UC Santa Cruz and UC Hastings College of the Law will offer a concurrent degree program that gives candidates a law degree and a master’s in applied economics and finance.
The program, beginning in fall 2016, will allow students to complete both degrees in 3½ years, less time than if both were pursued separately. A typical enrollee will spend the first two years studying law at UC Hastings, the third year in economics at UC Santa Cruz, and a final semester at UC Hastings.
The program is aimed at candidates who aspire to work in technology or finance fields rather than the courtroom.
"We focus almost exclusively on applied work: working with data, whether it’s in the context of finance, or economics, so our students come away with a really deep understanding of how economics is applied to data analysis and how to interpret results from data, “ said Alan Spearot, UC Santa Cruz associate professor of international economics, who was instrumental in the program’s inception and will teach an econometrics course.
“Lots of law students are interested in going the corporate route, representing hi-tech firms, as opposed to going into the courtroom,” he said. “These firms have a ridiculous amount of data, and rely on people who code.”
Morris Ratner, associate professor of law, who heads the Hastings side of the program, said both “schools share a number of commitments, to diversity, to social justice, and, also, to rigorous academic programming. It's that latter shared commitment that sets us up nicely for a concurrent degree program in law and economics.” Ratner also oversees UC Hastings’ JD/MBA concurrent degree programs with several other universities.
Spearot said the program grew out of the Social Justice Speakers series at UCSC last year at which Ratner and Hastings colleague Joel Paul spoke. UCSC and UC Hastings are already collaborating on the joint “3+3 program” that offers undergraduates a bachelor’s degree and a law degree in six years instead of the typical seven.
Spearot said he spent time on the Hastings campus and “we felt it would be feasible and a good match. There is a lot of good overlap between the campuses,” he said.
Past graduates of the UC Santa Cruz masters program in applied economics and finance have gone on to careers in the private and public sectors at such companies and institutions as: Cisco Systems, Seagate Technology, Google, Sony Computer Entertainment, Plantronics, Securities and Exchange Commission, all big four accounting firms, Visa, Square Trade, the California Franchise Tax Board, Blue Cross, the World Bank, Stanford University, and the Bank of Japan.