JD/Master of Public Policy

In collaboration with the Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke Law School offers the opportunity to pursue a JD/Master of Public Policy dual degree. Candidates apply separately to the Law School and the Sanford School and receive independent admission decisions.
Application information

Students admitted to the JD/MPP program complete both degrees in four years. Some choose to spend their first year at the law school, and their second year at the Sanford 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 Sanford School and then completing the first year of law school.

Master of Public Policy

Duke's MPP program combines a rigorous core curriculum with a wide variety of electives and real-world projects. Students may concentrate in global policy, social policy, or health policy. The program also includes applied consulting projects with outside clients on a variety of real-world policy problems, a summer internship, and a substantial research-based master's project.
Learn more about the MPP

Public Policy at Duke Law

Duke Law offers a variety of resources for students interested in the policy 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 Sanford School of Public Policy for the MPP. 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
MPP 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.


Sarah Campbell"Everyone at Duke Law, from the professors to the staff in the admissions office, is committed to helping students pursue all of their interests. They appreciate students who are trained to approach problems from different disciplines and with expertise in areas outside of the law, and they do everything they can to make sure Duke Law is full of students who fit that description. My JD and MPP studies fit together seamlessly, both in terms of logistics and content. Everything I learned in the MPP program, from statistical analysis to in-depth studies of particular policy areas such as education, complemented my JD studies. Outside the classroom, there were plenty of opportunities to organize events and engage in research that bridged the two programs." –Sarah Campbell '09 JD/MPP