Graduate Degrees in Judicial Studies

The Judicial Studies Graduate Degree program is a joint enterprise of The National Judicial College, the University of Nevada, Reno Judicial Studies Graduate Degree Program and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges

Judicial Studies Master’s and Doctorate Degrees

Graduate study in judicial matters has long been pursued by supreme court justices, family court judges, court administrators and others interested in the court system.

The National Judicial College offers three concentration options for advanced judicial degree programs:

  • M.S. in Judicial Studies
  • Ph.D. in Judicial Studies
  • MJM in Justice Management

Judicial Studies Degree courses qualify for credits toward the Master’s of Judicial Studies Degree Program and Judicial Studies Doctoral Program at the University of Nevada, Reno upon successful completion of the course and passing the course exam.

Graduate study in judicial matters has long been pursued by supreme court justices, family court judges, court administrators and others interested in the court system.

Many NJC courses qualify for credit toward the Master’s of Judicial Studies Judicial Studies Doctorate upon successful completion of the course and passing the course exam. Check out our current judicial education offerings to find courses that apply. Applicable courses have a “JS” next to the course title.

Justice Management Master’s Degree

This program provides an academic foundation for those seeking education or advancement in the varied fields associated with the administration of justice.

It is supported by the National Juvenile Court Services Association, the National Center for State Courts’ Institute of Court Management, the American Probation and Parole Association, the American Correctional Association and the Child Welfare League of America.

Admissions into Judicial Degree Programs

Admission is limited to graduates of ABA-accredited law schools who are serving full-time on the bench at the time of application. Upon acceptance, judges may continue to participate in the program if they retire or are not re-elected. Exceptions may be made for full-time sitting judges who are graduates of recognized foreign law schools or graduates of non-accredited American law schools who have been admitted to the Bar and when it appears that the applicant is otherwise qualified and would, if accepted, contribute to the success of the program. Applications are accepted throughout the year.

The curriculum focuses on judges and their roles and contributions to American society, and on the improvement of services rendered by judges in a free society. The curriculum encourages students to become more proficient in the diagnosis and analysis of problems through the use of techniques developed by the social, behavioral and natural sciences, as well as by the humanities. Also, the curriculum requires the study and assimilation of research techniques used by professionals who testify in court. These same techniques will be used by students to study issues important to the advancement of the discipline of judicial studies.

Completion of Judicial Degree Coursework

A student must complete a total of 32 credits, which is comprised of 26 coursework credits and six thesis credits.

Judicial Degree Timeline

A student has up to six years to complete the master’s program, but it is designed so it can be completed in three to four years. To complete the program in three years, a student must be able to spend a total of at least 12 weeks on the UNR campus during two consecutive years for completion of the UNR requirements.

There is also time required for completion of NJC or NCJFCJ courses, depending upon course schedules and the qualifications of a candidate for retroactive credit. Please see the JS advisor listed below for “Retroactive Credit by Examination” eligibility.

Coursework for the Trial Court Judges major also requires completion of NJC resident-session courses, for a total of 14 credits. This includes the General Jurisdiction or the Special Court Jurisdiction: Advanced course and specified one-week courses, including Judicial Writing.

Flexible Schedule for Judicial Degree Courses

To accommodate the trial schedules of students, the program is designed to provide considerable flexibility as well as maximum use of time spent on campus. Students may take day courses from UNR, which are two weeks in length, the NJC or the NCJFCJ, which are typically one week in length, concurrently with the UNR four-week evening course.

Students should expect to spend non-classroom time reading or preparing for end-of-course examinations or projects, both before and after course attendance. The completion of the thesis requirement will be accomplished outside of classes. To receive course credit, students should expect to attend each course in its entirety and schedule travel plans accordingly.


Judicial Studies Degree Advisers

University of Nevada, Reno

Shawn C. Marsh, Ph.D., Director of Judicial Studies
(775) 682-7987

Heather Lara, Administrative Assistant

(775) 682-7982