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Business college, Cooley Law launch joint program

May 19, 2008

KALAMAZOO--Students will be able to earn a law degree and a master's of business administration simultaneously, thanks to a new partnership announced May 13 by Western Michigan University's Haworth College of Business and the Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

The joint-degree program will require 12 fewer credits than if the degrees were earned separately. Students will attend WMU for classes geared for the MBA and Cooley for law classes. Those who successfully complete the program will earn an MBA from WMU and a Juris Doctorate from Cooley.

"This is an example of a program designed to fulfill the needs of students who have unique career objectives that can be best met by completing two degrees instead of one," said Dr. David Shields, dean of WMU's Haworth College of Business at WMU. "Business and legal education clearly complement each other in many areas of employment."

Since WMU's MBA program is available in Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids, the new partnership will likely be most beneficial to the residents of West Michigan. Cooley has campuses in Grand Rapids, Auburn Hills and Lansing. Individuals who plan to participate in the joint degree option may apply for admission to both programs simultaneously or while an actively enrolled student at either school.

WMU MBA students can apply to the program after completing nine hours of credit. Cooley students can apply after earning 27 credits toward a J.D. WMU officials expect five to 10 Cooley and WMU students to take advantage of the opportunity during the 2008-09 academic year.

"Both schools are focused on providing students with the knowledge and skills that will make it easier for them to succeed quickly when entering professional employment," said William P. Weiner, associate dean of international programs at Cooley. "We believe that combining broad business and management education with a law degree can provide the competitive edge executives and attorneys need in a rapidly expanding global marketplace."

The WMU joint-degree program parallels a similar arrangement that Cooley has with Oakland University for residents of Southeast Michigan.

For more information about the new program, contact Dr. Jack M. Ruhl, professor of accountancy and WMU's MBA program director, at jack.ruhl@wmich.edu or (269) 387-5523.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, (269) 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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