J.D./M.A. or J.D./Ph.D. Degree Requirements

The close connections between contemporary legal theory and areas of philosophy such as moral, social and political philosophy indicate a real need for joint study in these two disciplines. To provide opportunities for such scholarship, the Law School and the Department of Philosophy at Duke University offer joint degree programs that combine a J.D. and an M.A. or a Ph.D. in philosophy. There is a terminal J.D./M.A. program, and a program that combines the J.D./M.A. with a Ph.D. in philosophy.

Duke University has a distinguished Law School, with a faculty that has special interest in international law and intellectual property law as well as constitutional interpretation. The Duke Department of Philosophy has a faculty with expertise in the philosophy of law, political philosophy, science policy studies, bioethics, normative ethics and metaethics, and moral psychology. In addition, students in the joint degree programs at Duke have the opportunity to take courses in the Department of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

J.D./M.A. Philosophy Requirements

The standard time for the J.D./M.A. is three years, and in fact Duke Law is the only top-ranked law school in the country where students regularly receive this joint degree in so short a time. J.D./M.A. students begin their first-year law curriculum in June, rather than in August as with J.D. students, and complete a reduced number of law credits while earning their joint degree. The J.D. and the philosophy M.A. are awarded simultaneously.

  • 6 graded graduate philosophy courses
  • Research paper requirement, which typically involves an oral examination on an expanded version of a seminar research paper.

How to Apply

Apply for this program through the Duke Law School.

J.D./Ph.D. Philosophy

A student admitted to the J.D./Ph.D. program is automatically a candidate for the J.D./M.A., and can earn the J.D./M.A. by satisfying its requirements whether or not the student goes on to complete the Ph.D.  It should be possible to earn the J.D./Ph.D. in six or seven years.

  • 72 Law School credits (reduced from 84 law credits)
  • 15 Philosophy courses that meet departmental requirements for Ph.D. in Philosophy (course distribution, logic and language requirements)
    • 6 graded graded graduate courses in philosophy
    • 4 additional philosophy courses
    • 5 approved Law School courses which count towards the Ph.D. 15-course requirement (though these courses will not appear on their Graduate School transcripts)
    • Research paper requirement for the J.D./M.A. will take the place of the Future Research Statement and oral examination on that statement required of students in the Ph.D. program in philosophy.

After receipt of the J.D./M.A., qualified students in the J.D./Ph.D. program can apply for funding from the Graduate School to cover their post-J.D. work toward the philosophy Ph.D. (funding for the J.D./M.A. is provided through the Law School). This work includes the completion of any course, language and logic requirements not satisfied prior to receipt of the J.D./M.A., as well as the preliminary examination on the dissertation proposal and the completion and defense of the dissertation.

How to Apply

Apply to this joint degree by submitting separate applications with the Law School AND the Graduate School. In addition, you must submit a short (no more than 15-page) philosophical writing sample to the Department of Philosophy.

These two schools will admit applicants independently, on the basis of their usual standards.