Joint MPA & JD Degree Programs

A joint MPA and JD degree program allows students to receive a Juris Doctorate (law degree) and a Master of Public Administration degree within four years. This program is useful for people who want to work in politics, government, or the non-profit sector. Schools offering Juris Doctor degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

How to Earn a Joint MPA and JD

Before applying, students typically take the LSAT (Law School Admission Test) and gain admission to the law program first. Altogether a joint MPA/JD program takes approximately four years to complete. Students begin their first year of study with all law classes that may include administrative law and legal ethics. During their second through fourth years, a mix of MPA and law classes can be taken in areas like quantitative methods and project management. Students may also complete hands-on training during their studies in the form of work at a law clinic, moot court, or clerkship.

Administrative Law

Administrative law courses cover a variety of topics, from immigration to financial regulation and environmental policies. The purpose of an administrative law course is to help students understand how an administration is run and how it interacts with the public. Students could also examine how administrative agencies are disciplined by the courts.

Legal Ethics

These courses involve the study of practicing professionally in the legal field. They cover personal conduct, professional responsibilities, and the issues that may occur if ethical practices are not maintained. These courses can examine a variety of topics, from the roles of a state bar association to the functions of lawyers.

Arbitration Law

Arbitration law covers the practice of settling disputes. Students may analyze historical arbitration cases or learn how to act as counsel in arbitrations. Courses can involve both domestic and international study, as national laws may collide with international tribunals for some large businesses.

Quantitative Analysis

Courses focusing on the use of statistics in public administration prepare students to gather and analyze data. They learn how to crunch numbers in a way that allows businesses, government organizations, and individuals to make choices about initiating projects, continuing programs, and re-directing resources. Topics of study include descriptive statistics and the use of SPSS software.

Financial Management

These classes explain good financial management and budgeting practices and their effect on public policy. Budget balancing, theories behind different practices, and fiscal responsibility all go into learning how to manage a government, business, or non-profit organization. Topics of study could include budget review and execution.

Related Careers for MPA/JD recipients


A lawyer knows the laws that are applicable to specific situations. He or she may represent clients in court, do research behind the scenes, teach at a university or college, or serve as an advisor for a company, government agency, or non-profit organization. A dual MPA/JD gives a future lawyer the double-edged background of knowing the law and understanding how public administration works, which can be useful for arguing cases and completing detailed research for companies and government entities.

Top Executive

A top executive with a joint MPA/JD could lead a company or government agency. He or she must coordinate all the different departments so that the budget is balanced, information is kept securely, and that there are enough workers to complete the job. Knowing the laws applicable to finances and security and understanding how the public interest affects the success of a company are all key to being a successful executive.

Political Science Professor

A political science professor teaches at an institute of higher learning. A professor often must obtain a doctorate before being allowed to apply for tenure at the university or college. Individuals with an MPA/JD may teach about specific areas like American politics, political processes, or law.

Judge or Hearing Officer

To be a judge, a doctorate in law is necessary. For the job of hearing officers, the level of required education may vary. Judges and hearing officers with an MPA/JD could be uniquely suited for positions as administrative law judges and hearing officers in state, local, and federal agencies. Candidates may be required to spend time as lawyers before becoming judges.

Job Title Median Salary (2018)* Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Lawyer $120,910 6%
Top Executive $104,980 6%
Postsecondary Political Science Teacher $83,370 per year 8%
Administrative law judges, adjudicators, and hearing officers$99,850 per year 2%

Source: *US Bureau of Labor Statistics

An MPA/JD degree is a graduate program that requires a student to complete both law and MPA coursework in four years. Students are then prepared for jobs such as the following: advocates with non-profit organizations, professors at universities, or judges in courts.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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