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The Harvard Law School (HLS) and the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) offer a joint degree program in law and government. The HLS/HKS joint degree program supports and encourages students seeking an interdisciplinary education in government, public policy, and law, and prepares them for leadership positions in public service.

The joint degree program permits students to pursue a JD at the Law School and either a Master in Public Policy (MPP) or a Master in Public Administration in International Development (MPA/ID) at the Kennedy School.

A committee made up of HLS and HKS faculty (“Faculty Committee”) oversees the joint degree program. The Faculty Committee is responsible for making decisions regarding the structure and requirements of the program and for working with the students enrolled in the program. The Faculty Committee may also grant exceptions to the requirements in this document, so long as they are not inconsistent with other HLS or HKS rules.


Prospective students must apply separately and be separately admitted to both the Law School and the Kennedy School schools, each of which will independently review and admit applicants. Questions relating to the admissions processes at each school should be addressed directly to the individual admissions offices.

Prospective JD/MPP or JD/MPA-ID students may apply to both schools during the same admissions season or they may apply during the first year of study at either the Law School or the Kennedy School (see below for exception to this policy). The HLS deadline is usually February 1 of each year (HKS application deadlines). All Law School applicants are required to submit LSAT scores, in accordance with application guidelines. For matriculated 1L students only, HKS will accept an LSAT score in lieu of the GRE for students interested in the JD/MPP joint degree program. Current HLS students applying to the MPP program should contact the HLS Registrar’s Office to request release of their LSAT scores to HKS. Students applying to the JD/MPA/ID joint degree program must submit GRE scores to HKS.

Once admitted to both schools, students who want to enroll in the joint degree program should send an email indicating their intent to do so to Debra Isaacson, HKS Director of the Master in Public Policy Program, and to Jessican L. Soban, HLS Assistant Dean and Chief Admissions Officer. In addition, students who apply to both schools and are admitted during the same admissions cycle should contact JD Admissions at HLS and the HKS Office of Admissions about deferring admission, as applicable.

Students may not transfer into the Kennedy School’s MPA2 or MC/MPA degree program once admitted to the joint degree program.

Structure of Coursework

Students in the HLS/HKS joint degree program have four academic years to complete both degrees. In the first two years of the program, students are generally required to enroll for one full year of study at the Law School and for one full year of study at the Kennedy School; either can come first. In the third and fourth years of the program, joint degree students are enrolled in, and take courses at, both schools. Both schools have their own requirements for these upper-level years, as described below.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Tuition and Fees

Enrollment in the joint degree program will result in significant tuition savings, compared to pursuing the two degrees separately. Tuition is paid as follows. During the first two years, students will pay full tuition at the school in which they are enrolled. During the third and fourth years, students will pay: (i) 75% of the then-current Law School tuition, and (ii) 25% of the then-current Kennedy School tuition.

Students entering HKS after their 2L year will pay tuition as follows: first and second year, then-current HLS tuition; third year, then-current HKS tuition; and fourth year, 25% then-current HKS tuition and 75% then-current HLS tuition.

Students in the joint degree program will be required to pay a $300 annual fee to the Law School during their upper-level years of combined study. The fees will be used to offset the costs of programming for joint degree students.

Financial Aid

Students interested in the joint degree program should contact the financial aid offices at both schools prior to enrolling.

Joint degree students should apply for financial aid through the Law School for the first year in the Law School and for the two upper-level years of combined study. All financial aid determinations for these semesters are made through Harvard Law School under its standard policies. Students should apply for financial aid through the Kennedy School for the first year in the Kennedy School.

Students enrolling at HKS after their 2L year should apply to HLS for financial aid for their first, second, and combined study year.

Academics and Administration


Students will not be permitted to enroll in HKS and HLS courses with time overlaps.


Students will be expected to complete all HLS and HKS exams at the times they are scheduled; exceptions are at the sole discretion of each school, in accordance with their respective policies.


Grades earned in HKS courses will not be included in HLS GPA calculations or in the consideration of grade-based HLS prizes. HKS does not calculate students’ GPA.


Students will remain on student e-mail lists at both schools for all four years of the joint degree program.


Each upper-level semester, students will be required to submit their course enrollment information and their completed course information to both the HLS and the HKS Registrars.


Once enrolled, a student intending to leave the joint degree program must petition the HLS Administrative Board and the HKS Registrar for permission to leave the program and complete only one of the two degrees.

Contact Information

Law School


617-495-3109 |

Student Financial Services Office

617-495-4606 |

Low Income Protection Plan

Program Information

Jessica L. Soban, Assistant Dean and Chief Admissions Officer

Kennedy School


617-495-1155 |

Student Financial Services Office

617-495-1152 |

Program Information

Debra Isaacson, HKS Director of the Master in Public Policy Program