UVA Pairs Law and Public Policy with New Four-Year Dual Degree


The Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, located in Garrett Hall, is partnering with the Law School to launch a four-year program that allows students to earn both a law degree and master's degree in public policy.

October 4, 2011

The University of Virginia is launching a new four-year program that allows students to earn both a law degree and a master's in public policy from the School of Law and the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy.

Under the J.D.-M.P.P. program, which brings the Law School's total number of dual-degree options to 12, students can shave off the additional year of study that normally would be required if each degree were undertaken separately.

Professors Richard J. Bonnie of the Law School and Eric M. Patshnik, associate dean of the Batten School, advise the program. With law and public policy so tightly intertwined, they say the pairing will be a logical fit for future leaders.

People who anticipate that some or all of their careers will be spent in policymaking roles in government or NGOs, domestic or foreign, will profit from the program," Bonnie said. "It provides a natural set of assets for being in those roles."

Students will also benefit from the University's proximity to Washington, D.C., Patashnik added.

"This is a hands-on, personally tailored program because of Batten's relatively lower teacher-to-student ratio," Patashnik said.

Although the program condenses coursework from two rigorous degree programs, Bonnie said students used to juggling a diverse extracurricular load on top of classes should find it intensive, but absolutely do-able."

To pursue the dual degree, students must be accepted to both the Law School and the Batten School individually. Application to either the Batten School or the Law School may be made prior to entrance to the University, or while the applicant is a first-year student at the other school.

In either case, the applicant will be held to the same standards as any other applicant. The committee will not give dual-degree hopefuls special consideration.

Students who have been admitted to the program may elect whether they want to start in the Law School or the Batten School, and must spend their first year in full-time residence at the chosen school. The second year would then be spent in the other school, again in full-time residence, in effect as a regular first-year student.

During the third and fourth years, students select courses from the curricula of the two schools and, as appropriate, courses from other graduate offerings at the University.

At the conclusion of the fourth year, students who have earned a minimum of 74 credits in the School of Law and a minimum of 36 credits in the Batten School will be awarded both the M.P.P. and J.D. degrees. The dual-degree program is one of nine the Law School offers with other schools at the University of Virginia, in addition to programs with Princeton, Tufts and Johns Hopkins universities. The Batten School also offers dual degrees with four other professional schools at the University of Virginia.

For more details of the J.D.-M.P.P. program, click here or contact admissions at either school directly:

Batten School Admissions
235 McCormick Road
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4893
(434) 982-2583

UVA Law Admissions
580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903-1738
(434) 924-7351

Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.

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