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Certificates of Study

Over 50% of Penn Law students who graduated in 2014 pursued a Certificate of Study that will propel them along varied career paths.

Penn Law’s partnerships with its world-class sister schools at the University of Pennsylvania offer opportunities for matriculating students to simultaneously gain skills and knowledge in complementary fields. 

Penn Law students can earn a certificate of study in one of several disciplines as part of their three-year JD degree. Typically, these programs require three or four courses in the granting department and one or two courses from a relevant topic area at the Law School. 

Note: Penn Law allows students to take up to four pre-approved graduate level classes (12 credits) within the University. While Penn Law subsidizes the cost of the certificate with significant payments to partner schools for up to four outside courses, the certificate candidate is responsible for an administrative fee set annually with tuition.

How to Enroll

All law students must fill out a Certificate of Study Application and submit it online. Some partner schools/programs may also require their own short application.

There are no admissions requirements for Certificates of Study; all students who successfully complete the requirements are granted the certificate.

You may wish to meet with an advisor to plan out your program. Amanda Aronoff, Associate Director of Cross-Disciplinary Programs and Dimitri Islam, Associate Director for Student Development are available to help identify appropriate cross-disciplinary opportunities and assist with the enrollment process.

Certificates Offered

The Wharton School

School of Social Policy & Practice

Institute for Environmental Studies

Women’s Studies Program at the School of Arts & Sciences

Fels Institute of Government

Center for Neuroscience and Society

International Studies at the School of Arts & Sciences

Ad hoc Certificates

LLM Program: Wharton Business and Law Certificate

JD Certificate of Study Partner Schools and Programs:

The Wharton School

Certificate in Management

The Wharton Certificate in Management (WCM) is designed to increase the business skills and leadership capabilities of upper-level law students who aspire to lead key parts of a business, non-profit, agency, or firm and form the pool of future top leadership of any organization.

Participants will advance their strategic decision-making capabilities; deepen understanding of organizational dynamics; build capabilities for leading teams across functions; and develop knowledge in core areas of running an enterprise, including marketing, management, strategy and finance, particularly the understanding of how financial data is generated and reported. The focus will be on how these core areas connect to other disciplines based on current research and best practice. The WCM was designed by Wharton’s Aresty Institute of Executive Education, in conjunction with Penn Law. 

Requirements: The WCM will be awarded upon successful completion of LAW550001 - Wharton Ex Ed: Management, a 3-semester-hour course offered by Wharton. This 3 credit course counts as 2 of the 4 outside courses that Penn Law allows its students to take.

This certificate is not recommended for students who have undergraduate degrees and/or prior work experience in business or finance. It was developed to expose law students with minimal background and/or experience to these areas.

Certificate in Business Economics and Public Policy

The Certificate of Study in Business Economics and Public Policy (BEPP) will be granted by the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania to Penn Law students who successfully complete its requirements. The BEPP Department reserves seats in its courses for Penn Law students each term. Seats are filled via a special lottery conducted by the Law School Registrar.

Requirements: Students must complete two credit units at Wharton in the Business Economics and Public Policy department, a one credit unit Wharton elective, and one approved Penn Law course, most often fulfilled through the first-year regulatory elective. Only one course at Wharton may be taken pass/fail. Learn more about this certificate.

School of Social Policy & Practice

Certificate of Study in Nonprofit Leadership

This certificate is for Penn Law students interested in non-profit careers and leadership. It is a five-course program focusing on leadership, cross-sector collaboration, organizational structures, and social movements. As part of the Certificate program, students may earn a Leading Social Change Fellowship.

Requirements: The certificate requires a total of five courses – three courses taken in the School of Social Policy & Practice’s Non-Profit Leadership Program and two at Penn Law.

Institute for Environmental Studies

Certificate of Study in Environmental Policy

This certificate will be granted by the Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Pennsylvania to Penn Law students who successfully complete its requirements.

Requirements: To qualify for the certificate, a student must successfully complete five courses - two courses in Environmental Law or Policy from a list approved annually by Penn Law staff; and three courses in Environmental Policy from a list approved annually by staff in the IES Program.

Certificate of Study in Environmental Science

This certificate will be granted by the Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Pennsylvania to Penn Law students who successfully complete its requirements.

Requirements: To qualify for the certificate, a student must successfully complete five courses - two courses in Environmental Law or Policy from a list approved annually by Penn Law staff; and three courses in Environmental Science from a list approved annually by staff in the IES Program.

Fels Institute of Government

Certificate in Nonprofit Administration

The Nonprofit Administration Certificate offers current and aspiring nonprofit leaders a practical education to running a successful organization. The certificate has a broad-based curriculum and covers the fundamental competencies of nonprofit management. Upon completing the certificate, students will be prepared to work in a wide range of nonprofits ranging from the arts to social service agencies to educational organizations.

Requirements: To qualify for this certificate, a student must successfully complete four courses at Fels: two core courses (Leading Nonprofit Organizations and Financial Management of Public and Nonprofit Organizations) plus two electives from an established list. Learn more about this certificate from Fels.

Certificate in Politics

The Politics Certificate offers current and aspiring leaders a practical education to working in the political realm. The certificate has a broad-based curriculum and covers the fundamental competencies of political management. Upon completing the certificate, students will be prepared to work in a wide range of spheres ranging from political consulting to elected office to politically-based governmental positions.

Requirements: To qualify for this certificate, a student must successfully complete four courses at Fels: one core course (The Art of Politics) plus three electives from an established list. Learn more about this certificate from Fels.

Women’s Studies Program at the School of Arts & Sciences

Graduate Certificate in Gender & Sexuality Studies

The Graduate Certificate in Gender & Sexuality Studies provides students the opportunity to think in an integrated fashion about gender and sexuality and learn from a variety of methodological approaches such as critical feminist, race, and legal theory, cultural studies, and French psychoanalytic theory, as well as traditional disciplinary methodologies.

Requirements: To qualify for this certificate, a student must take four courses approved by the Women’s Studies department - one feminist theory course plus three electives on issues related to women, gender, and/or sexuality which can be taken at Penn Law. There is a paper required for the Graduate Certificate; a student may be able to fulfill this requirement with a paper written for another course, or may need to expand upon an existing paper.

Center for Neuroscience and Society

SCAN Neuroscience Certificate

The Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience (SCAN) certificate will enable graduate and professional students preparing for a wide range of careers to work knowledgeably with neuroscience. The program’s aim is to enable graduate and professional students to incorporate the concepts and methods of neuroscience into their work. This program is ideal for law students interested in the many ways in which neuroscience relates to law, including the brain basis of self-control and anti-social behavior, drug policy, mental health parity, and the use of brain imaging evidence concerning competence, responsibility and truthfulness.

Requirements: SCAN is a 4-course program. SCAN students take two required courses (please note that these courses are offered only in the fall)– PSYC 547: Foundations of Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience and PSYC 747: Special Topics in Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. SCAN students also take two electives from the following categories: approved advanced neuroscience courses, neuroscience and society courses, or bridging courses. Qualifying electives offered by the law school include: LAW 705: Mental Health Law and LAW 981: Neurolaw. For more information, please visit the Center for Neuroscience and Society online (applications are accepted on a rolling basis for law students).

International Studies at the School of Arts & Sciences

Graduate Certificate in Global Human Rights

The Graduate Certificate in Global Human Rights will give students working knowledge of the core international human rights documents, treaties and mechanisms. By taking a cross-disciplinary approach, students are challenged to look at similar topics or questions from difference approaches and given the opportunity to shape the certificate around their own specific interests within human rights. 

Requirements: To qualify for this certificate, law students must take a total of five graduate courses relating to international human rights. One of the five graduate level courses must be Human Rights (PSCI558) or International Human Rights (LAW759).  The remaining four courses should be selected from a list of approved offerings and students may petition for two of those four courses outside the preapproved courses list.   Learn more about this certificate.

Certificate of Study in Middle East and Islamic Studies

This certificate is awarded by the University of Pennsylvania’s Middle East Center (MEC) to Penn Law students looking to engage in contemporary research on the modern Middle East or to study the area’s ancient and medieval languages and civilizations. 

Requirements: To qualify for this certificate, students must successfully complete four courses in the general area of Middle East and Islamic Studies. Three of these courses are taken in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GAS) and must be primarily related to the study of Middle Eastern or Islamic societies. The fourth course is taken at Penn Law and will ordinarily include a component involving Islam or the Middle East, but with special permission of the Dean of Students may be in the area of International Law. Maximum of two of the courses may be language courses at the 500 level or above.

Certificate of Study in East Asian Studies

This certificate is awarded by the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for East Asian Studies (CEAS) to Penn Law students seeking to ground themselves in the political, cultural and historical issues of East Asia as a complement to their law degree.

Requirements: To qualify for this certificate, a student must take four courses in the general area of East Asian Studies. Three of these courses are taken in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GAS) and must be primarily related to the study of East Asian societies. The fourth course is taken at Penn Law and will ordinarily include a component involving East Asia, but with special permission of the Dean of Students may be in the area of International Law. Maximum of two of the courses may be language courses at the 500 level or above.

Certificate of Study in Latin American and Latino Studies

This certificate is awarded by the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Latin American and Latino Studies (LALS) to Penn Law students who wish to gain exposure in Latin America and Latino Studies in conjunction with their legal education. Students develop rich cross-cultural fluency in Latin American language(s) and culture and acquire specific knowledge about the history, social conditions, political challenges, and/or environmental issues affecting the region.

Requirements: To qualify for the certificate, a student must successfully complete five courses in the general area of Latin America and Latino Studies. Two of these are taken inside the Law School (one course must be Public International Law or International Business Transactions), and three courses are taken outside of the Law School.

Other Certificate Options

Other certificate programs may be available on an ad-hoc basis. If, in examining the University’s website, you see any other certificate program of interest to you, please contact us to see about its availability to Penn Law students. 

LLM Program: Wharton Business and Law Certificate

This program has been redesigned for the LLM class entering in the summer of 2012 and is offered in alliance with Wharton’s Aresty Institute of Executive Education. It is designed for lawyers who wish to acquire:

  • A strong grounding in business disciplines to better serve their clients, manage their practices, or expand their professional options beyond the practice of law.
  • A robust business vocabulary that enhances workplace communication and an understanding of business culture in the United States.
  • Enhanced skills for the sophisticated presentation of projects, ideas, or investment propositions to colleagues, clients and other professionals from the worlds of both law and business.
  • A better understanding of the core management concepts that will increase their capacity to develop or professionalize a practice, department, firm or business enterprise.

This is a custom designed program for Penn Law LLM students taught by Wharton faculty and  industry experts selected for their teaching skills, subject expertise and ability to offer applied concepts and examples to participants. All LLM students may participate in this program which runs concurrently with the LLM program. Those who successfully complete its requirements will earn a certificate awarded by The Wharton School’s Aresty Institute of Executive Education as well their LLM degree from Penn Law. Wharton courses are held in the evenings in state-of-the-art teaching facilities at the Steinberg Conference Center on the University of Pennsylvania campus in Philadelphia.

WBLC students choose three courses from among several areas of study, including accounting, corporate finance, human resource management, responsible business practices, and general management. This certificate program has been designed by the Wharton School’s Aresty Institute of Executive Education exclusively for mid-career professionals seeking to gain business expertise. This program should not be confused with an MBA program and does not include MBA students.