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Penn Law has a full-time program leading to the Juris Doctor (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.
Penn Law's academic program is unique. Students engage their rigorous legal studies with one of the nation's most outstanding law school faculties, and at the same time have the opportunity to enrich this study with cross-disciplinary work at one of the world's preeminent research Universities. Many courses are open to Penn non-law students.
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 Penn Law's cross-disciplinary programs.
There is no pre-law educational requirement or even a specific recommended course of study for admission to Penn Law. Strength of character, breadth of knowledge, and intellectual maturity constitute the base upon which our legal education builds. As such, Penn Law seeks to enroll individuals who have demonstrated outstanding academic success, who are intellectually curious, and who possess superior writing, oral communication, and analytical skills. Importantly, we also seek individuals who will positively contribute to the Penn Law community, and ultimately, to the legal profession, based on their diverse backgrounds, their personal and professional experiences, and any challenges or obstacles that they may have overcome.
The Admissions Committee considers numerous factors in the admissions process, including the student's academic record, course selection and grade trends, the LSAT score, letters of recommendation, leadership, community service, extracurricular activities, professional and life experiences, and the applicant's examples of written expression (LSAT writing sample, personal statement, and optional essays). Importantly, the Admissions Committee bases its decision on all material submitted on behalf of each candidate. Though an applicant's academic record and LSAT score are significant factors in the review process, they are not the sole factors. We do not have numerical "cut-offs" in the application process nor do we employ the use of an admissions index.
It is the policy of Penn Law, insofar as possible, to assist deserving students with their legal education by reducing the burden of financial pressures. Financial assistance is available to qualifying applicants in the form of need-based aid (grants), merit scholarships, public interest scholarships, the Toll Public Interest
Loan Repayment Assistance Program, and federal and private student loans. Admission decisions at Penn Law are made without regard to an applicant's financial need. Therefore, financial aid applications are reviewed only after a student has been admitted.
If you wish to apply for need-based aid you must complete the FAFSA and the Need Access financial aid application. In addition, if you are under the age of 30, they require parental and spousal (if applicable) information when determining eligibility for need based aid. If you are only applying for loans, you may complete the FAFSA without parental information. It is recommended that your FAFSA form be submitted as soon as possible after January 1.
Penn Law awards merit scholarships to a select number of students based primarily on their academic achievements and intellectual ambition, but also based on nonacademic factors such as leadership, service, and professional or life experiences. All applicants who are admitted to the Law School are considered for the merit scholarships.
International students may apply for need-based aid (grants) and loans from private student loan companies. Most programs will require a creditworthy co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. U.S federal student loans are not available to international students.
International students admitted to Penn will also be considered for the merit scholarships. International students are eligible to participate in the Toll Loan Assistance Repayment Program (TollRap).