Vermont Law School and The University of South Dakota School of Law offer a Dual Degree Program that enables qualified students to earn two degrees in three years: a JD from South Dakota and a Master of Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School. Financial aid is available for this program through Vermont Law School. Students must pay applicable student tuition and fees for these courses.

University of South Dakota first-year law students initially seek approval to participate in the Dual Degree Program from The Dean’s Office. Approved students then apply to Vermont Law School for the MELP part of the Dual Degree early in the spring semester of their first-year of law school. If accepted, they register for courses later in the semester. Dual Degree students attend the nine week Summer Session at Vermont Law School between their first and second years of law school.

Students may also complete an approved internship at an organization or law firm involved with environmental work. Vermont Law School will work with South Dakota to arrange for and supervise an appropriate internship. Dual Degree students share the remaining credits required for their JD degree with the MELP degree, thus reducing the overall MELP 30 credit requirement.

The Vermont Law School will generally accept nine credits of qualifying environmental law related law credits from USD Law toward the MELP 30 credit requirement.

Environmental Law Related Courses at USD Law:

  • Environmental Law
  • Water Law
  • Energy Law
  • Natural Resource Law
  • Administrative Law
  • Advanced Legal Writing in Natural Resources Law

More Information About Joint Degree Programs

Students interested in a Dual Master's program may contact Nicholas McInerney (Nicholas.McInerney@usd.edu) in the Office of Law Admissions at 605-677-3658.