by Miki Pike Hamstra, assistant dean of graduate programs, IU McKinney School of Law

Many professionals find it invaluable to gain knowledge of the law and how it intersects with their entity’s efforts. While some choose to pursue a traditional law degree to gain that information, there is an alternative.

The IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law offers a Master of Jurisprudence (M.J.) degree that demonstrates you don’t need a law degree to gain that skill set. Students and recent graduates of the program share why they chose it.

Ebonye M.J. Crowe, a dual-degree student and grade-level administrator at MSD Warren Township Schools, found that the M.J. degree offered more than she originally envisioned. “My initial intention was to gain knowledge of the law and pair it with my urban education studies to help me to be better informed of law and policy in my role,” Crowe said. “However, I’m learning it’s BIGGER than that! My law and UES classes are the perfect pairings. They complement one another very well and will provide me the foundational knowledge I need to understand the big picture and think more critically.”

Carolyn Dawson, a 2021 graduate of IU McKinney’s M.J. program, found that the degree has given her invaluable insights as part of her work in the contract grant service line as a research administrator pre-award at Regenstrief Institute. “I was looking for something challenging that I could use and transfer into any field I continued to work in,” Dawson said. “I wanted something that would help me look at things differently than the way I saw the world and force me to look at the bigger picture.”

Another IU McKinney graduate, Keva Ropp, shared that her M.J. studies, which she completed in 2020, helped her be a better student advocate in her role as the assistant director of finance in the department of medicine at the IU School of Medicine. “I believe my M.J. degree has been a great factor in being more educated and aware of changes in the law,” Ropp said. “It allows me to be a better advocate for the students that I encounter, my colleagues that I work with, and the IUPUI community that I support.”

Duong Quyhn Vu, IU McKinney’s first M.J. graduate, is a data scientist at UrbanLogiq. “The Master of Jurisprudence gave me a foundation in legal understanding and critical thinking, skills that help me to develop creative solutions to problems, understand technical papers, and perform research for my career,” she said. “We integrate and visualize diverse data sets so that public officials of any technical background can understand what their data is telling them and better serve their communities.”

To learn more, visit IU McKinney’s website.


IU McKinney School of Law and Purdue University introduce new agriculture degree

by Miki Pike Hamstra, assistant dean of graduate programs, IU McKinney School of Law

Agriculture is an enormous business enterprise in Indiana and as with any economic endeavor, legal knowledge is a vital part of supporting it. Issues can be as varied as drainage, probate concerns, environmental issues, food safety, technology, patents, and many more.

IU McKinney and Purdue University have teamed up to create the first Master of Jurisprudence /Master of Science (M.J./M.S.) in agricultural economics in the nation. This effort capitalizes on both institutions’ signature specialties — law and agriculture — to provide a foundation in agricultural law. Purdue’s agricultural economics expertise offers an in-depth understanding of the food system’s economics and the concepts and theories required to make effective decisions in a dynamic industry. IU McKinney’s legal training emphasizes understanding regulatory oversight, administrative agencies’ roles, policy questions, and transactional structures.

M.J./M.S. students with a multidisciplinary education in agricultural economics and law will be able to make creative and significant contributions to their companies, the food and agribusiness industries, and food and agriculture policies in Indiana and elsewhere. To learn more, visit IU McKinney’s website.