Although it is not necessary to begin both programs at the same time, students must be enrolled concurrently in both programs for at least part of their time at UW-Madison. Students must complete both their environmental studies and law degree programs to meet the dual degree requirements. The J.D. degree is not granted until the environmental studies degree is completed.
Environmental Studies Requirements
Students in any of the Nelson Institute’s graduate degree programs may participate in the dual degree program after being admitted to both the Law School and the environmental studies program. Each environmental studies program has stated satisfactory progress requirements to which dual degree students must adhere. These statements specify criteria for grade-point average, handling of incompletes, yearly progress reports, certification/evaluation procedures, and time limits for completing degrees. It is expected that students in the dual degree program will require more time to complete their curricula. Faculty committees are responsible for monitoring the timely completion of the dual degree program.
For information on double-counting credits, please see the shared credits page.
Law School Requirements
Law students must complete the course requirements for the first year in the same manner as other law students. Whether they are part-time or full-time, they may take only law courses until they meet these requirements. Students in the dual degree program are allowed to use 15 credits from their environmental studies degree toward their law curriculum provided the following conditions are met:
- the courses must be at the graduate level (300 or above)
- students must earn a grade of B or better in those courses
- the dean of the Law School must approve the courses
The 15 credits from environmental studies count as law electives. They will not satisfy subject area requirements that are required to attain the J.D. and graduate with the privilege of practicing law in Wisconsin without taking the Wisconsin State Bar examination. (Normally those pursuing only a law degree could use only 6 credits from outside the Law School.)
For environmental studies courses to count toward the law degree, they must:
- be earned within the two years before admission to the Law School
- be earned within six years before the J.D. degree is awarded
Law students must notify the Law School as early as possible of their intention to complete the dual degree program.
Faculty Advisory Committees
Students in environmental studies are required to have three UW-Madison tenure-track professors on their advisory committee for an M.S. degree and five for a Ph.D. Both environmental studies program faculty members and law faculty members must be represented on the committee of any student in the dual degree program.