Joint JD/MA Program

The joint JD/MA in International Policy Studies degree program supplements the strengths of the Stanford Law School with training through Stanford’s Ford Dorsey Program in International Policy Studies (IPS). The joint JD/MA IPS program will prepare students to be both excellent lawyers as well as consumers and commissioners of policy analysis, with in-depth knowledge of the range of issues they will face in the 21st century in international public policy and transnational business.

Relevance to the way law is practiced today

Lawyers have historically played a vital role in policy-making, either as legislators, regulators, or government officials charged with developing and administering the law; as legal experts in public interest nongovernmental organizations; or as practitioners responsible for advising private actors about the law’s application to their conduct. As a result of globalization and ever-expanding international interdependence, lawyers increasingly and inevitably will be expected to assume such policy-making functions in an international environment.

Participants in the joint JD/MA IPS program will develop the legal reasoning abilities, the analytical and policy skills, and the substantive exposure to today’s pressing contemporary international issues that will enable them to serve legal and policy-making functions in a complex international environment. Whether they work in national security or foreign policy government agencies, in international nongovernmental organizations, for private companies engaged in heavily regulated or politically sensitive transnational business, or at law firms that represent such companies, the range of skills and deep understanding of the international policy context students will acquire through the joint JD/IPS program will enhance their ability employ integrated legal and policy analysis to solve their clients’ problems and reshape our public and private institutions.

Career opportunities for joint degree holders

The joint JD/MA IPS program prepares Stanford graduates to function as sophisticated users and commissioners of policy analysis in their careers as lawyers or policy makers. The objective of the program is to provide students who will practice law in the public sector as government officials, as lawyers working for nongovernmental organizations in such fields as international human rights and international environmental law, or in the private sector representing clients in transnational domains particularly sensitive to matters of public policy. Graduates of the JD/IPS program will be well prepared for either legal or policy positions in federal executive branch agencies with international responsibilities, in the Congress, with international organizations, with nongovernmental organizations active on international issues, with law firms with a substantial transnational practice, or with multinational corporations in policy-sensitive sectors.

How to apply

Prospective students interested in the joint JD/MA IPS program may apply concurrently to both the Stanford Law School and the Ford Dorsey Program in International Policy Studies. This means that two separate application forms are required and applicants must submit LSAT scores to the Law School and GRE scores to the IPS program.

Students already enrolled in the Law School may apply to the joint JD/MA IPS program no later than by the end of the second year of Law School. (Note that students who do not apply by the IPS application deadline during their first year of Law School may not be able to fulfill the requirements for the joint degree in four years.) The IPS program will make rolling admissions decisions based on the student’s original application materials (GRE scores are not required in addition to LSAT scores) and any subsequent performance at Stanford. Submission of the following documents is required for consideration:

  • IPS Joint Degree Application Form (pdf)
  • Law School Joint Degree Petition (available from the Law School Registrar’s Office)
  • Graduate Program Authorization Petition (available from the H&S Registrar’s Office)
  • Enrollment Agreement for Students with Multiple Programs (available from the H&S Registrar’s Office)

Stanford Law School affiliated faculty

  • Allen S. Weiner, Senior Lecturer in Law, Joint JD/IPS Program Law School liaison (International Negotiation and Conflict Management; International Security and Cooperation)
  • Margaret “Meg” Caldwell, Senior Lecturer in Law (Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources)
  • Joshua Cohen, Professor of Political Science, Philosophy and Law (Global Justice)
  • Henry T. “Hank” Greely, Deane F. and Kate Edelman Johnson Professor of Law (Global Health)
  • Erik Jensen, Lecturer in Law (Democracy, Development, and Rule of Law)
  • Helen Stacy, Senior Lecturer in Law (Democracy, Development, and Rule of Law)
  • Barton H. “Buzz” Thompson, Jr., Robert E. Paradise Professor of Natural Resources Law (Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources)