Jun 21, 2024  
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog 

Simultaneous Enrollment in M.S. in Applied Human Development and Family Sciences and J.D. Degree Programs

Dual Degree between M.S. AHDFS and J.D.

The area of Human Development and Family Sciences (HDFS) and the College of Law at Northern Illinois University offer an opportunity for qualified students to complete a Master of Sciences in Applied Human Development and Family Sciences (AHDFS) and Juris Doctor (J.D.) in less time than it would take to complete both degrees separately.   

The area of HDFS in the School of Family and Consumer Sciences and the College of Law offer the opportunity for simultaneous enrollment in the Master of AHDFS and the J.D. degree programs to qualified graduate students. Students must be admitted to both the M.S. program and the J.D. program. Matriculation in the two programs must be within 18 months of each other. 

Since students enroll in two separate degree programs, to receive both degrees students must meet all of the graduation requirements for both degree programs. A student may obtain either degree prior to completing all requirements for the other degree. Under the simultaneous enrollment plan, students are required to take at least 96 total semester hours, 78 from the College of Law and 18 from the HDFS. Up to 12 semester hours of College of Law course work may be applied toward the 30 semester hours required for the M.S. degree, and up to 12 semester hours of M.S. course work with a grade of B or better may be applied toward the 90 semester hours required for the J.D. degree. 


Within 30 days of admission into the program, students are required to notify the area coordinator in writing of their intention to register for classes in the term for which they were admitted. Failure to do so may result in cancellation of admission. 

An applicant is required to have a minimum of 9 semester hours of undergraduate courses in HDFS, or the equivalent, including a course in family relations and one in child or lifespan development. Three of the 9 hours must be an upper-division family theories or child development theories course. A student may be required to remove deficiencies in the area of AHDFS by successfully completing designated courses. These deficiency courses should be completed during the first semester after admission to the major. Graduate students’ undergraduate deficiencies have to be met with a grade of B or better. Failure to do so may result in removal from the program. 

Admission to College of Law, follow the standard application and admission processes as outlined at https://www.niu.edu/law/admissions/apply.shtml. If students score at the 85th percentile or higher on GRE they may have the LSAT waived.

Thesis Option Requirements

Students choosing the thesis option must take a total of 6 semester hours of HDFS 699A, and must be continually enrolled for at least one (1) credit hour for every semester once they begin their thesis study. 

Students choosing the thesis option complete the requirement through the successful oral thesis defense and acceptance of the thesis by the Graduate School. Students must be enrolled for thesis hours during the semester(s) during which they defend and submit their thesis to the Graduate School. 

Non-Thesis Option Requirements: Comprehensive Examination

Students choosing a non-thesis option will fulfill the comprehensive examination requirement by successfully completing a proctored essay examination. Students must be enrolled in the term in which the comprehensive examination is taken.