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Law Courses for Penn Students and Staff

Current University Students and Staff - take a class at Penn Law!

Penn Law welcomes students enrolled in professional and graduate programs at Penn, upper-class undergraduates, and staff to take a class at the Law School. We appreciate the voices of those with varied backgrounds in the law school classroom. Whether you are interested in exploring the future possibility of law school or in complementing your career or studies in another discipline, we are certain you will find Penn Law courses and programs of study that interest you and meet your needs.

Students in any of Penn’s graduate or professional schools who wish to incorporate a legal perspective into their programs of study are invited to pursue a Certificate in the Study of Law 

Introductory Law Courses

Introductory Law courses are specifically designed to offer background and expertise to students and staff who are not pursuing a law degree (JD, LLM, LLCM, SJD). All Certificate and Master in Law degree students must take Introduction to US Law and Legal Methods, offered each semester.  Master in Law students must take three additional foundational courses. 

To enroll in a course, follow the instructions below under How To Request Enrollment in a Penn Law Course. 

Course descriptions are linked below and are available on the Law School’s Course Finder.  Summer 2015 courses are not yet available on the Course Finder; they will be available in late spring.

Summer 2015 - Session 11:

Introduction to US Law and Legal Methods LAW 511301 (1CU)
T, Th 5:30-8:30 pm (Grogan)
Now more than ever a basic understanding of U.S. legal principals is indispensable across a wide array professional and academic landscapes. This survey course introduces non-law students to all aspects of U.S. law through a combination of case law and the Socratic method, both techniques unique to legal education. This methodology stimulates critical thinking and can be valuable whether you decide to enter law school or not.  The course explores the structure of government and the constitutional foundations of the U.S. legal system and covers a wide range of topics in the areas of civil, criminal, and administrative law.  The course will incorporate recent cases of note into the curriculum and provide an overview of legal issues which impact professionals in a variety of fields, including but not limited to law.  To register, complete the LAW 511 Registration Form

Fall 2015:

Introduction to US Law and Legal Methods LAW 511301 (1CU)
Th 2:00 - 4:45 (Soven)

Now more than ever a basic understanding of U.S. legal principals is indispensable across a wide array of professional and academic landscapes. This survey course introduces non-law students to all aspects of U.S. law through a combination of case law and the Socratic method, both techniques unique to legal education.  This methodology stimulates critical thinking and can be valuable whether you decide to enter law school or not.  The course explores the structure of government and the constitutional foundations of the U.S. legal system and covers a wide range of topics in the areas of civil, criminal, and administrative law.  The course will incorporate recent cases of note into the curriculum and provide an overview of legal issues which impact professionals in a variety of fields, including but not limited to law. 

Introduction to Law and Technology LAW 506301 (1 CU)
M,W 5:30-6:50 (Vagle)

The growing importance of technology in business and industry and the corresponding increase in the scope of regulation in this area are creating greater synergies between law and technology.  Gone are the days when each discipline could exist in its own sphere.  Technology professionals are learning that they need a better understanding of the legal considerations affecting their work.  This course will introduce the key legal principles that technology professionals need to know, presenting them from the bottom-up the way a practicing technologist would experience them.  Major topics will include the impact of potential liability on product design, differences when life-critical systems are involved, proper and improper uses of intellectual property, privacy regulation, permissible constraints imposed by nondisclosure agreements and employment relationships, and the entrepreneurship-related aspects of technology law.

Introduction to Health Law & Policy LAW 530301  (1CU)
Th 5:30-8:15 (Hernandez)

This survey course is intended to cover most current, controversial topics in healthcare law, albeit at a superficial, introductory level. Unlike similar courses taught at J.D. programs, this Master in Law course is organized by type of medical practice; i.e., clinical, research, and public health. In this way, the course’s main focus is how the law affects the everyday practice of medicine. By the end of this course, students will be able to identify the different actors in our healthcare system, such as doctors, patients, regulators, payors, etc., what their particular interests are within the healthcare system, and how these interests will sometimes converge and sometimes dramatically clash.

Spring 2016 (tentative):

Introduction to General Business Law LAW 528301 (1CU)
T 5:30-8:15 (Sangha)

Understanding and resolving legal issues is critical for all businesses. Using a combination of case analysis, Socratic method and real world insight from guest lecturers, this survey course introduces non-law students to various topics in US business and corporate law.This course begins by examining the law surrounding contracts, which are the building blocks of any business transaction, covering contract formation, key clauses, enforceability and dispute resolution. The course will then transition to a discussion of various aspects of business organizations, focusing primarily on corporations and partnerships by exploring their particular advantages and disadvantages. With this foundation in place, the course shifts to an examination of the life cycle of a company and the particular legal issues at play in each stage of its existence. In particular, the course will cover the company’s formation and seed financing through its growth via the public markets and M&A to reorganization and insolvency.  By the end of this course students will have gained a better understanding of many of the legal issues that come into play when making business decisions.

Navigating the Regulatory State: Law, Science and Policy LAW 529301 (1CU)
Th 5:30-8:15 (Finkel)

This course will equip students to navigate in the regulatory state in a system where science, policy, and law interact over some of society’s most complex problems. Products and technologies must increasingly cope with a vast array of regulations promulgated by administrative agencies.  Governmental regulatory power is fraught with controversy; some regard it as intrusive while to others say regulations are the indispensable “wise restraints that make us free.”  This course will equip students to understand how legal, policy, institutional, and analytic considerations inform the design, scope, stringency, and transparency of regulations.  This class will not simply cover administrative law per se, but rather will emphasize how regulatory agencies—particularly FDA, EPA, and OSHA—try to exercise discretion found in authorizing legislation to reduce risks efficiently and with an eye on important distributional concerns. Major themes in the course will include: (1) how the regulatory state is structured (issues of jurisdiction and pre-emption); (2) how agencies set their agendas, make rules, analyze costs and benefits, and involve experts and the public in the regulatory process; (3) how OMB, Congress, and the courts exercise control over the outputs of regulatory agencies; (4) how agencies enforce their regulatory mandates “on the ground”; and (5) how different regulatory designs attempt to balance the often-conflicting goals of efficiency, equity, simplicity, and flexibility.  Students will read and discuss various landmark Supreme Court cases affecting regulatory outcomes, including FDA v. Brown and Williamson Tobacco Corp., Massachusetts v. EPA, and AFL-CIO v. American Petroleum Institute (an OSHA case), along with legal and scientific articles on regulation.

Upper-Level JD Courses

Penn graduate and upper-class undergraduate students can request enrollment in JD courses (first-year courses are for JD students only) on a space available basis. You can review course offerings and course descriptions on the Course Finder.

How to Request Enrollment in Penn Law Course

  • If you have previously taken a class at Penn, submit a Request to Take a Law Course Form.
  • If this is your first class at Penn, please complete the New Student Request to Take a Law Course Form.
  • Course enrollment may, in some cases, require the permission of the Penn Law faculty member. If so, you will be notified as to how to follow up once you submit your request.
  • Students should consult with their departmental advisor about acceptance of Penn Law credits.
  • Enrollment will be based on a space available basis with priority given to degree candidates in the Master in Law program.

More About Our Programs:

  • Penn Law is conveniently located at 3501 Sansom Street between 34th and 36th Streets, a short walk from all University departments.
  • Currently, Penn Law’s upper-level curriculum is based on a semester hour system, where 3 semester hours are equivalent to 1 CU.
  • For a closer look at Penn Law’s many other education programs, including Continuing Legal Education for practicing attorneys, see our section on Legal Education Programs.

Contact the Registrar’s Office to inquire about taking a Law class: 
215.746.7822 / sragins@law.upenn.edu