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Joint Juris Doctor and Master in Public Policy (JD/MPP) Degree

Overview: Across the United States and around the world, law is a major instrument of public policy. With a focus on domestic policy issues (including but not limited to the United States), Stanford's JD/MPP program provides training in essential skills for lawyers interested in shaping public policy, either as advocates for public or private clients or as elected or appointed public officials.

Stanford's interdisciplinary, experience-based JD/MPP program reflects the way policymakers and lawyers work in the world today. Designed collaboratively by faculty members from across the Stanford campus, the program blends studies designed to build policy analysis skills—such as economics, statistics, research design, and data analysis—with coursework in the student's area of special interest—for example, health policy, environmental policy, or science and technology policy.

A distinctive feature of the program is the opportunity to integrate law and public policy coursework, providing a better understanding of how lawyers can use policy analytic tools to represent public and private sector clients and how policy is constrained and enabled by law. A practicum in which student teams apply their legal and policy analytic skills to a real policy problem caps the course of study in the program and provides a practical application of the core policy analysis skills.

The Joint JD/MPP program provides Stanford JD students an opportunity to become sophisticated consumers and commissioners of public policy analysis within the context of their careers as lawyers. The program offers a unique opportunity for Stanford JD students to explore theoretical and practical intersections between law and public policy. An objective of the program is to provide students who will practice law in the public sector as government officials, as public interest lawyers, or in the private sector representing clients in public policy domains, with sophisticated knowledge of diverse policy analysis perspectives and tools and the opportunity to apply these perspectives and tools to real policy problems in areas such as environmental law & policy, health law & policy, and intellectual property law and technology policy.

By pursuing an integrated JD/MPP program, students are able to obtain both the JD and MPP degrees in four years. More importantly, rather than learning about law and policy analysis in two separate and disconnected educational environments—for example, a school of law and a school of public policy—students can pursue their interest in law and public policy in an integrated fashion, and interacting with faculty and graduate students from law, economics, political science, psychology, sociology, and other departments on a continuous basis.

Time required: 4 years (180 units). The JD/MPP joint degree is regarded by the University as a distinct degree whose requirements may differ from either degree considered separately. The JD and the MPP degrees, earned independently, would require 5 years; because of overlapping curricula, the joint degree requires 4. The tuition is paid at the School of Law rate for three years, and at the H&S rate during the fourth year.

Requirements for admission: Admission to and matriculation in the Stanford JD program. Consent of the School of Law. Adequate preparation in mathematics and economics.

Admission: Students apply to the Law School, indicating an interest in the joint program. When a decision is made by the law school to admit such a student to the JD program, that student’s file is forwarded to the MPP program. An admission decision, based on the information in the Law School application, will be made promptly, and the Law School will inform applicants of the decision. Students may also apply after they are enrolled at the Law School, up to the end of their second year of law school, by applying first to the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies in the School of Law.

Advising: Each JD/MPP student must have a faculty adviser in the School of Law, chosen from among the MPP-affiliated faculty, who is also a member of the Academic Council.

Curriculum: The JD/MPP program has four components: (1) the traditional JD curriculum, comprising a mix of mandatory and elective courses, seminars and clinical training; (2) an additional year of coursework comprising theory and methods of policy analysis; (3) concentrated study in a specialized area of law and public policy, such as environmental law and policy, health law and policy or science and technology policy; (4) an interdisciplinary practicum in which students apply legal and policy analytic tools to a “real world” problem, under the supervision of a faculty member who has practiced in the policy arena. For JD students enrolled in the MPP program, some law courses that would otherwise be treated as electives are mandatory (for example, administrative law and negotiation). In addition students in the joint degree program are required to take a policy-oriented clinical course (e.g. education advocacy clinic, Supreme Court litigation clinic, environmental law clinic). 

JD/MPP students complete their first year of coursework at the law school and then spend their second year taking the core MPP courses. During their third and fourth years students take a mix of JD and MPP courses, including coursework in the selected areas of policy concentration. Typically, students also take the practicum during their fourth year. In all, students complete 90 units of coursework for the MPP, up to 45 units of which may be counted toward both degrees*.

Core public policy curriculum for the JD/MPP degree

Courses  Units

PUBLPOL 301A. Microeconomics

PUBLPOL 301B. Cost-Benefit Analysis and Evaluation 4
PUBLPOL 302B. Economic Analysis of Law 4
ECON 102A. Introduction to Statistical Methods 5
PUBLPOL 303D. Applied Econometrics 4
PUBLPOL 305A. Judgment and Decision Making 4
PUBLPOL 306. Writing and Rhetoric 4
PUBLPOL 307. Justice 4
PUBLPOL 308. Political Analysis for Policymakers 4
PUBLPOL 309. Practicum 10
PUBLPOL 311. Colloquium  3

Total MPP program units


Extended Core
(Law School supplement to the public policy core curriculum) (25 Units)

In addition to the core curriculum, JD/MPP students are required to take negotiation, advanced negotiation (multi-party negotiation of public policy problems), administrative law, legislation, uses of policy analysis in the law, and a policy-oriented clinical course (e.g. environmental law clinic, educational policy clinic, cyberlaw clinic), a total of approximately 25 units**.



* A maximum number of 35 quarter units of non-JD classes count toward the JD. This is 5 more than the 30 units permitted by the ABA, which is why every joint degree student must have at least 5 of the 35 units in cross-listed courses.


Policy Concentrations (13 units)

Students select an area of concentration from the list below and, with the approval of their faculty adviser, complete at least 13 units in that area, in the law school or elsewhere in the University.

Health Law & Policy: Health Law Policy I and II; Biotechnology Law & Policy; Law and the Biosciences; Scientific Evidence; Toxic Harms.

Environmental and Natural Resources Law & Policy: Natural Resources Law and Policy; Energy Law and Policy; Water Law and Policy; Environmental Law Workshop: Land; Environmental Law: Pollution; Land Use; Environmental Economics; Regulated Industries; Environmental Ethics; International Environmental Law.

Employment and Labor Policy: Employment Law; Employment Discrimination; Labor Law, Income Distribution; Employment Compensation & Benefits.

Technology, Innovation and Public Policy: Commercial Law and Business of IP; IP: Patents; IP: Copyright; IP: Trademark; Toxic Harms; Energy Law and Business; Scientific Evidence; Regulated Industries, International IP; Commercializing IP; Advanced Topics in Patent Law; Venture Capital.

Transnational Legal Problems: International Criminal Law; International Business and Human Rights; Immigration Law; Terrorism; International Environmental Law; International Trade: The WTO.

International Development & Rule of Law: International Law; International Law Workshop; International Conflict Resolution; International Jurisprudence; International Human Rights; Comparative Law; Law & Policy in Europe.


Practicum (10 units)

The practicum is a capstone course in which students form interdisciplinary teams to find solutions to real-world policy problems, such as those arising in nearby state and local governments.


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