Various combined degree options are available allowing students to earn a graduate degree in public affairs and another degree in less time than would be required to obtain the two degrees independently. Courses for one degree are considered as elective credit for the other degree program.

Combined graduate-to-graduate degree options for public affairs:
•    Open to students in any graduate area of study at the University of Iowa
•    Law-A formalized combined degree option has been established


While the requirements of each combined masters degree option may vary, all have key features in common. In each case a student must:
•    Complete an approved area of concentration in public affairs. Work in the other academic unit does not, in and of itself, necessarily constitute a valid area of concentration (e.g., "law" is not a concentration).

•    Take at least 32 hours of public affairs courses that have been previously approved to count towards the degree (except for the combined degree with Law which requires 42 semester hours). Courses in other programs can sometimes be substituted for public affairs core courses. However, this does not reduce the 32-hour requirement.

•    Unless otherwise specified, the capstone is required of students in combined degree programs.

•    Satisfy public affairs' final examination requirement.

Combined degree options with other disciplines

Even when an established combined graduate degree program does not exist, students can receive a master's degree in public affairs in conjunction with another graduate degree. Examples would be a degree in public affairs and urban and regional planning or public health. Information about combined degree programs is available from Abbi Castle, Admissions Coordinator.

University policy requires that prior administrative approval be granted, and a minimum of 60 semester hours of graduate credit be completed to receive two master's degrees. However, courses taken to satisfy one unit's requirements also may be applied to meet the other unit's requirements. Some credits can be shared when one master’s degree requires, or both master’s degrees require, more than 30 semester hours of graduate credit. (No more than ¼ of the credits necessary for one degree may be composed of coursework taken for the other degree.) In all cases, combined degree programs require at least 60 semester hours of graduate credit and each unit's degree requirements must be met. See the Graduate College Manual, section X. G.


Separate applications for admission to public affairs and to the other academic unit are required. Students will be expected to meet the admission requirements of the respective programs, including taking the requisite admission examinations and providing the appropriate admission materials. The two academic units will make admission decisions independently. When applying to each unit, please indicate on the Graduate College Application that you are applying for a combined degree program with public affairs and the other unit.


As a member of a combined master's degree program, students may pay the greater of the two programs' tuition costs. Students are encouraged to consult the Graduate College to determine the tuition amount.