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University of Pittsburgh    
2022-2023 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  Jun 15, 2024
2022-2023 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Policy Research and Analysis, JD/MPA

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Joint Degree

Full-time GSPIA students in the MPA, MPIA, or MID programs may pursue two graduate degrees simultaneously, through GSPIA’s partnerships with other professional schools at the University of Pittsburgh (and two foreign universities). Joint programs reduce the number of credits needed for each degree, allowing students to earn two master’s degrees in just three years, or a master’s degree and a law degree in just four years.

To participate in a joint degree program, students apply separately to both schools, and must meet all of the usual admissions requirements. Those applying to the joint JD program with the University of Pittsburgh School of Law may submit an LSAT score as a substitute for GSPIA’s GRE requirement. Those applying to the joint MBA program may submit the GMAT as a substitute for the GRE. If admitted to both schools, students spend one full year in GSPIA followed by a second full year in the other program (or vice versa). During the third and/or fourth year, they spend a minimum of one additional term in GSPIA, earning a total of 36 GSPIA credits.

Although it is possible to apply to both schools at the same time, currently enrolled students may still apply for a joint degree as long as they have not yet completed one year (or, in the case of current law students, two years) of full-time study.

Master of Public Administration and Juris Doctor

The joint JD allows students to combine the study of law and policy, preparing them equally well for employment in the judicial or executive branches of government. Graduates are positioned to work in international law firms, nonprofit advocacy, and in public or nonprofit agencies that require knowledge of legal issues, such as refugee services and the Department of Justice. Pitt Law School also partners with GSPIA in the University of Pittsburgh’s Washington Center.


Joint-degree students take a minimum of 36 credits and must have 3 terms of GSPIA residency. Students must graduate from both schools at the same time. No course may be double-counted.  Any course taken to fulfill a requirement for the degree in one program cannot also count toward the degree in the other program. Joint degree students should contact their GSPIA Graduate Enrollment Counselor once a term for advising. Graduate Enrollment Counselors advise for GSPIA programs only. Joint degree students must meet with an advisor from both schools.

Requirements for the joint degree MPA/JD

GSPIA Core Requirements: 12 credits

  • PIA 2022 - QUANTITATIVE METHODS (students may waive PIA 2022 if they pass the waiver exam.  If waived, the class must be replaced by an additional elective)
  • PIA 2028 - PUBLIC POLICY ANALYSIS (pre req: PIA 2022)
  • PIA 2096 - CAPSTONE SEMINAR: (24 credits)
  • OR

  • PIA 2099 - THESIS (24 credits prior + PIA 2003 + approval by graduate enrollment counselor)
  • Internship Requirement: All students must complete an approved internship of at least 300 hours while enrolled at GSPIA.  The internship must be approved by the student’s career advisor in advance.  Students with at least three years of relevant full-time work experience may petition their career advisor for a waiver of this requirement during their first semester.

Major Courses: 12 credits

(see Major-Specific requirements)

Electives: 3 credits

Minimum Required GSPIA Credits: 36 credits

Juris Doctor requirements: 79 credits

(see Law’s website for requirements)

Total Number of Credits for Joint Degree: 115

Major Specific Requirements:

Policy Research & Analysis

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