One of the potentially more popular combined graduate degree programs at Iowa is Law (JD) combined with Public Affairs (MPA).


Combined law and public affairs degree graduates typically obtain employment in the public or nonprofit sectors as attorneys with strong public policy or management skills.


Students are expected to meet the admission requirements of the respective programs, including taking the requisite admission exams and providing appropriate admission materials. The two programs will make admission decisions independently. Typically, students apply to the MPA program during their first or second year of study in the JD program.

Detailed application processes are described on the respective academic unit websites:



Details about the application process are available from Abbi Castle, Admissions Coordinator.


The JD degree requires 88 credit hours, typically completed in three years; the MPA requires 42 credit hours, typically completed in two years. Law applies a maximum of 12 hours of public affairs courses toward the JD requirement. The School of Planning and Public Affairs applies 9 hours of law courses toward the MPA requirement. This agreement provides students with reduced credit hours when compared to completing both degrees independently.

Pursuant to the College of Law’s policy on distance education courses, online courses may not be counted toward the JD unless the College of Law faculty first approves the course’s academic content, the method of course delivery, and the method of evaluating student performance

Combined program students typically complete both degree requirements in four years. Taking classes over a summer term may be required to meet this target. At the end of the fourth year of study, students must complete a combined total of no less than 109 s.h., including double-counted courses, to earn both degrees.


JD/MPA combined degree students will pay JD tuition during the first six spring/fall semesters in which the student is enrolled as a full-time student after matriculation into the JD program and MPA program tuition for any subsequent semesters after the first six spring/fall semesters through completion of both degrees.