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Concurrent Degree Program Description
University of Oregon School of Law & Oregon State University Water Resources Graduate Program
The concurrent degree program offers students the opportunity to receive a Juris Doctor and a Master of Science in one of the three degree programs of the Water Resources Graduate Program on a condensed time frame and enjoy the advantage of an interdisciplinary focus on water resources law, policy, and science. The Water Resources Graduate Program at Oregon State University awards M.S. and Ph.D. degrees and brings together faculty and students from six colleges and multiple departments. The program includes core requirements for all students with additional work concentrated in specific degree programs in Water Resources Engineering, Water Resources Science, or Water Resources Policy and Management. Students will draw from a set of existing OSU courses covering engineering approaches, watershed processes, and/or water resources management and policy.
The OSU Water Resources and University of Oregon JD/Masters Concurrent Degree is structured like the existing concurrent degree programs with the University of Oregon Environmental Sciences degree and the University of Oregon School of Law. Typically the first two years of the concurrent degree program are completed at the School of Law with students taking the standard first-year curriculum and elective courses in the second year. The third year is completed in residence at Oregon State University in the Water Resources Graduate Program. The fourth year is completed in residence at the School of Law.
The concurrent degree program allows students to receive two degrees in four years rather than the standard five. Up to 15 quarter hours (10 semester hours) of Water Resources coursework may be applied to the 85 semester hours required for the JD degree. The remaining 75 semester hours must be in law courses. Up to 15 quarter hours (10 semester hours) of approved coursework in water law, environmental and natural resources law at the law school may be applied to the 53 quarter hours required for the Masters degree in Water Resources Policy and Management, or the 45 quarter hours required for Science and Engineering. Please see below for the list of courses that have been approved to transfer for graduate credit. Thus, a total of up to 10 semester hours and 15 quarter hours may be waived, saving the student as much as a year of study over the time it would take to earn the JD and Masters degrees separately. The two degrees are distinct, with each school maintaining the academic probation, grading policies, and general requirements for its own degree program.
If a student fails to complete the Masters degree, only five semester hours of non-law coursework can be applied toward the JD degree. If a student fails to complete the JD degree, the entire program in Water Resources must be completed before the Masters degree can be awarded, although with the approval of the student’s graduate committee, up to 5 semester hours of approved law school coursework may be used as transfer credits for the Water Resources Graduate Program.
Students must apply separately to, and be admitted by, both the School of Law and the Water Resources Program. Each program will maintain its own application deadlines and requirements, but efforts will be made to coordinate admissions between the two programs.
Students apply for admission to both programs at the same time. Once admitted to the concurrent JD-MS program, they take a "planned" leave of absence for 12 terms. The leave of absence form and instructions can be found at:
The leave of absence relieves the students from the requirement for continuous enrollment upon admission to Graduate School at Oregon State University while they are enrolled at the University of Oregon School of Law. Students must consult with their advisors at both institutions to plan their program of study and schedule of coursework before the end of their second semester at the School of Law. With careful planning, students should be able to complete most or all of their coursework for the Master of Science degree at Oregon State University by the end of their third year. Depending on the background of the student and the nature of their research topic, some students may be able to begin the research for their MS thesis or project as early as the summer following their second year in the program. In the fourth year, students are expected to complete the final two semesters of coursework at the University of Oregon School of Law and to complete their MS research project paper or MS thesis.
List of University of Oregon School of Law courses approved for transfer to Oregon State University for Graduate Credit:
Administrative Law (Law 664)
Environmental Law (Law 610)
Environment and Pollution Law (Law 610)
Coastal Law (Law 610)
Ocean Law (Law 607)
Water Resources Law (Law 669)
Land Use Law (Law 668)
Human Rights and Environment Law (Law 693)
See our list of Frequently Asked Questions for more information.