Juris Doctor (JD)
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 all JD degree requirements.
In addition, JD students can earn a joint/dual degree in one of our many cross-disciplinary programs.
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.