Ellen Pader, Coordinator
Planning and Law (MRP and JD)
We offer a four-year combined degree in Law (JD) and Planning (MRP) in conjunction with the School of Law at Western New England University (WNEU) in Springfield (http://www1.law.wne.edu). The combined JD/MRP degree provides a professional education of greater depth and breadth than either program could do on its own whether your interest be the physical, environmental, social, cultural, economic, legal or political facets of planning and law.
Upon completion of the combined JD/MRP degree students will have:
- Two degrees in four years rather than the five years it would take to earn them independently
- Professional status in two fields
- A practice specialization
- A network of contacts in both law and planning
- Qualifications for employment in a wide variety of occupations in both public and private sectors
The combined degree program qualifies graduates for a variety of professional roles at the intersection of law and planning. These include, but are not limited to, municipal attorneys, staff personnel on legislative committees, economic development administrators, planning directors, consultant planners, advisors to private clients on land use matters, staff members of governmental agencies, public interest advocates, housing and real estate positions in non-profit and for-profit sectors, and executive assistants to mayors, governors and department heads.
Applicants must apply and be admitted separately by the School of Law and the Regional Planning Program prior to acceptance into the combined program. Admission requirements include satisfactory performance on the GRE for the Regional Planning Program and the LSAT for the Law School. Students either apply simultaneously to both programs or apply during their first year of law or planning study.
Duration and Residency
The combined JD/MRP enables students to earn both degrees in four years rather than the five years it would take if pursued separately. They take course work at the two institutions consecutively rather than concurrently.
Students spend their first year in either the Planning Program or the School of Law. The second year is usually spent in the program not chosen the first year. Thereafter, the student finishes the degree requirements by spending entire semesters at either institution to complete remaining credits. After the first two years the student has three additional semesters (with 12-16 course credits per semester) to complete at the School of Law and 12 semester credits to complete in Planning. Therefore, after two years, the student will have one semester’s work to complete in Planning and three semesters (1-1/2 years) to complete in Law.
Curriculum and Cross-Credits
The successful completion of the Combined Law and Planning Program requires the student to complete the core courses and mandatory academic requirements at each institution. To meet these requirements each institution grants credit for one semester’s academic work (what is now indicated as twelve course credits by both institutions) at the other institution. Thus for Planning’s 48 credit program, 36 credits are taken in the Regional Planning Program (including required courses and a Master’s thesis or project) with courses in the Law School constituting the remaining 12 credits (cross-credits) for the MRP degree; these 12 credits are effectively the elective class credits required for the planning curriculum. Of the Law School’s required 88 credits for the JD degree, 12 cross-credits are taken in the Regional Planning program. The JD program requires matriculation in its program prior to taking courses that will be accepted for cross-credit from the MRP program.