J.D./M.A. Requirements

Duke allows you to earn both a law degree and a master's degree in three years and one summer and is the only elite law school in the country offering this educational flexibility. The J.D./M.A. dual-degree program is an opportunity to continue pursuing an academic passion from your undergraduate years as you pursue a legal career path.

How to Apply

Students must apply to this program through the Duke School of Law. See the J.D./M.A. webpage for application guidelines.

MA Requirements: 30 graduate units

  • 6 graded courses (18 units), typically one per term
  • 2 of these courses can be in the Literature Department
  • 1 of these courses can be an undergraduate course
  • 12 ungraded research units

Note: Courses that fulfill credit requirements for the MA degree must be attributed to your Graduate School record and cannot simultaneously count towards your law degree credit requirements. You must maintain registration (“continuation”) in the Graduate School even if you are not taking a course in any given semester during the academic year. Please be aware of the Graduate School’s drop/add windows each semester, as you are required to complete course registration/changes during that time.

Non-Thesis Option:

The non-thesis option requires approval of your master of arts program by at least three professors who have graded one paper each from your courses. You must submit a Committee Approval Form (gradschool.duke.edu/sites/default/files/documents/form_committee_approval.pdf) to the Graduate School at least one week in advance of submission of your Non-Thesis MA Examination Card. You must get signatures from your committee members on the Non-Thesis MA Examination Card and submit it to the Graduate School before the published deadline during the semester you intend to graduate (see below). This form is available from the DGSA.

Thesis Option:

For a thesis J.D./M.A. program, you must constitute a committee of at least three faculty who oversee and critique your writing. Registration for English 399 (MA research with a supervisor) replaces two of your six graded courses. You must submit a Committee Approval Form (https://gradschool.duke.edu/sites/default/files/documents/form_committee_approval.pdf) to the graduate school at least one week in advance of submission of your Master's Thesis Examination Card. A Master's Thesis Examination Card (which requires a formal thesis format check in the Graduate School) must be submitted to the Graduate School before the published deadline during the semester you intend to graduate (see below). This form is available from the DGSA.

Apply for Graduation

Please note that joint degrees are interdependent. If the full requirements of both degrees are not met, you will not receive either degree. The Graduate School requires you to apply for graduation in ACES during the semester in which you are graduating: typically January 25 for a May degree, July 1 for a September degree, and November 1 for a December degree. This online form is available at http://gradschool.duke.edu/academics/apply_to_grad.php

  • You will not receive a degree unless you apply to graduate
  • There is no penalty for filing and then changing your plans. However, a form filed for one semester does not carry over to the next semester.