Law and Public Administration

Law and Public Administration

Under the joint program in Law and Public Administration, a student may complete two separate degrees, the Juris Doctor and the Master of Public Administration, in a shorter period of time than would be required if the degrees were taken consecutively. The heart of the program is reciprocity between the Law School and the Graduate School involving a specific number of credit hours.

The purpose of the joint program is to provide a public law option for students anticipating careers as governmental administrators. It is increasingly apparent that managers in both the private and public sectors are constantly involved with programs requiring legal knowledge. At the same time, lawyers are increasingly being called upon to perform management tasks, particularly in government agencies. The joint J.D./M.P.A. program is appropriate for those students who would find it helpful in their career objectives to be cross trained.

In order to be admitted to the joint degree program, a student must separately apply and be admitted to both the School of Law and the Graduate School. It is possible for a student to be enrolled in one program and later seek enrollment in the complementary program. Application to the Law program requires taking the LSAT and the GRE is required by the M.P.A. program.

The J.D. and M.P.A. degrees can be earned in as little as four years. The first two years are normally spent as a full-time student in the School of Law. The third year is then spent as a full-time student in the Public Administration program. The Public Administration work can be undertaken at The University of Montana, or in the inter-university Helena M.P.A. program. The final year would be devoted to the third-year courses at the School of Law. The student has the option, however, of completing the Public Administration portion of the program during the fourth year, i.e., upon completion of the J.D. degree. All requirements of both programs must be met. However, the School of Law accepts toward its 90-credit degree, six semester hours of approved credit earned in the Public Administration program, and the Public Administration program accepts a maximum of ten semester hours of approved Law School credit toward the M.P.A. degree.

The 36 semester credits for the Public Administration part of the joint program normally will consist of 27 Political Science core curriculum credits and nine semester hours of Law School courses.

Because the specific needs of each student in the joint program differ, every effort will be made by the Law School and the Department of Political Science to tailor the program to the individual student's requirements. The Law School Associate Dean will serve as student advisor for the course of study taken at the Law School. The Director of the M.P.A. program will serve as the advisor for the M.P.A. aspects of the program.

For further information and application materials regarding the M.P.A. program, contact:

Professor Jeffrey Greene
Department of Political Science
The University of Montana
Missoula, MT 59812

If you wish to pursue a joint degree program, please notify the Associate Dean of the School of Law as soon as you decide to do so, but in no case later than the beginning of your second year of law school.

Please be aware that you are not permitted to take any non-law credits in addition to the 6 non-law (9 in the joint J.D./M.B.A. program) credits you take as part of the joint degree program.

For the non-law credits you wish to take as part of any of the joint degree programs, you must specify these courses with the Academic Standards Committee before you take the courses. No retroactive selection is permitted.

How the J.D./M.P.A. Credit is Earned

The J.D./M.P.A. degree shall be earned in four years, and the customary sequence is:

  • The first two years as a full-time student in the School of Law.  No M.P.A. courses may be taken during the first academic year.
  • The third year as a full-time student in the public administration program.
  • The fourth year devoted to third-year courses in the School of Law.

The J.D./M.P.A. credits are earned in the following way:

  • The School of Law shall accept toward its degree six semester hours of approved credit earned in the Public Administration program.
  • Law students must notify the School of Law's Academic Standards Committee of which M.P.A. courses they plan to take for law credit the semester before they take the course(s).
  • The Public Administration program shall accept toward the M.P.A. degree a maximum of 9 approved credits earned in the School of Law.
  • Students electing the field practicum option under the Public Administration program are not required to earn the required 4 credits in the School of Law clinical program.

J.D. Courses for the M.P.A. Degree

Required for the M.P.A. program are 9 credits from among the following (all 3-credit courses):