Jun 16, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Dual Degree: Doctor of Philosophy - Educational Psychology & Juris Doctor

Plan Description

The Educational Psychology Program in coordination with the UNLV Boyd School of law offers a dual JD/Ph.D. degree. The Educational Psychology Ph.D. is designed to provide advanced studies in educational psychology with specialty area emphases in educational assessment, program evaluation, research, and learning in school domains. This program will provide opportunities for students to become independent scholars who are able to make significant contributions to knowledge in specialized areas of educational psychology where both regional and national need for trained professionals has been identified.

The program focus is on the outcomes and processes that promote more effective learning in school based and related applications. Students will take core courses in: 1) research methods and statistics, 2) learning and cognition, and 3) advanced studies in a domain of school curriculum. All students will be actively involved in research and research-related activities throughout their program of study. The program will prepare students for a variety of professional careers related to teaching, research, and work in both academic and nonacademic settings. For example, students will be prepared to fill faculty, research, or assessment positions at academic institutions, such as universities, community colleges, and K-12 school districts.

Representative occupations include educational psychologist, program evaluator, educational assessment coordinator, and employee training specialist. 

For more information about your program, including your graduate program handbook and learning outcomes, please visit the Degree Directory.

Plan Admission Requirements

Application deadlines

Applications available on the UNLV Graduate College website.

Applicants to the J.D./Ph.D. program must submit formal applications for admission to both the William S. Boyd School of Law and to the Graduate College. Students must meet the requirements for admission to both programs. Admission requirements are the same as those stated under the regular J.D. and Educational Psychology Ph.D. programs. Current application deadlines are posted on the website.

A dual program candidate must complete the Graduate College, Law School and Educational Psychology Program admission processes in order to matriculate. Successful completion of the first year of law school is a precondition to commencement of work on the Ph.D. program and waives the Master’s Degree prerequisite for entry to the program. A law school student may be admitted to the dual program by gaining admission to the Educational Psychology Ph.D. program after successful completion of the first year of law school with the consent of both programs.

Under the terms and conditions of the program the Law School has agreed to accept 9 credits of course work from the Educational Psychology Program toward the J.D. degree. The Educational Psychology Ph.D. Program has agreed to accept 12 credits of course work from the Law School toward the Ph.D. degree.

Students interested in the Dual Degree Program should alert the Dual Degree Program Coordinator, Dr. Rebecca Nathanson, so that consultation on the admissions process can be initiated.

All domestic and international applicants must review and follow the Graduate College Admission and Registration Requirements.

Students are accepted into a degree program as described in the Graduate Catalog. The faculty and corresponding sub-disciplines and sub-plans within the described programs are subject to change at any time.

Plan Requirements

Total Credits Required: 135

Course Requirements

Total Credits Required for the Doctor of Philosophy – Educational Psychology: 55

Total Credits Required for the Juris Doctor: 80

Required Courses – Credits: 44

Directed Electives – Credits: 9

Free Electives – Credits: 27

Plan Degree Requirements

  1. Students must be admitted to both the J.D. and Ph.D. programs with graduate standing. The candidates must successfully complete the 80 credits of Law course work and 55 credits of the Ph.D. required course work.
  2. William S. Boyd School of Law cannot award credit for any class taken before matriculation. J.D./Ph.D. candidates are required to enroll at the Boyd School of Law and complete one year of study before taking any Ph.D. courses.
  3. Students in the J.D./Ph.D. program must remain in good standing in both J.D. and Ph.D. programs.
  4. Students must maintain a grade point average of 3.00 or better in the program and a grade of B or better in core course work.
  5. Of the 55 credits, 18 must be in coursework tailored for the area of focus in the strand.
  6. Of the 55 credits, 25 are in courses shared with other doctoral programs in the department.
  7. In consultation with their advisor, a student will organize a dissertation committee of at least three departmental members and one law school representative. In addition, a fifth member from outside the department, known as the Graduate College Representative, must be appointed. The Dual Degree Program Coordinator will sit on all dissertation committees. Please see Graduate College policy for committee appointment guidelines.
  8. Specific specialization courses in the assessment, program evaluation, research, and learning in school domains strands are determined by the student in consultation with their committee.
  9. In addition to the required specialization courses, each student, in consultation with advisor and doctoral committee, selects an individual emphasis area and determines the specific courses to be completed.
  10. Each student must satisfy a scholarly paper requirement by the time he or she has completed 36 credits (Review I). The student must be primarily responsible for carrying out and reporting a study under the supervision of a program faculty member. The requirement may be fulfilled in one of two ways. First, the study may involve the collection and analysis of some empirical data (for example, a pilot study) resulting in a scholarly paper that is submitted to either a professional journal or as a proposal to an annual conference of a national organization. Second, the paper may consist of a literature review that is submitted for publication in a quality, peer-reviewed journal or submitted for presentation at a national conference. Prior to beginning, projects must be approved by a supervising faculty member. Once completed, students must submit to the program coordinator(s): (a) a copy of the paper, (b) a submission acknowledgment, and (c) a completed Review I form from the supervising faculty member.
  11. Each student must take the preliminary examination (Review II). This second formal assessment, typically completed during the last semester of formal classwork, is an examination that will focus on areas of knowledge that are most relevant to the student’s proposed dissertation topic. The student and their committee will determine the content of this examination format in that it will focus on in-depth reading and writing directly related to the student’s proposed dissertation topic as well as on the student’s mastery of previously learned core information.
  12. After successfully completing Review I (i.e., satisfying the scholarly product requirement) and Review II (i.e., passing the preliminary examination), students can then submit a formal dissertation proposal to their doctoral committee and submit the accompanying “Dissertation Prospectus” form to the Graduate College. The doctoral committee will meet and determine whether to accept or reject the prospectus. A prospectus can be accepted provisionally given that the student follows the committee’s suggestions in the dissertation. Upon completion of the full dissertation, a defense will be scheduled. This defense will be scheduled and conducted in accordance with the Graduate College’s policies for thesis and dissertation completion. It is the student’s responsibility to file the required “Notification of Oral or Written Examination” form with the Graduate College in a timely manner.

Plan Graduation Requirements

Students cannot graduate from one portion of the dual degree until the requirements for both are met. Students must apply to graduate from both programs for the same semester.

The student must submit and successfully defend their dissertation by the posted deadline. The defense must be advertised and is open to the public.

After the dissertation defense, the student must electronically submit a properly formatted pdf copy of their dissertation to the Graduate College for format check. Once the dissertation format has been approved by the Graduate College, the student will submit the approved electronic version to ProQuest. Deadlines for dissertation defenses, format check submissions, and the final ProQuest submission can be found here

Students may apply for graduation up to two semesters prior to completing their degree requirements. All required forms must be submitted to the graduate college via the Grad Rebel Gateway.