Juris Doctor/Master of Marine Affairs

A Roger Williams University School of Law and University of Rhode Island Department of Marine Affairs Partnership

The Juris Doctor/Master of Marine Affairs builds upon the comprehensive base of marine law and policy courses offered at the School of Law and University of Rhode Island Department of Marine Affairs.

The program offers students an opportunity to broaden their understanding and analysis of complex marine issues without giving up the benefits of a traditional legal education.

Students have access to full-time and adjunct faculty members at the School of Law as well as faculty members at the University of Rhode Island (URI). URI boasts the nation's oldest Marine Affairs Program and a renowned School of Environment and Natural Resource Economics.

John Knauss, a member of the Stratton Commission, founded the Department of Marine Affairs at URI, the first program of its kind in the United States. Robert Ballard, a member on the current Ocean Commission, joined the URI Graduate School of Oceanography faculty in 2002.

With URI's rich history in marine sciences and policy, the Law School's partnership provides students with opportunities to broaden the scope of their legal education through the joint degree program and symposia and panels jointly sponsored by the two institutions.

Why consider a JD/MMA?

As our reliance on limited ocean resources grows, lawyers possessing the skills of interdisciplinary analysis will be well-served. The program offers opportunities to:

  • Gain exposure to different disciplines;
  • Expand your perspective on legal issues;
  • Acquire different analytical skills;
  • Develop relationships with colleagues from different disciplines; and,

Meet experts and acquire a foundation of knowledge in the marine field.Joint Degree students benefit from combining a substantial research project in the social sciences with traditional legal studies, development of research and writing skills, and a focus on marine law from the shipping industry and maritime commerce to the management of the coastal zone and preservation of living marine resources.

For More Information

Undertaking two degrees at one time is rewarding but challenging and should not be entered into lightly.

Students considering pursuing the joint JD/MMA degree should schedule an office appointment or phone call with one of the following individuals to determine the suitability of the program for his/her needs and make arrangements to apply for the joint degree program.

Roger Williams University Contact

Julia Wyman

University of Rhode Island Contact

Prof. Austin Becker

Close Course Type Descriptions

Course Types

We have classified RWU Law classes under the following headers. One of the following course types will be attached to each course which will allow students to narrow down their search while looking for classes.

Core Course

Students in the first and second year are required to take classes covering the following aspects of the law—contracts, torts, property, criminal law, civil procedure, and constitutional law, evidence, and professional responsibility.  Along with these aspects, the core curriculum will develop legal reasoning skills.


After finishing the core curriculum the remaining coursework toward the degree is completed through upper level elective courses.  Students can choose courses that peak their interests or courses that go along with the track they are following.


Seminars are classes where teachers and small groups of students focus on a specific topic and the students complete a substantial research paper.


Inhouse Clinics and Clinical Externships legal education is law school training in which students participate in client representation under the supervision of a practicing attorney or law professor.  RWU Law's Clinical Programs offer unique and effective learning opportunities and the opportunity for practical experience while still in law school.