The Joint degree with the College of Law affords the opportunity to complete both the J.D. and M.S. in Public Service Management in three and a half years of study if an accelerated pace is taken. Program options in MPS, which have proven to be appropriate to the practice of law, include Health Care Administration, Public Administration, Public Policy, and Metropolitan Planning and Urban Affairs. As employment in the legal profession becomes more competitive, the educational credential earned through the MPS degree offers a number of advantages to the job candidate. The additional coursework in the areas of management, research, and policy do provide a knowledge and skill base missing in the traditional J.D. program. Students interested in advocacy law in its many forms find the mission of the MPS program to be a complement to the orientation of the DePaul College of Law. The program is fully accredited with the American Bar Association.
Other than the employment advantage enjoyed by joint degree students, students find the rich blend in the areas of content, methods, and perspectives from the two disciplines to be refreshing. A distinct advantage to the joint degree at DePaul University is the breadth in MPS program requirements. Competitive programs in the metropolitan area offer only the Public Administration degree option. The program shows considerable growth, having expanded from the usual one or two students to at least eight students at various stages in the program at the current time. A status change making SPS its own School should definitely improve the marketing situation for growing this program. Furthermore, some type of parity with the College of Law should result in more equitable negotiations between Law and SPS.
Students apply separately to the College of Law and the College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences School of Public Service, and they must meet the same admissions standards as other applicants. The standard policy and practice is for a student to be accepted by and matriculate in the College of Law before pursuing coursework in SPS. Typically, a student completes the first year of study in the College of Law, earning 31 semester hours with a GPA of at least 3.0. Once this requirement is met, the student is formally accepted into the joint degree program, and MPS and law courses are taken concurrently. Tuition is charged by the quarter hour for MPS classes and by the semester hour for law classes.
The MPS degree requires a total of 52 quarter hours. The JD requires a total of 86 semester hours. The College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences accepts a maximum of 16 quarter hours (11 semester hours) from the College of Law toward the MPS portion of the joint degree, which reduces the credit requirement to 36 quarter hours. The College of Law accepts a maximum of 10 semester hours (15 quarter hours) from MPS to apply toward the JD portion of the joint degree, which reduces the credit requirement to 76 semester hours.
In standard 302-2, the American Bar Association states “Credit for a J.D. degree shall be given for course work taken after the student has matriculated in a law school.” That language has consistently been interpreted to bar any credit taken prior to matriculation in a degree-granting law school program from any source, either another type of college or a pre-admission program. For a joint degree, credit taken in the School of Public Service before the student matriculates in The College of Law cannot count toward the J.D. portion of the joint degree. Credits taken in the JD/MPS program can be applied to the J.D only after a law matriculation. Credit taken prior to admission and enrollment in the College of Law cannot count toward the Juris Doctor, although it may apply to the Public Services portion of the degree.
For more information regarding the J.D. portion, please visit the DePaul College of Law website.