Joint JD-MPA Program

We are pleased to offer a joint JD-MPA Program with the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law.  This program enables students to earn both a JD and an MPA degree simultaneously at Villanova.

The program is designed for students interested in the relationship between law and public administration and management.  It may be particularly attractive to and useful for students intending to use their law degrees in federal, state or local government agencies, and nonprofit or quasi-governmental organizations.

Application Process

Applicants must apply and be accepted into both programs.  The LSAT is required for JD admission and the GRE is required for MPA admission; however, the GRE will be waived and the LSAT be used to satisfy admission to the program.

Applicants may apply to both programs before they begin their studies in either program. Students cannot take MPA classes during their first year in Law School, so they need to work with Graduate Studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to take a leave or postpone their MPA studies for one academic year if they are accepted into the JD-MPA program. Alternatively, JD students may apply to the MPA program in the second semester of their enrollment in the JD program. While it is possible to start the JD program before taking MPA courses, it is not possible to start the MPA program before taking JD classes. MPA applications should be submitted by May 1st.

Grade Requirements

Students must maintain a 2.75 GPA in the School of Law and a 3.00 GPA in the MPA program in order to remain in the JD-MPA program.

Course Requirements

  • Four (4) law courses will count towards the JD and the MPA degree. 
  • Four (4) MPA courses will count towards the JD and the MPA degree. 

Only students enrolled in the JD-MPA Program may have four courses in each program double counted as described above.

The MPA Director and the School of Law’s Director of the JD-MPA Program identify the Law and MPA courses that may count in each program. The School of Law will accept the four MPA courses toward the JD so long as the student earned a “C” or better.  The School of Law will change the MPA courses to appear as a Law courses on the transcript, but the grades for those courses will not affect the Law school grade point average (GPA).

The A&S Graduate Dean will accept four Law courses toward the MPA so long as the student earned a “C” or better.  The Registrar will list the Law courses as Law courses on the MPA transcript, but the grades will not affect the MPA program GPA.  In short, the Law courses will be treated as “transfer” credits.

Students may complete one of Villanova’s joint graduate programs. For example, students may complete the JD-MBA or the JD-MPA, but not both.

While completing the JD degree, students must complete at least the four MPA courses that will count only in the MPA program and the four MPA courses that will count in both programs.  The remaining four MPA courses may be taken after completing the JD degree. The MPA degree must be completed within the normal timeframe stated by Graduate Studies. Students in the JD-MPA join degree program must complete the six required MPA courses (MPA 8011, 8021, 8031, 8041, 8051, and 8061).

Transfer Credits

Students may not take MPA courses at another institution to complete the degree. Request for transfer credits will not be considered upon admission into the MPA program. Students may not take Law courses at another institution to complete the JD/MPA degree. This does not apply to students with advance standing (transfer students).

Internship / Externship

A students are required to take MPA 8010: Management Internship (3 credits) as part of their degree requirements. MPA 8010 will be waived if a law student has three years of relevant work experience.  Additionally, MPA 8010 will be waived if a law student completes an externship approved by the Law School and by the MPA Director. JD requirements include satisfying 6 credits of Experiential Learning that may be earned in a clinic or externship; however, if all are earned in a clinic, the JD-MPA student will be required to take MPA 8010.  A three (3) credit externship, approved by the Law School and by the MPA Director, will otherwise satisfy the (MPA 8010) internship.

MPA Comprehensive Exam

At the completion of the MPA program, students will be required to take the written comprehensive exam.  The comprehensive exam serves as a capstone experience in the MPA program.  It is designed to provide students with the opportunity to integrate and apply the knowledge gained through their coursework in the program. 

For more information, please contact Catherine E. Wilson, Chair & Director of the MPA Program, and Heather Baum, Professor of Law, Director of the JD-MPA Program.