Undergraduate Studies
Biochemistry Home »

Dual Degree Programs in Biochemistry

JD/MS in Biochemistry

In what may be one of the most unusual degree programs, CWRU offers the dual degree JD/MS in Biochemistry, a four year program. While not for all law students, this program was initially designed for and is currently used by those students who have a scientific background and a clear interest in patent law as reflected in intellectual property. Entry into this unusual program is keyed by admission into the CWRU School of Law with all of its normal credential requirements. Any student who is interested in the dual degree can apply to the program with the Law School application or any time prior to their third year. With the quality of the students admitted into the Law School, there are few other requirements beyond the following: an undergraduate transcript (which can be obtained from the Law School), a personal statement as to why you are requesting admission into this program and any undergraduate letters or other materials (GRE) that might relate to your scientific background.

The two key features of this program are that the student is making adequate progress in pursuit of the JD degree and that the student has the scientific background from their undergraduate studies to take on graduate work in Biochemistry. As it is anticipated that the primary reason for the student to be attending CWRU School of Law is to become a lawyer, anyone who is perceived to be struggling with the normal Law School course work will not be allowed to continue in the dual degree program. As for the undergraduate requirements, these are Introductory Biology, Introductory Chemistry and Organic Chemistry, all of which are prerequisites for graduate work in Biochemistry.

The general plan entails the use of some Biochemistry credits for the JD degree and some JD credits for the MS degree, in total saving about 18 credit hours of course work. Most students take the first year as a Law School year and then mix and match Biochemistry courses in the following years (see the sample schedule below). A more complete description of the program is offered at this site (full description of the JD/MS in Biochemistry Program). Questions concerning this program should be addressed to either Dr. William Merrick (wcm2@case.edu) of the Biochemistry Department or the Admissions Office of the School of Law (lawadmissions@case.edu).

Year 1: Law School 1L curriculum (32 hours)

  Semester 1   Semester 2  
Year 2 BIOC 407 (4) BIOC 408 (4)
  BIOC elective (3) BIOC elective (3)
  BIOC elective (3) BIOC elective (3)
      LAWS (2)
Year 3 LAWS elective (3) LAWS elective (3)
  LAWS (9) LAWS (9)
Year 4 BIOC elective (3) BIOC elective (3)
  LAWS (6) LAWS (9)
  LAWS elective (3) EXAM 600 (1)

Years 3 & 4 include completing the upper class legal writing requirement and LAWS 375 Professional Responsibility in the School of Law.

Successful completion of the program would require 103 credits:

  Total Hours in the School of Law:         76
  Total Hours in the Department of Biochemistry:   27
  Total Hours in the Dual Degree Program:     103

MD/MS in Biochemistry (part of the MD/MS in Biomedical Investigation program)

This program is for medical students who would like extra time to participate in bench research and to add to their background in biochemistry. The dual degree program double counts some classes from the medical school curriculum (as is done in the MSTP program) so that only 9 additional hours of formal class work needs to be accomplished for the MS. Secondly, one full year is devoted to research with tuition and health fees paid by the department. Additionally, a stipend of $15,000 is provided for the student from the advisor’s research grant. Thus, there should be no cost to the student for this additional year. A sample schedule is shown below. Medical students who might be interested in this program should contact Dr. William Merrick in the Department of Biochemistry (wcm2@case.edu).

MD/MS in Biochemistry at a glance

Fall Spring
First year  
Medical school curriculum Medical school curriculum
Apply to the MD/MS program BIOC elective-3 hr


Second year  
Medical school curriculum Medical school curriculum
BIOC 412-3hr BIOC elective-3 hr
Summer-USMLE Step 1  
Third year  
BIOC 601(research)-9 hr BIOC 601(research)-9hr
  EXAM 600 - 1 hr (MS qualifying exam)

Fourth year and fifth year - clerkships

William merrick

  • wcm3@case.edu
  • 216.368.3578 ph
  • 216.368.8845 f
  • Office: W445
  • Lab: W449