Juris Doctor/Master of Arts Degree Requirements

Duke allows you to earn both a law degree and a master's degree in three years and one summer and is the only elite law school in the country offering this educational flexibility. The JD/MA dual-degree program is an opportunity to continue pursuing an academic passion from your undergraduate years as you pursue a legal career path.

NOTE: Students must apply to this program through the Duke School of Law. See the JD/MA webpage for application guidelines.

JD/MA Requirements

30 Course Units

All Duke Master of Art programs require a minimum of 30 units of degree credit. At least 24 of these units must be graded course work in history, and the other 6 units may be credits for ungraded research.

Required Courses

HISTORY 701S Research Seminar in History or HISTORY 702S Research Seminar in History, or a similar course sequence (in historiography/theory and research methods) with the written permission of the History department's Director of Graduate Studies (DGS).

Research Paper

The department requires successful completion of one substantial research paper (of 25-50 pages, based in primary research), produced in one of the department's research seminars or a similar course, with the written permission of the DGS.

Non-Thesis Examination or Master's Meeting

The Graduate School requires all JD/MA candidates to have a final examination administered by your committee. The expectations for the JD/MA exam are similar to those of the M.A. exam. The History Department chooses to consider the exam a "meeting," rather than a formal exam, and it expects the committee to consist of three professors familiar with your work. This meeting should occur after the other degree requirements have been fulfilled and after the required written work has been read and approved by all three committee members. In ordinary circumstances, this meeting would take place some time during the fall semester of your second year in the program. This Master's meeting can be relatively brief (30-90 minutes in length). After you set up a time with their committee members, they should contact the DGS Assistant to arrange a place for the meeting. It is up to all four participants to see that this is a positive, informal, and candid discussion of strengths and weaknesses, prospects and possibilities. The meeting should occur after all other Master's requirements have been fulfilled, and after the written work has been read and approved by all three committee members.

Intention to Receive Degree Form

You must file an "Intention to Receive Degree" form with the Graduate School before, or at the start of, the semester in which you intend to complete all requirements for the JD/MA degree. You must turn this form into the graduate school ONE MONTH BEFORE THE FINAL EXAMINATION MEETING and no later than:

  • January 25 for commencement in May
  • July 1 for a September degree
  • November 1 for a December degree

Students who intend to finish in a specific semester must be sure to file this form. If plans change and you are unable to finish, you can simply completes the same form again for the subsequent semester.

Non-Thesis Master's Examination Card

Just before the Master's meeting, you should ask in the DGS Office for a Non-Thesis Examination Card to indicate completion of all requirements for the JD/MA degree. After the final meeting, this card, signed by the three committee members, must be returned promptly to the DGS Office as notification. It is then the responsibility of the DGS Office to transmit the properly signed card to the Graduate School Office.