JD Certificate in Public Interest and Public Service Law

Students in the Public Interest and Public Service (“PIPS”) Certificate program must also complete the graduation requirements of their JD or joint degree program in full.  The number of credits required for the PIPS certificate are overlapping with (not in addition to) the number of credits required for the JD programs.  Therefore, students may fulfill the academic requirements of the PIPS certificate program through their selection of upper-level electives within their JD program.

This page outlines the curricular requirements of the PIPS certificate program.  Courses that may be used to satisfy the certificate requirements are identified in the Course Browser by using the Public Interest Certificate drop-down menu.  More information on the certificate program, and its other requirements, is published on the Public Interest & Pro Bono website

The academic requirements of the PIPS Certificate program are as follows:

  • One upper-level course in the student’s substantive area of public interest or public service law (e.g. Environmental Law, Poverty Law or Family Law).
    • Students will self-select a course to fulfill this requirement, but must be prepared to demonstrate to Dean Barnes and/or the PIPS Certificate Advisory Board how the selected course, in combination with the advocacy site course, will develop the student’s competencies in their chosen field of law practice. 
  • One upper-level course in the student’s anticipated “advocacy site,” i.e., the specific adjudicatory, regulatory and other decision-making institution where the student’s future advocacy likely is to occur (e.g. a student interested in criminal defense might select Criminal Procedure, a student interested in civil rights might select Civil Rights Litigation).
    • Students will self-select a course to fulfill this requirement, but must be prepared to demonstrate to Dean Barnes and/or the PIPS Certificate Advisory Board how the selected course, in combination with the substantive area of law course, will develop the student’s competencies in their chosen field of law practice.
  • Six credits of experiential learning by way of clinics, clinics and externships in combination, Duke in DC, or (with approval from the Director of the Externship Program) by externships only.
  • The substantial research and writing project on an approved public interest topic.
  • Eight credits of electives in public interest courses.

Additionally, it is strongly suggested that program participants

  • enroll in Law 242 Social Justice Lawyering. New for Fall 2017, this course will introduce students to the ways in which lawyers committed to social justice engage with communities, individual clients, social and political causes and legal systems to help effect social change. fulfill the Ethics requirement of the JD program with Law 237 Ethics of Social Justice Lawyering or Law 317 Criminal Justice Ethics as appropriate for the student’s career goals.
  • fulfill the Ethics requirement of the JD program with Law 237 Ethics of Social Justice Lawyering or Law 317 Criminal Justice Ethics as appropriate for the student’s career goals.

To apply for the Certificate in Public Interest and Public Service Law, please use the online application form.  Students who successfully complete the program will have a notation on their transcript and will be awarded a certificate, in addition to the Juris Doctor diploma, during the graduation ceremonies.

All students are responsible for monitoring their own compliance with the PIPS Certificate and JD program graduation requirements.

Interested in taking a course outside the Law School?

The Registrar’s Office publishes a list on the Registration Portal of classes available at Fuqua, along with links and resources for other Duke courses and offerings at nearby law schools UNC and NCCU.

View courses outside Duke Law