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Degree Programs - JD, LLM, LLCM, SJD, ML

Juris Doctor (JD) Program Overview:

Penn Law has a full-time program leading to the JD, the first professional degree in Law. Applicants have completed their undergraduate degrees and, oftentimes, advanced degrees in a broad array of disciplines; many have work experience prior to attending law school. We also, on occasion, have admitted international students who hold a law degree from outside the United States but who want to earn a JD degree in the United States. We also accept a select group of Penn undergrads who submatriculate, combining their bachelors degrees and their JDs.

Students graduating with the JD will acquire:

  • The analytical and critical intellectual skills necessary to meet tomorrow’s challenges in an ever-changing world
  • A thorough understanding of the basic principles of the law
  • An appreciation of the value of contributing to society through pro bono legal service
  • The ability to research and convey ideas and legal arguments both cogently and coherently
  • An understanding of, and an appreciation for, legal ethics and the inherent responsibilities of becoming a member of the legal profession

The basic course of instruction covers three years (6 semesters) and requires full-time attendance at Penn Law (full-time employment while enrolled in the program is not permitted). Graduation depends upon the successful completion of all coursework and the fulfillment of the graduation requirements.

The First Year (1L)

Penn Law’s first-year curriculum is comprised of five semester-long required core courses and two spring-term electives, one from the regulatory/administrative law realm and the other from a general electives category.

Required First-Year Courses: CivilProcedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Legal Practice Skills, and Torts


  • Regulatory/Administrative Course Electives: In recognition that legal issues of import often involve our nation’s regulatory system, Penn Law offers a unique elective choice to 1Ls in this area. Students choose from courses in administrative law, environmental law, health law, legislation, and public international law.
  • General Electives: Students choose from a wide range of survey courses that are designed to highlight different viewpoints and areas of law for students’ examination and consideration. Examples include advanced contracts, introduction to intellectual property law & policy, introduction to jurisprudence, law and economics, law and society in Japan, legal responses to inequality, privacy, and property.
The Second and Third Years (2L & 3L)

Across the second and third years, course selection is entirely elective and students have a wide range – between 80 to 100 courses, seminars, clinics and externships per semester – from which to choose.

In addition, JD students can earn a joint/dual degree in one of our many cross-disciplinary programs.

Graduate Program Overview:

Our graduate students generally are international students who hold a law degree from outside the United States and who wish to become more familiar with aspects of American law and legal institutions. They are lawyers, bankers, judges, business professionals, and recent university graduates who add much to the Penn Law community. Graduate students take advanced classes with the JD students to further expand their legal expertise. Graduate degrees can be earned in the LLM (Master of Laws), the LLCM (Master of Comparative Laws), the SJD (Doctor of Juridical Science), and the ML (Master in Law). For more information, visit the Graduate Admissions link below.

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