Joint, Double, and Dual Degrees

A graduate student wishing to earn a joint or double degree must be admitted to each applicable program and receive special approval from the Graduate School. The student must complete each program’s requirements.

Credits often can count toward more than one program’s requirements. In this way, students in the Nelson Institute’s graduate programs have also earned master’s and doctoral degrees in fields such as soil science, geology, civil and environmental engineering, forestry and urban and regional planning.

It is also possible to combine a graduate degree from the Nelson Institute with a degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School.

If you have questions about joint, double, or dual degrees, contact Graduate Advisor Jim Miller at

Joint Degree

A joint degree consists of one graduate degree with two majors. You can earn a joint master’s or a joint doctorate. Joint degrees are relatively rare. See the Graduate School’s guidelines for joint degrees.

Double Degree

A double degree is two degrees from two separate graduate majors and can be earned at either the master’s or doctoral level. You may apply for an additional major at the time of original application or add a major at any time during your enrollment at UW-Madison. See the Graduate School’s guidelines for double degrees.

Dual Degree

Environmental challenges frequently involve legal issues whose resolution demands knowledge of law and the environment. The need for professionals with this blend of expertise is growing.

The Environmental Studies and Law Dual Degree Program enables UW-Madison students to pursue an MS or PhD from the Nelson Institute simultaneously with a JD from the University of Wisconsin Law School by counting some of the Law School’s courses and residence toward both degrees. See the Graduate School’s guidelines for dual degrees. See dual degree requirements and shared credits.

Any of the Nelson Institute’s graduate degrees may be combined with law for a dual degree.