Jacksonville University and Florida Coastal School of Law officials announced a groundbreaking collaboration Wednesday that will enable students to simultaneously obtain a master in public policy degree and juris doctor in law. The two degrees will be obtained in four years rather than five years if pursued separately.

The master in public policy (MPP)-juris doctor (JD) dual degree program is the first of its kind in Florida.

Also Wednesday, the two institutions entered into a course agreement that enables Jacksonville University master in public policy students to take policy-oriented courses at Coastal Law.

Coastal Law Dean Peter Goplerud and Jacksonville University President Kerry Romesburg signed the agreements in a ceremony at JU.

Classes for JU’s master in public policy degree programs begin in August 2013.

“This collaboration will better enable both institutions to attract students from a broader geographical area, and it advances our mutual goal of developing leaders of communities and organizations of tomorrow,” said Rick Mullaney, the JU Public Policy Institute founding director. “JU is offering the first MPP degree in Florida and it is a unique opportunity for students to obtain a law degree at the same time.”

“This JD/MPP program offers an unparalleled combination of legal and public policy education not found anywhere else in the state of Florida,” said Terri Davlantes, Coastal Law vice president of strategy and general counsel. “Much like our other partnerships with Jacksonville University, this new initiative represents a wonderful joint effort between our two schools.”

Here are details of the dual degree agreement:

  • Applicants to the MPP-JD program will be required to meet the entrance requirements for both JU PPI and FCSL and to be accepted into each institution.
  • To be accepted to FCSL, students must take the LSAT exam, which will be recognized by JU for acceptance to the MPP-JD program.
  • Students will pay tuition to FCSL for the credits taken at the law school to earn the JD degree, and students will pay JU for the MPP courses.
  • JU PPI will recognize 12 credits of JD coursework towards the MPP degree, and FCSL will recognize 12 credits of MPP coursework towards the JD degree. The total coursework will consist of 114 credit hours — 36 from the MPP program and 78 from the JD program.
  • In year one, students will complete the entire first year curriculum in either the JU MPP program or the FCSL JD program. In year two, the other school’s first year curriculum will be completed. In years three and four, students will take a mix of law and policy courses.
  • The public policy coursework will include an internship which can be met through an MPP internship, a qualifying clerkship, or qualifying work or professional experience.
  • Courses taken in the JD program must include administrative law and statutory interpretation and legislative process, both of which provide a framework for policymaking.

About the participating institutions

THE JACKSONVILLE UNIVERSITY PUBLIC POLICY INSTITUTE (JU PPI) was established in January 2012 to prepare students for diverse leadership opportunities in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. JU Master of Public Policy (MPP) includes four graduate degrees: an MPP degree and three dual degree programs, the MPP-Juris Doctor, MPP-Master of Business Administration and MPP-Marine Science. The MPP degree and dual degree programs are the first such programs in Florida. The JU PPI is not an academic exercise; this program is the intersection of scholarship and solving community problems. It brings together the academic community and policymakers and public in a neutral gathering place to address community problems. As the JU MPP program develops, it will make a significant contribution to preparing future leaders and shaping the future. To learn more, visit www.JU.edu/ppi.

FLORIDA COASTAL SCHOOL OF LAW is an independent and private and institution that received full ABA accreditation in August 2002. Coastal Law’s mission is to distinguish itself as a visionary, forward looking, globally interactive, and culturally diverse institution dedicated to having a positive impact on its students, the community, legal education, the legal profession and the legal system. For more information on its programming, visit www.fcsl.edu.​