A partnership between Jacksonville University and Florida Coastal School of Law has produced what both institutions claim is the first dual degree program of its kind in Florida.
Florida Coastal Dean Peter Goplerud and JU President Kerry Romesburg met Wednesday to sign agreements to allow students from both schools to simultaneously obtain a master of public policy degree and a juris doctor.
Students can earn the degrees in four years rather than five years, the timeframe if pursued separately.
"A very strong, comfortable relationship with Jacksonville University allowed us to get this program going quite quickly," said Goplerud.
Enrollment for the dual degree program will open in August.
Applicants will be required to meet entrance requirements for JU's Public Policy Institute and Florida Coastal and be accepted into both. To be accepted to Florida Coastal, students must take the LSAT exam, which will be recognized by JU for acceptance to the program.
Students will pay tuition to Florida Coastal for the credits taken at the law school to earn the juris doctor and will pay JU for the master degree courses. The Public Policy Institute will recognize 12 credits of juris doctor coursework toward the master's degree and Coastal will recognize 12 credits of master's degree coursework toward the juris doctor. Total coursework will consist of 114 credit hours — 36 from the master's program and 78 from the juris doctor program.
Students will complete the entire first-year curriculum in either the JU or Florida Coastal 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 that can be obtained through a JU internship, a qualifying clerkship or qualifying work or professional experience. Courses taken in the juris doctor program must include administrative law and statutory interpretation and legislative process, both of which provide a framework for policymaking according to JU and Florida Coastal.