Pepperdine's stated mission is to strengthen lives for purpose, service, and leadership. In furtherance of that end, the School of Law and Seaver College Religion Division have collaborated to provide students with both legal and theological training in an interdisciplinary framework. The joint degree program in law and religion utilizes the resources of two segments of the University to provide students with top-caliber professional training in both fields of study. Drawing upon the host of natural convergences, methodologies, and themes linking law and religion, the joint degree program provides students the opportunity to allow the two disciplines to complement, cross-fertilize, and enrich each other.
A key feature of the program is that students may complete the requirements for a Juris Doctor (JD) and a Master of Divinity (MDiv) in five years rather than the six years it would normally take for completion of the two degrees. This joint program is one of only a handful of such programs in the country, and enables students to probe the depths of theology and simultaneously develop more fulsome understandings of the law, its effects, and its limitations.
While in school, joint degree students may be particularly interested and involved in the conferences, colloquia, and research projects of Pepperdine's Herbert and Elinor Nootbaar Institute on Law, Religion, and Ethics. Students seeking joint degrees will develop competencies in the many areas of interdisciplinary overlap between law and religion, uniquely preparing those students to serve their communities upon graduation. Graduates might seek employment in one of a variety of settings, including traditional law practice, congregational ministry, human rights or other non-profit organizational work, public policy development, or legal advocacy on behalf of the underserved of society.