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

Juris Doctor (JD) Program Overview:

The University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School 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 University of Pennsylvania undergrads who submatriculate, combining their bachelors degrees and their JDs.

The Law School’s program of legal education, combining our rich, interdisciplinary curriculum, varied co-curricular activities, and pro bono responsibilities, prepares our students for admission to the bar and to serve as effective, ethical and responsible members of the legal profession.  Each student will be able to do the following:

  • Demonstrate a core knowledge and understanding of substantive and procedural law in a number of different subject areas; 
  • Engage in legal analysis and reasoning, conduct efficient and effective legal research, apply problem solving skills, and present findings, analyses, and recommendations efficiently and effectively in both written and oral communication; 
  • Work collaboratively;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of law and the contributions and benefits to legal analysis and problem solving that other disciplines can make;  
  • Exercise proper professional judgment and fulfill ethical responsibilities to clients, the profession, and society in general; and
  • Utilize a range of professional skills that facilitate active, competent and ethical participation in the legal profession.  

The basic course of instruction covers three years (6 semesters) and requires full-time attendance at the Law School (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)

The Law School’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: Civil Procedure, 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, the Law School 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.  

JD students can earn a joint/dual degree or certificate in one of our many cross-disciplinary programs.

Please review the JD degree requirements (linked to the left) and schedule a degree audit with Nicole Federico in the Registrar’s Office.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

All students must maintain satisfactory academic progress in order to advance in standing. The following students shall be referred to the Committee on Academic Standing by the Dean of Students: a) students who receive two or more grades of “F”, three or more grades of “C”, or one F and two C’s; b) students who fail to complete all first-year credits during the first year in residence; and c) students who have not devoted themselves fully to the study of law, as identified by their attendance at substantially less than all of their scheduled classes. Students with more than 6 credits outstanding at the conclusion of the academic year will not be able to advance in standing.

Students who receive three or more grades of B- or below and are not otherwise described above shall be referred to the Committee on Academic Standing by the Dean of Students unless the Dean of Students certifies that the student is in compliance with an academic supervision program established by the Director of Academic Support.

Additional students may be referred to the Committee on Academic Standing at the discretion of the Dean of Students. (Faculty Minutes, February 10, 2020).

View additional details on satisfactory academic progress.

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 Law School 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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