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Planning Your Upper Level Courses

This information is intended to offer some general advice to you as you are planning and selecting courses for your second and third years of law school. Many factors are relevant to your selection of upper level course work, including your interest in developing professional knowledge and skills regardless of whether you also specialize in a particular field of law, developing expertise in a specialized field, and passing a bar exam. In addition to considering the suggestions below, you should not hesitate to contact your faculty advisors or other members of the faculty for more personalized guidance.

Developing General Knowledge and Skills:

Consider the following courses because they are valuable in most any field of practice: Administrative Law, Basic Federal Income Taxation, Corporations, Evidence, Remedies, and Sales.

You should also consider courses that will enhance your professional skills. There are many such courses offered in our curriculum, including live-client clinics and classroom-based skills courses.

Developing Expertise in a Specialty Field:

Many students are interested in specializing in a particular field of law, and the law school offers opportunity to specialize in many different fields. When considering whether and how best to do so, we encourage you to seek advice from faculty members who have particular expertise in the specialty field of interest to you. Additionally, you should familiarize yourself with the course recommendations from our electives course list.

You may also want to consider graduate level course offerings available throughout the University, which might be relevant to your field. All Penn State Law students — not just those pursuing joint degrees — are permitted to apply up to 12 credits of graduate course work towards the Penn State Law degree.

Preparing for a Bar Exam:

While you will most likely take a bar prep course after graduation, preparing for the bar exam remains an important factor in selecting courses for every student. However, its importance varies from student to student. While no particular characteristic can determine a student's success on a bar exam, experience suggests that a student with a cumulative rank in the bottom 35% of the class, and/or an LSAT score of 154 or lower, is at greater risk of failing a bar exam than are other students.

Consequently, students with one or more of these characteristics are advised to seriously consider enrolling in electives covering subject matters that will be tested on the bar exams they intend to take after graduation.

For the national and state components of bar exams, visit, which includes information on multi-state testing as well as links to states' bar examination websites.

Visit for information on the Pennsylvania Bar Exam.

Additional Bar Exam Information and Bar Review Courses