In addition to the J.D., the law school offers the LL.M., S.J.D., and Master of Laws for foreign-trained lawyers. Students may take relevant courses in other programs and apply credit toward the J.D.; a maximum of 6 credits may be applied. The following joint degrees may be earned: J.D./M.A. (Juris Doctor/Master of Arts in educational theory and policy), J.D./M.Agr. (Juris Doctor/Master in Agriculture), J.D./M.B.A. (Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration), J.D./M.E.P.C. (Juris Doctor/Master of Environmental Pollution Control), J.D./M.Ed. (Juris Doctor/Master of Education in student affairs, educational leardership, higher education), J.D./M.P.A. (Juris Doctor/Master of Public Administration), J.D./M.S. (Juris Doctor/Master of Science in forest resources), J.D./M.S.I.S. (Juris Doctor/Master of Science in Information Systems), and J.D./Ph.D. (Juris Doctor/Doctor of Philosophy in educational leadership, higher education forest resourses, educational theory and policy).
The Dickinson School of Law offers concentrations in corporate law, criminal law, entertainment law, environmental law, family law, intellectual property law, international law, juvenile law, labor law, litigation, maritime law, media law, securities law, sports law, tax law, torts and insurance, and dispute resolution. In addition, in-house clinics include the Arts, Sports and Entertainment Law Clinic, Children’s Advocacy Clinic, and Disability Law Clinic. Students earn credit for no more than 3 semesters of clinic work and a maximum of 11 credits. A student cannot enroll in more than 1 clinic during a semester. Seminars, worth 2 to 3 credits, include the United Nations and International Law Seminar, Advanced Corporate Tax Seminar, and Advanced Evidence Seminar. Students can earn academic credit working without compensation in a government, nonprofit or public setting, similar to the field-placement clinic settings. Internships are typically taken in the summer for 3 credits. The law school offers a Washington, D.C. Semester Program through which students may spend the final semester of law school working for a government agency or nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C. Research programs (Independent Study) may be arranged with full-time faculty. A maximum of 4 credits may be earned during the student’s J.D. degree enrollment. A field placement clinic is a 3-credit course, normally taken for 2 semesters for a total of 6 credits, in which students have the opportunity to work and learn outside of the law school in a variety of field placements in public service, government law offices, and judges’ chambers. Special lecture series include the Penn State Institute for Sports Law, Policy and Research lecture series; the Polisher Tax lecture Series; the Senior Speakers Dinner; the Speakers Trust Fund; and the Faculty Development Series. Study abroad programs include the Florence, Rome and Siena Study Abroad Program (5 to 6 credits); the Capitals of Europe Program (6 credits); and the Montreal Summer Study Program in Arbitration in Montreal, Quebec (5 to 6 credits). A peer-to-peer tutoring program for first-year students is part of the law school’s effort to promote academic success. Tutors are second- and third-year law students who have demonstrated a high level of competence in the first year curriculum. In addition, faculty-conducted academic success workshops are offered throughout the year. Students may also receive one-on-one assistance from a writing specialist. The most widely taken electives are Corporations, Sales, and Trusts and Estates.
To earn the J.D., candidates must complete 88 total credits, of which 35 are for required courses. They must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0 in the required courses. The following first-year courses are required of all students: Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Legal Analysis, Research and Writing I and II, Property, and Torts. Required upper-level courses consist of Professional Responsibility and a sales or secured transations seminar. The required orientation program for first-year students lasts 2 1/2 days and is designed to introduce new students to the academic life of law school. Students receive instruction on how to read and brief cases and attend sessions on professionalism. There are several opportunities for students to meet and mingle with classmates, professors, and staff members.
In order to graduate, candidates must have a GPA of 2.0, have completed the upper-division writing requirement, and each student must successfully complete a seminar, and the Professional Responsibility course.