The University of Texas at Austin has established two unique, integrated three-year dual degree programs blending the study of public policy and law.
Offered by the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and the UT School of Law, these are the only such programs among top ranked public affairs and law schools in the United States. The programs begin in the summer, and applications for admission in 2015 are now being accepted.
“Great leadership can emerge from many different disciplines,” said Bill Powers, president of The University of Texas at Austin. “But when we combine law and public policy in a strategic way like this, we have the chance to create leaders who are even more multifaceted and effective. I’m looking forward to seeing the impact this offering has on the leadership landscape of Texas and the nation.”
The two programs, combining a doctorate in jurisprudence (JD) with either a master of public affairs (MPAff ) or master of global policy studies (MGPS) degree, include an integrated curriculum that emphasizes the intersection between the two fields. By combining legal and public policy expertise, graduates will be uniquely prepared to enter and thrive in a number of fields that are shaping the modern interconnected world. Designed to provide students with marketable professional skills and expanded career options, these programs target students with strong interest in both law and public policy.
“The world’s most pressing issues do not come in neat little disciplinary packages,” said Robert Hutchings, dean of the LBJ School. “We want to equip our graduates to take on these critical challenges, whether they are confronted with legal considerations or policy debates, whether they are managing an agency or arguing before a judge. Our dual degree graduates will be able to analyze quantitative data and work closely with policymakers at the same time that they can interpret court opinions and offer legal advice.”
“The School of Law and the LBJ School aim to produce graduates who are poised for leadership in public life in Texas, the U.S. and the world,” said Ward Farnsworth, dean of the School of Law. “These dual degrees give our students a great way to prepare to rise to the top in politics, law and government. We’re excited about the new opportunities.”
The new dual degree programs are intensive and include integrated courses in addition to traditional core courses and electives in each field. The unique curriculum strengthens the quality of the program while allowing students to finish a year earlier than in more traditional four-year programs.
The MPAff/JD program will combine advanced studies of legal and policy issues arising in government, nonprofit and legislative settings with a focus on the domestic arena. The MGPS/JD program will combine advanced studies of globalization and international affairs with a focus on international law.
Students will be required to complete a policy research project at the LBJ School, working in teams to apply their research and analytical skills in law and policy on real-world projects for clients. The programs also include a summer internship, funded with a guaranteed $7,500 stipend, which will allow students to work in professional positions combining law and policy issues.