J.D./ESTEEM M.S. Dual Degree Program

J.D./Master of Science in Entrepreneurship, Technology & Innovation

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Are you interested in becoming an entrepreneur or intrapreneur or working with stakeholders in the start-up industry? Would you like to work with partners to bring new ideas to market? Do you have a background in science, engineering, research, or technology? Recognizing how, in the marketplace, lawyers and professionals with technical backgrounds become entrepreneurs, founders, co-founders, intrapreneurs and innovators and bring new ideas to market through both innovation and the application of law, the Law School and the IDEA Center have partnered to offer this dual-degree program - an opportunity to earn a Master of Science in Entrepreneurship, Technology, and Innovation at Notre Dame in addition to their J.D. from Notre Dame Law School.

In this dual-degree program, law students combine their law courses with classes in the ESTEEM program, which help students develop a unique combination of technical expertise and business acumen, with a focus on Fixing Things That Matter. Students in the dual-degree program participate in extra-curricular experiences organized by the IDEA Center that emphasize the action of entrepreneurship and involve students in real-life business ventures. These ESTEEM program experiences supplement law students’ experiential learning opportunities, including the corporate counsel externship and the IP & Entrepreneurship Clinic in the Law School.

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Students in the dual-degree program complete their first year of law school and then spend their 1L summer completing a set of foundational courses in entrepreneurship with the entering ESTEEM student cohort. In the second and third years of the program, students take a mix of Law School and ESTEEM courses. Required Law School courses in the second year of the dual degree program include Technology Ethics, Business Associations, and the Intellectual Property Survey. The summer between their second and third years, students are encouraged to find, with the aid of the Law School’s Career Development Office and Program on IP & Technology Law, a summer associate position with an IP practice group or a legal internship in a technology company. In year 3 of the program, students participate in the ESTEEM capstone, working on a project that asks students to develop go-to-market commercialization strategies for an emerging technology that include financial projections, a business plan, and an assessment of the intellectual property landscape. Over the course of the entire dual-degree program, students will earn a total of 75 Law School credits and 25.5 ESTEEM credits. 


ESTEEM by the numbers

Some key statistics for the ESTEEM program’s stand-alone M.S. in Entrepreneurship, Technology, and Innovation:

  • About 30% of recent incoming students have had industry experience or an advanced degree before matriculating. 
  • Students graduating with a M.S. in Entrepreneurship, Technology, and Innovation have a 95% placement rate 90 days after graduation.
  • Hiring companies have included Deloitte, the European Space Agency, Dayblink, Abbvie, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the Walt Disney Company, Bloomberg New Energy Finance, Apple, Google, IBM, L’Oreal, and Ralph Lauren.
  • About 1/3 of ESTEEM graduates currently work in startups or early-stage companies.
  • 320 students have completed the ESTEEM program and are part of the ESTEEM alumni network. The ESTEEM program was founded in 2009.

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Tuition and Financial Support

The tuition cost of both the J.D. and ESTEEM M.S. degrees when they are pursued separately is $241,496.00. By enrolling in this joint J.D./ESTEEM dual-degree program, students receive a discount on the respective costs of these two degrees. The tuition cost of the dual-degree program is $197,507.00. The tuition cost of the J.D. degree when pursued alone is $186,196.00.

By enrolling in this dual-degree program, in addition to receiving a discounted tuition rate, law students may also receive a further discount for the last two years through fellowships and other financial support from Notre Dame. Fellowships or other financial support awarded prior to matriculation in the dual J.D./ESTEEM degree program may still be applied to the first year of law students’ tuition and to the ESTEEM summer after the first year. Financial support awarded prior to matriculation in the dual degree program is, however, subject to review for years 2 and 3 of the dual-degree program, given the new tuition cost.

For further information on employment outcomes of the ESTEEM program see here. For further information on enrollment data related to the ESTEEM program see here.

For ABA Required Disclosures about Notre Dame Law School see here.

To Apply

First year law students interested in beginning the program in Fall 2021 apply through the SLATE system. Students submit to the ESTEEM program within the Graduate School an application form; an official test score (LSAT or GRE are preferred; GMAT or MCAT are accepted); transcripts from undergraduate institution and the Law School; a resume or CV; a statement of intent; entrepreneurial mindset material (prompt given in application); and three letters of recommendation. Applications are due by the end of the day (11:59 PM) on April 12, 2021. Candidates who submit a completed application by that date will then be interviewed (via Zoom).

For questions about the ESTEEM program please contact Kyle Williams, Assistant Director of the ESTEEM Graduate Program Curriculum, at kwilliams@nd.edu.