Dual JD/MA in Preservation Studies

This interdisciplinary program involving both the School of Law (LAW) and the American & New England Studies Program in the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences (GRS) allows a student to graduate in seven semesters with both a law degree (Juris Doctor) and a master’s degree in Preservation Studies. Normally, three semesters (rather than one additional) would be required to complete the MA.

Program Requirements

To earn the JD/MA, law students take law and preservation courses during the second and third years in law school and four additional preservation courses after completing the JD. Students may complete these additional four courses in one additional semester, for a total of seven semesters, but they may also attend GRS on a part-time basis.

Students must take two LAW courses:

  • JD 855 Land Use or JD 914 Real Estate Finance and Tax
  • JD 891 Seminar in Historic Preservation (usually offered every other year)

Suggested relevant law courses include:

  • JD 801 Administrative Law
  • JD 833 Environmental Law
  • JD 855 Land Use
  • JD 889 Introduction to Federal Income Taxation
  • JD 961 Housing Law

Other requirements for the MA include:

  • Required Preservation Studies courses:
    • CAS AM 546 Places of Memory
    • GRS AM 759 Financing Historic Preservation Development
    • GRS AM 754 Planning and Preservation
  • One course in architectural history
  • A final preservation project, which may be a master’s thesis, a master’s project, or a group project in AM 755 Preservation Planning Colloquium
  • Three preservation electives, from those listed in the GRS Bulletin and the American & New England Studies Program website (such as: AM 750 Neighborhood Conservation; AM 780 Problems in Historic Preservation; AM 901/902 Directed Study; or courses in Archaeology, Art History, or Urban Affairs in Metropolitan College)
  • A three-month paid Preservation Studies Internship taken in the summer after the second year of law school. Internships have been arranged in prior years with organizations such as Historic New England and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, as well as with agencies and firms with an interest in historic preservation. (Note: Persons with extensive preservation experience may be exempted from this internship requirement by the Director of the Preservation Studies Program.)

After the first year of law school, students ordinarily may apply toward the JD up to 3 credits per semester (12 credits total) of graduate-level work taken at GRS. JD/MA students therefore may take four of their required GRS courses while in law school.

Note: Rules governing accreditation of law schools require that the School of Law grant credit according to the number of hours a course meets per week. GRS preservation courses meet three hours per week, and GRS grants 4 credits for those courses. However, the School of Law ordinarily can apply toward the JD only 3 credits for such courses. Check with the School of Law to be certain about course credits.

Sample Program

Year 1

First-year LAW program

Year 2

Each semester, three (or more) School of Law courses and one preservation course; including GRS AM 546 and JD 891 when available

Year 3

Each semester, three (or more) LAW courses and one preservation course; including JD 891 if not yet completed

End of Year 3: JD awarded

7th Semester (Year 4)

Four additional courses, including:

  • Three preservation courses
  • A final preservation project, which may be a master’s thesis, a master’s project, or a group project in AM 755 Preservation Planning Colloquium

End of 7th Semester (Year 4): MA awarded

Application Requirements

Students first must apply to, and be accepted by, the School of Law. For application procedures for the School of Law, please consult the School of Law website.

Once students are accepted to the School of Law, they then must submit a separate application to, and be accepted by, the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. Students normally apply to GRS during their first year of law school to begin the master’s degree program during their second year of law studies. Students may also apply to GRS to begin their master’s degree program in January of their second year of law studies; in that case, they would be behind by one master’s degree course, and may need to take more than four GRS courses after completing the JD. These students must contact Associate Dean Christine Marx at the School of Law and Claire Dempsey at the Preservation Studies Program to plan their programs.

GRS requires:

  • LSAT score (in lieu of GRE)
  • Nonrefundable application fee
  • Personal statement
  • Two letters of recommendation (may use copies of law school recommendations)
  • Transcripts (may use copies of transcripts that were submitted to the School of Law)
  • The GRS application deadline is February 1 (for September admission)

Tuition & Financial Aid

During their three years of law school, students in the dual degree program pay only one tuition, even though they also are taking courses at GRS after their first year of law school. After graduation from law school, students pay tuition to GRS for the completion of their master’s degree requirements.

Students should not count on receiving financial aid from the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences for the period of time after they graduate from the School of Law and when they are completing their master’s degree requirements, since GRS’s small amount of aid is normally allotted to first-year graduate students.