Public Administration and Law Joint Degree Program

The Seattle University Public Administration and Law Joint degree program (JD/MPA) is designed to allow students interested in obtaining both the masters in public administration and the JD degree to complete the degrees in less time than if the two degrees were obtained inde­pendently outside the program.

Full-time students are able to complete the two degrees in less time because, through the program, specified courses taken at the Institute of Public Service within the College of Arts and Sciences may count toward the law degree and specified courses taken in the School of Law may count toward the MPA degree. The joint degree program is also available to part-time students.

Program of Study

The Seattle University public administration and law joint degree program allows students to choose whether their first year is spent in the Institute of Public Service (IPS) or in the School of Law. Once a student chooses, he or she may not cross over into the other area during that first year. The second year is spent in the other school (e.g., if the student chose law first, the second year would be in public administration and vice versa). The last two years (or more) are mixed in that students may take courses in both IPS and the law school.

The Institute of Public Service operates on a quarter system and the School of Law operates on a semester system. Therefore, specific schedules must be carefully coordinated with and approved by the associate dean for students at the School of Law and the director of IPS.

Admission Requirements for the Joint Degree Program

Students are required to be admitted separately to both the School of Law and the Institute for Public Service, and should consult the Graduate Bulletin of Information for the specific admissions requirements for each school. Students may be admitted to both schools before starting in the joint program; alternatively, students may seek admission to the other school during their first year of law or public administration. In any case, students will be expected to meet the respective school's admissions deadlines for the coming year.

Length of Program

The minimum length of time required to complete the joint degree program is four years for full-time students. The length of time required for completion of the joint degree program will be longer if the student is part–time. 

Note: The American Bar Association, one of the accrediting agencies for law schools, requires that the JD degree be completed within a maximum of six years.

Credit Requirements

Students in the joint program are required to complete 90 semester credits for the JD degree and 57 quarter credits for the MPA degree. In the joint degree program, students can satisfy the requirements for each degree by using a specified number of crossover credits to be chosen from a list of approved courses in each school. This allows the student, whether full-time or part-time, to complete the two degrees in a shorter period of time than if the student sought to obtain the JD and MPA degrees independently.

Of the 90 semester credits required for the JD degree, 12 semester credits can be satisfied by 18 quarter credits chosen from a list of specified courses from the Institute of Public Service. (One quarter credit is the equivalent of .67 semester credits. So, for example, a 3 quarter credit crossover IPS course could be used to satisfy 2 semester credits for the JD degree.)

Crossover Courses for Joint Degree Program

Approved crossover courses can be used to satisfy elective credits toward the JD and master of public administration degrees. Not all courses are offered each quarter, semester, or year, and some courses may require particular sequencing or have prerequisites.

In addition to the approved crossover courses, students may, upon approval, receive crossover credit for other ap­propriate courses that may be offered from time to time. Crossover credit will not be granted for courses that are substantially similar to courses already taken in the other school.

Program requirements and crossover courses are available in the Graduate Catalog.