MPA and JD dual degree programs allow students who wish to earn a law degree the opportunity to enhance their understanding of public administration as well. Through coursework in public policy, law, and management, these programs examine how laws and policies are formed and implemented. Graduates are prepared for careers in government or politics or to work in a legal capacity for nonprofit or public organizations.
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MPA/JD Degree Program Information
These programs generally require just over 100 credit hours of coursework, and students can usually complete both degrees in about four years. In addition to the types of courses outlined below, students may be able to craft a concentration in an area of interest, and they may be required to complete an internship or capstone project.
Introduction to Public Administration and Policy
The MPA portion of these dual degree programs includes coursework in foundational concepts regarding public administration. Introductory courses usually cover management and political concerns specific to the public sector and provide an overview of what the profession of public administration entails. These classes may also discuss how the public sector has evolved and current challenges within it.
Classes in policy analysis study the implementation of policies in areas like health and education. Techniques for assessing the effectiveness of current policies are examined. Additionally, approaches to researching future policies are discussed. These classes may include instruction on statistical or economic approaches to analyzing polices, like cost-benefit analyses.
Public Financial Administration
Graduate programs in public administration devote attention to economic and financial factors that shape policy formation and implementation. Classes in this area examine budgetary theory and approaches to managing public funds. They include instruction on estimating project costs and managing debt. Examples from government agencies at local, state, and federal levels may be discussed.
This area of law focuses on the agencies responsible for the formation and execution of laws. Class topics cover how legal decisions are made that impact areas like education, immigration, and the environment. Administrative law also examines how powers to establish and enforce regulations are delegated to agencies at federal, state, and local levels. Additionally, these classes may cover the structure of administrative agencies and administrative reform within them.
Courses in constitutional law examine the Constitution as a basis for judicial decisions and the general operation of the federal government. Students discuss the rights held by state and local governments and examine issues of constitutional interpretation. Individual liberties are also examined along with the constitutional meaning of equality.
Program Admissions Requirements
Applicants pursuing dual MPA and JD degrees usually must apply and be admitted to both programs. Some schools allow students to apply to the second program after they are already pursuing a degree in the first program. Prospective students must hold a bachelor's degree, with some programs requiring an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0. All applicants must take a graduate admissions test. Law programs generally require the LSAT, and MPA programs generally require the GRE. In some cases, only one test score is required if an applicant gains admission to one program before applying to the second. Programs may have minimum score requirements like a score of 297 or higher on the GRE. Additional requirements include letters of recommendation, a resume, and a personal statement.
Joint degree programs granting MPA and JD degrees prepare students for legal careers with public and nonprofit agencies. In addition to including law school coursework covering such areas as administrative and constitutional law, these programs emphasize public policy formation, administration, and analysis.