JD/Master's Joint Degree Requirements

Main Content

Academic Advisor:  Dean Lacoff

Under the JD/Master’s joint degree structure, both the Law School and the other degree program reduce the number of credits required by an amount equivalent to a one semester course load. On the Law School side, this is a reduction from 87 credits required to graduate to 75 credits, 12 credits per semester being the minimum course load requirement for upper-level students. Because of the academic and financial concessions made by both degree programs, the two degrees are treated as one by the University and as such, neither degree can be conferred until both are complete.

Track your academic progress

Students enrolled in a JD/Master’s program must earn 75 law credits to graduate.  Those 75 credits must be comprised of the following:

  • The prescribed first-year courses:

*Note: No longer required for students matriculating in or after Fall 2020.

  • JD Ethics Requirement:  A two-credit course in ethics and professional responsibility.
  • JD Substantial Research and Writing Project:  One faculty-supervised research paper for a minimum of two credits.  This may be fulfilled by way of a seminar or an independent study.  The SRWP paper must be a solo project; group projects may not be used to fulfill the requirement.  Seminars that satisfy the substantial research and writing project requirement are identified in the Course Browser by using the JD Course of Study drop-down menu and searching for “JD - substantial research and writing.”
  • JD Experiential Learning Requirement:  A minimum six credits in simulation courses, clinics and/or externships.  Courses that satisfy the Experiential Learning Requirement are identified in the Course Browser by using the JD Course of Study drop-down menu and searching for "experiential learning."
  • ABA Standard 303(c) Requirement: At least one upper-level course providing education on bias, cross-cultural competency, and racism. Courses meeting this standard are identified in the Course Browser by using the JD Course of Study drop-down menu and searching for "Standard 303(c)." Alternatively, students may fulfill this requirement by writing a paper for a seminar or independent study that is certified to meet the Standard. This requirement applies to students matriculating in Fall 2023 or later.
  • Professional Development Requirement: All students entering law school in Fall 2018 or later must complete two non-academic professional development credits. Please note that these credits do not count toward the minimum credit requirement for your degree.
  • Regularly-Scheduled Courses:  A minimum 64 of the 75 law credits must be earned in courses that require attendance in regularly scheduled classroom sessions or direct faculty instruction.
    • Regularly-scheduled law school courses include
      • Law School courses and seminars, including courses cross-listed at the Law School but originating in another school or department at the University.
      • Law School clinics
      • Regularly-scheduled courses completed at another ABA-accredited law school, including through the inter-institutional agreement with UNC and NCCU and transfer credits for students who completed the first year at another law school or who visited away at another law school.
      • Credits from an approved study abroad program.
    • Regularly-scheduled law school courses do NOT include
      • Independent study
      • Non-law courses
      • Externships
      • Research tutorials
      • Ad hoc seminars
      • Bass Connections

The Law School offers joint degree programs in conjunction with the following schools and institute at Duke:

All students are responsible for monitoring their compliance with the graduation requirements.