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If you want to make a real difference in the world through service to others then the juncture of law practice with public administration or politics may be your niche. You will be able to specialize in government & public sector law at the local, state or federal level and focus on matters relating to municipal government, justice administration, legislation, land use or public finance using the skills and knowledge that JD & MPA programs will give you.

UK's JD/MPA dual degree program was initiated in 1984, and is the only one offered in the Commonwealth. The program enables you to gain both degrees in a total time period of four years, one year less than if the degrees were earned independently. Alternatively, students can earn the J.D. and MPA separately by combining the one-year Accelerated MPA degree with the J.D.

UK's Traditional Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree is a two year, 42-hour degree program that is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration and offered through UK's Graduate School. The Juris Doctor (JD) Degree is a three-year, 90-hour degree program of the UK College of Law that is accredited by the American Bar Association. Under the joint degree program, each school accepts credit earned in the other school, allowing you to complete the JD/MPA degree after only 33 credit hours of MPA course work and 81 credit hours of Law course work.


Program of Study

To earn the JD/MPA, you must satisfy the requirements of both the Martin School and the College of Law. From the perspective of the MPA program, the JD program serves as your Area of Concentration, thereby satisfying the required MPA Area of Concentration course work. From the College of Law perspective, the MPA course work satisfies nine hours of electives toward the JD degree. You are expected to complete this dual program of study in four years.

Once admitted, you may elect to begin course work in either Public Administration or Law. Simultaneous enrollment is the exception, not the norm. However, if you have a scheduling problem, the MPA and Law program representatives will resolve any conflicts on an ad hoc basis.

You may follow one of two tracks:


Track A

Year 1: 30 credit hours of required MPA core courses

Year 2: 29 credit hours of required first-year Law courses, including Legal Research and Writing

Year 3: Law electives + 3 credit hour JD/MPA internship (Professional Responsibility - Law 835 - and completion of a substantial writing project are required in year 3 or 4)

Year 4: Law electives + PA 681


Track B

Year 1: 29 credit hours of required first-year Law courses, including Legal Research and Writing

Year 2: 30 credit hours of required MPA core courses

Year 3: Same as Track A

Year 4: Same as Track A



To be admitted to the JD/MPA program you must apply independently to both programs, and meet the admission standards of each. Admission standards will be the same as if you were applying solely to one program. However, you should note on all application forms that admission is being sought for the JD/MPA dual degree program. The dual degree program is not suitable for part-time MPA students. There is no part-time program at the College of Law.

If you are currently enrolled in either the JD or the MPA program, you can be considered for admission to the JD/MPA Dual Degree Program. You will be eligible for consideration after the end of your first year and if no more than 24 credit hours of the MPA program are completed. Your application for admission must be accepted by the program in which you are not enrolled. The JD/MPA program is not available if you already have earned one of the degrees.



The MPA Director of Graduate Studies and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs of the College of Law serve as an advising team for you, each in their respective schools.


Student Status

During the period of MPA study, you will have graduate student status and must comply with the rules and regulations of the Graduate School. Student fees/tuition are paid at graduate school rates.

During the period of Law residence, you will have law student status and must comply with the rules and regulations of the College of Law. Student fees/tuition are paid at law school rates. Eligibility of law students for the law journals, Moot Court, Order of the Coif, and other College of Law activities and honors are determined at the discretion of the College of Law.


Graduation Requirements

Grade Point Average

Grade point averages for both programs are calculated independently by the College of Law and the Graduate School. You must satisfy the College of Law requirement of maintaining a minimum GPA of 2.00 for course work counted toward the JD degree. MPA courses accepted for law school credit are assigned a pass/fail grade. The Graduate School requires a minimum of a 3.00 GPA on course work counted toward the MPA. Additionally, a C is the lowest passing grade accepted by the Graduate School, and students with three Cs will be dismissed from the MPA program.

As a JD/MPA student, you will be eligible to sit for final comprehensive examinations for the MPA degree at the completion of PA 681, Capstone in Public administration in your final semester. 



Your three-hour internship (PA 711) is with a judge or firm or in an administrative agency with legal activities. The MPA and College of Law advisors jointly evaluate and grade the resulting written analysis of the internships. Internships are arranged by the MPA Internship Coordinator, after consultation with the College of Law Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. 

Upon satisfactory completion of all degree requirements of both schools, and the successful completion of 33 credit hours of MPA coursework and 81 credit hours of Law study, you will be granted both the JD and MPA degrees. You are eligible to attend graduation ceremonies at either or both schools.


Failure to Complete JD/MPA Requirements

The JD/MPA dual degrees are granted only upon successful completion of all course work and examinations.

If you find it impossible to complete the law component, you may complete an MPA Area of Concentration and a final comprehensive examination over Core and Area of Concentration classes and receive only the MPA degree.

College of Law credit given for MPA coursework is provisional upon completion of the dual degree program. If you are unable to complete the MPA requirements, you will be able to credit up to six hours of MPA coursework completed with a grade of B or above toward the JD, subject to approval of the Dean of the College of Law.


Application Process

Competitive applicants to the MPA program will come with a knowledge of micro-economics, such as that obtained from taking ECO 201 at UK. They will have GRE or GMAT scores at or above the fiftieth percentile, and a desire to work in the Public or Not-for-profit sector. 

All applications for graduate study at the University of Kentucky Graduate School must be submitted on-line. We are now part of the Hobsons ApplyYourself Application Network. Using this system, you will:

  • Set up a new account, pay the application fee, and establish a user name and password
  • Complete the application form, including recording your GRE or GMAT Scores. If/when you decide to enroll, you will need to have ETS send official scores to the Graduate School.
  • Upload copies of transcripts from all higher education institutions attended. If/when you decide to enroll, you will need to submit official transcripts to the Graduate School.
  • Upload a 2-3 page biographical sketch that describes your reasons for wanting to earn these degrees.
  • Upload a resume.
  • Supply the e-mail addresses for at least three individuals, preferably professors, who are familiar with your academic abilities, particularly your ability to do graduate work and have agreed to write recommendation letters for you. There is no special form for the recommendations.
  • All applicants whose native language is not English will be asked to self-report TOEFL or IELTS scores on the application as well as have official scores directly sent by Educational Testing Service (ETS ). See the Graduate School web site for exceptions.

For the College of Law, you need to follow the admissions guidelines as set forth on this web site and in our admissions Bulletin.