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Criminal Law

We offer an outstanding program in criminal law, providing a solid foundation for a career in criminal law practice, policy development, or in academia. Penn Law is home to some of the country’s leading criminal law scholars, who bring both deep expertise and multi-disciplinary perspectives to the study of criminal law.

Students can enroll in a broad range of courses in criminal law, from the foundational first-year course, to upper level courses in criminal procedure, to specialized seminars in penal code reform, white-collar crime, federal criminal law, the death penalty and more.


New Book: Intuitions of Justice and the Utility of Desert

In Intuitions of Justice and the Utility of Desert, Professor Paul H. Robinson demonstrates that criminal law rules that deviate from public conceptions of justice and desert can seriously undermine the American criminal justice system’s integrity and credibility by failing to recognize or meet the needs of the communities it serves. He warns that compromising the American criminal justice system to satisfy other interests can uncover the hidden costs incurred when a community’s notions about justice are not reflected in its criminal laws.

More on Criminal Law faculty and research.

Sample Penn Law Courses 

  • Computer Crime Law
  • Criminal Defense Clinic
  • Juvenile Justice Seminar
  • Mental Health Law
  • White Collar Crime and Capital Markets

More Courses at Penn

Take up to four classes throughout the University as part of your JD. Courses recently taken by Penn Law students include:

  • Evidence-Based Sentencing (Department of Criminology)

Clinics & Externships

Joint & Dual Degrees

Institutes & Centers

Student Groups

Toll Public Interest Center

Serve at one or more of the Toll Public Interest Center’s 30-plus criminal law-related placements; and join other students on projects to advance the cause of criminal justice.