JD/Master of Environmental Management

In collaboration with the Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke Law School offers the opportunity to pursue a JD/Master of Environmental Management dual degree. Candidates apply separately to the Law School and the Nicholas School and receive independent admission decisions.

Students admitted to the JD/MEM program complete both degrees in four years. Some choose to spend their first year at the law school, and their second year at the Nicholas School, and take classes from both during their third and fourth years. Others reverse the order of the first two years of study, beginning at the Nicholas School and then completing the first year of law school.

Master of Environmental Management

Duke's MEM program teaches students how to analyze and manage natural environments for human benefit and ecosystem health, focusing on the scientific bases of environmental problems as well as the social, political, and economic factors that determine effective policy solutions. MEM students may concentrate in Coastal Environmental Management, Ecosystems Science and Conservation, Ecotoxicology and Environmental Health, Energy and Environment, Environmental Economics and Policy, Forest Resource Management, Global Environmental Change, or Water and Air Resources. MEM students complete a master's project, which may be combined with an internship. » Learn more about the MEM

Environmental Studies at Duke Law

Duke Law offers a variety of resources for students interested in environmental aspects of the legal profession.

The MA or MS degree that is pursued jointly with the JD degree in the Law School requires 30 units of paid registration in the Graduate School. Depending upon the department involved, from 18 to 30 of those units must be in graded coursework. If the required coursework is less than 30 units, students must register for enough ungraded research units to reach the required total of 30.

Like all other master's students, dual JD/MA or JD/MS students must maintain continuous registration within the Graduate School, and take a master's exam (a written exam, submission/discussion of research papers, or a formal thesis, again depending upon the department involved).

Dual Professional Degree Programs

All programs except the JD/MD program are four years long. Students spend their first year in one school and their second year in the alternate school, in whichever order the student chooses. The student’s second year consists of the full first-year program of the other school. In the third and fourth years of the program, the student takes courses in both schools. Approximately two-thirds of these courses are taken in the Law School.

The student in the JD/MD program begins the course of study in the School of Medicine. As in the regular MD program, the first year is devoted to the basic medical sciences, and the second year is devoted to the basic clinical disciplines. After those two years, the student enrolls in the Law School, taking the prescribed first-year courses. After completing seventy-two credits in the Law School, the student returns to the Medical School for elective clinical work tailored to the student’s specialized interests. The student will complete eighteen additional semester hours (two summer sessions) of basic science work.

  • JD/MBA (Business Administration & the Law)
  • JD/MD (Medicine & the Law)
  • JD/MEM (Environmental Management & the Law)
  • JD/MTS (Theological Studies & the Law)
  • JD/MPP (Public Policy & the Law)

General Requirements

For all dual degrees, the Law School and the joint department or school each reduce the number of required credits in recognition of the students' coursework completed in the joint discipline. Students who matriculate as JD/MBA, JD/MD, JD/MEM, JD/MPP, and JD/MTS candidates prior to summer 2013 must complete 72 law credits, rather than the 84 law credits required for JD-only candidates. Students who matriculate on or after summer 2013 must earn 75 law credits instead. The Fuqua School of Business, the Medical School, the Nicholas School of the Environment, the Sanford Institute for Public Policy Studies, and the Divinity School reduce their degree requirements in similar fashion. (For details regarding the non-law credit requirements for a specific dual degree program, please visit the web site of the particular University department or school involved.) Dual degree candidates generally save a full year of study that would otherwise be required if they earned their two degrees consecutively.

Submit a JD application to the Law School and indicate your intention to apply for the dual degree on that form. Concurrently, submit your application to the Nicholas School for their degree program. Follow their directions to indicate that you are also applying to the Law School.

It is also possible to matriculate into one degree program at Duke and apply to the other during the first year of study.

JD application information
MEM application information

Each school will complete its normal application review process, and you will receive separate decisions for each degree. These processes run on different timelines, so you are not guaranteed to receive the decisions at the same time.

If you are admitted to both degrees, you may choose where to begin your studies at Duke. Please be sure to notify the schools of your decision so that they can manage their classes appropriately.

Standardized Testing

The LSAT is required for all Law School dual-degree applicants. The MPP program will waive their GRE requirement for JD/MPP applicants. The MEM program requires the GRE for all applicants.