Joint J.D./M.A. Degree

The study and practice of law is increasingly interdisciplinary, and Duke offers the opportunity for you to engage with leading scholars to explore the ways that matters of law and policy intersect with political science through a joint degree program.

The joint JD/MA degree program is designed as a terminal degree program for which continuous Graduate School registration must be maintained. Continuous registration requires actually registering for at least one graduate credit for each semester of residence. Law students admitted to the joint program, in common with all other MA candidates, are not eligible for departmental financial assistance.

How to Apply

To apply to the program, you must go through the Duke School of Law. If accepted to Duke Law, you will automatically be accepted into the joint program with the Department of Political Science M.A. program.

Political Science Master of Arts

The Political Science side of this joint degree consists of obtaining a Master’s degree in political science. You must complete all the requirements of the program in order to earn the joint degree. Although admission to this program does not require a GRE score, it does require favorable action by the DGS of the Political Science Department.

The DGS must approve all Political Science graduate courses chosen and/or substitutions – that is courses originating in, or cross-listed with related Trinity College of Arts & Sciences departments or programs – as well as any other exceptions to the normal course of graduate study at the master's level. NOTE: four of the graded graduate courses in political science taken for the M.A. are permitted by the School of Law to reduce from 84 to 72 the number of Law credits needed to satisfy the requirements of the J.D. degree.

The eight graduate courses taken to satisfy the requirements of the M.A. degree will ordinarily originate in the Political Science Department, but related elective graduate courses may originate in another Arts & Sciences department. The may not originate in a professional school (Law, Fuqua, Medicine, etc.) unless the course is cross-listed with an Arts & Sciences department.

Skill courses, including not more than two below the graduate level, or demonstrated proficiency in statistics, social science methodology, and/or foreign languages are not required of students in this joint degree program, but one or more may be deemed important and even essential to success in the program.

Law Students

The joint JD/MA degree is open to law students who enter the J.D. program in the summer of their First Year and who on their application for law school admission signal an intention to pursue the joint JD/MA program.

In exceptional cases, a law student who applies in a timely manner, in accordance with application deadlines fixed by the Graduate School and the Department, for admission to the program during his or her first year may be considered for entry. Once enrolled in the joint JD/MA program and having never withdrawn from it, a student must satisfy all the requirements of both programs in order to receive any degree at Commencement.

Once admitted, JD/MA students (a) are expected to participate fully in the Department’s August Orientation program for entering graduate students, and (b) must submit by May 1 of his or her first year a brief essay of not more than 500 words indicating the relevance of the courses selected to his or her study of the law together with a complete proposed course of study subject to later revision.