stood out about Penn was that my options wouldn’t run out once I got here. Not only was I going to receive a great legal education at Penn Law, but I was also going to have the rest of the University of Pennsylvania available to me. During Admitted Students Weekend, I lost count of the number of times I heard the word “cross-disciplinary.” Students talked about joint degrees and certificates as if it were typical to study simultaneously at two graduate/professional schools at the top of their respective fields. Today, there are 21 joint and dual degree programs and nearly a dozen certificate programs, not counting those available ad hoc.
Initially, the JD/MBE in Bioethics appealed to me, as I had come from a STEM background and taken a couple of bioethics courses in college. I also thought about getting a certificate with the Wharton School – because, well, it’s Wharton. Ultimately, though, in a plot twist of sorts, I applied to Penn’s Graduate School of Education (GSE).
Between college and law school, I was a high school math teacher, and I became very interested in education policy. It just so happened that there was a joint degree offering at GSE for an MSEd in that very department. (The other formal JD/MSEd program is in higher education.) I believe the MSEd will help prepare me and give me added credibility for any future roles I may pursue in K-12 education or policy.
This year, as a 2L, I began my coursework at GSE and will finish my degree next year, at the same time I finish my JD. My GSE classes are small and very much discussion-based, similar to law school seminars, and I have met a wide range of students from different GSE programs and other schools at Penn. I would encourage all Penn Law students to go for a certificate or a joint degree if there is a program that speaks to them. It’s likely the last time any of us are ever in school again, and I am all for taking advantage of the academic options that a university like Penn provides!
By Anna Han L’15