J.D./M.A. Dual Degree Program

The J.D./M.A. in Political Science program combines two separate degree programs: the Juris Doctor degree and the Master of Arts in Political Science.

Students are admitted to both the School of Law and the Department of Political Science. The benefit of the dual degree program is cross-acceptance of a certain number of credit hours resulting and a reduction in the number of courses a student would need to obtain both degrees.

Students earn separate degrees and may apply for graduation to either program after fulfilling the requirements for one of the degree programs whether or not the requirements for the other degree have been met.

Application and Admission

Students must apply for admission to each program; normal requirements for admission to each apply.

Students admitted to the School of Law who apply for the dual degree program will be admitted automatically to the M.A. program in Political Science after the Department receives their graduate application, official transcripts and LSAT score. The Department’s requirement for the GRE will be waived.

Students must be admitted to both degree programs by the end of their first academic year.


Students may take M.A. courses before regular enrollment and matriculation in the Law School, but these courses cannot transfer to the J.D. program.

Per Law School requirements, the first-year law curriculum must be taken as a “one year package” and only M.A. courses completed after this time (i.e., after completing the first-year law curriculum) will apply to the J.D. Law courses completed before admission to the M.A. program can be applied to the M.A.

Cross-Acceptance of Hours

The School of Law will accept up to 10 credit hours of Political Science graduate-level courses toward the 91 hours required for the J.D. degree. Students will submit their course request to the Associate Dean of the School of Law to determine whether the courses will count toward the J.D. degree.

The Department of Political Science will accept up to 12 credit hours of law courses towards the M.A. degree.

Each transferred course must meet grade requirements of the accepting school.

J.D. Requirements

Students must complete 91 credit hours, 81 of which must be in law school courses. For students doing the dual degree, at least 71 must be classroom credits (in other words, in courses requiring attendance in regularly scheduled class sessions in the law school or under direct law faculty instruction).

Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.0. The grade in transferred courses from the M.A. program will not transfer into the J.D. cumulative GPA. Instead, the course grade will be converted to credit, provided the grades are at least a C (2.0) or better in 500-level coursework. If the grade received is insufficient, the course will not be accepted toward the required 91 hours.

Students must complete all required courses including the Jurisprudential (J) course requirement, the Experiential (EXP) course requirement and the Research & Writing (R&W) requirement. The M.A. thesis will satisfy the R&W requirement. The thesis committee will consist of two political scientists and one faculty member from the Law School who will serve as the co-chair of the committee, and whose acceptance of the thesis will provide approval of the thesis as satisfying the R&W requirement. The thesis hours will not count toward the J.D.

J.D./M.A. students are not be required to do an M.A. thesis. Students choosing not to do an M.A. thesis must satisfy the R&W requirement through any of the other R&W options, such as writing an R&W paper for a class, an independent study or a law journal.

Students must successfully complete all coursework within five years.

M.A. Requirements

Political Science Requirements

All M.A. candidates must successfully complete the following core political science courses:

  1. POL-SCI 5501: Seminar in American Government
  2. POL-SCI 5530: Seminar in International Relations
  3. POL-SCI 5580: Seminar in Comparative Politics

Additionally, J.D./M.A. candidates can choose either of the following sets of requirements either the Non-Thesis Option or the Thesis Option.

The Non-Thesis Option requires 12 semester hours of additional political science graduate coursework.

The Thesis Option requires three semester hours of additional political science coursework plus six hours of thesis work (POL-SCI 5599). Students must gain permission to write a thesis. Permission to do so depends on the quality of the thesis proposal, the student’s writing skills and the ability of the Department to supervise the student in the subject area of the proposed thesis. An oral defense of the thesis is required.

Students are required to earn a cumulative graduate grade point average of at least 3.0. Law Electives are not included in the calculation.

M.A. candidates may take up to six credit hours of 300- or 400-level coursework in political science at UMKC and count them toward the M.A. degree. For a 300- or 400-level course to be accepted for graduate credit, a student must arrange with the instructor in advance to do supplementary work (such as additional reading, writing and contact hours) and earn at least a B in the course. In addition, the student must not have previously taken an equivalent course at UMKC or elsewhere.

In either the thesis or non-thesis option, no more than six hours of readings, independent study or directed studies credit (other than thesis hours) may be counted toward the requirements for the M.A.

In all cases, students in the M.A. program must take at least 15 hours of graduate-level (500-level) courses in political science at UMKC in fulfillment of their degree requirements.

University of Missouri rules mandate that students in graduate programs must take at least 60 percent of their course work at the graduate level. Applied to the M.A. program in political science, this means that students must complete at least 18 graduate hours.

Graduate courses taken at UMKC in political science and other programs, law transfer hours and thesis hours all count toward fulfillment of this requirement.

Twelve hours of Law School course credit will be included in the M.A.


Political Science
Dr. Max Skidmore

Law School Contact
Dr. Allen Rostron