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J.D./Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.)

with Penn State's Smeal College of Business

Penn State Law and the Smeal College of Business (Smeal) offer a joint degree leading to a Juris Doctor (J.D.) and a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.).

Admissions Requirements

Students must apply to Penn State Law and Smeal separately and must meet each school's admissions requirements. Students are eligible to start taking classes in the Smeal M.B.A. program after successfully completing the first-year curriculum with the law school.

College-specific Admissions Requirements

Penn State Law

Smeal: All applicants for the M.B.A. program must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution and are required to take the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT). They must also complete the online application (consisting of the application form, a professional résumé, work history, and three essays); provide two copies of their prior academic transcripts; submit two letters of recommendation, and pay a $65 nonrefundable application fee. Students currently enrolled at Penn State Law in the J.D. program may apply to the J.D./M.B.A. program during their first or second year of study by applying for admission to Smeal.

Application Process

Students must complete the following Penn State applications, along with any other requirements in the College-specific Admissions Requirements section above. These applications may be completed simultaneously.

Penn State Law Application for Admission

Graduate School Application

International Applicants

All international applicants whose first language is not English or who have not received baccalaureate or master's degrees from an institution in which the language of instruction is English must take the Test of English as a Second Language (TOEFL) and submit the results of that test with the application for admission. A TOEFL score of 550 on the paper test or a score of 213 on the computer-based test, or 80 points on the new Internet-based test with a minimum of 23 points on the new speaking portion; or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with a minimum composite score of 6.5 is required for admission.

College Liaisons

Penn State Law

Department and Faculty Liaison: The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs


Department Liaison: The Senior Associate Director of M.B.A. Admissions

Admissions Contact: Michael Waldhier, MBA Admissions Director, 220 Business Building, University Park, PA 16802; telephone (814) 863-5771; email:

Faculty Liaison: Lou Gattis, MBA Faculty Director, 220 Business Building, University Park, PA 16802; email:

College Prescribed Curriculum

The J.D. degree at Penn State Law requires a minimum of 88 credits and the Smeal M.B.A. degree requires a minimum of 60 credits. For students enrolled in the J.D./M.B.A. Program, Penn State Law accepts the transfer of twelve (12) Smeal credits which all come from Smeal's required core curriculum. Similarly, Smeal accepts the transfer of twelve (12) credits from the Penn State Law required core curriculum with the possibility of four (4) additional credits eligible for transfer from Penn State Law electives courses. Please contact the Smeal College liaison indicated above for the current list of Penn State Law electives that may be transferred to the Smeal M.B.A. Students must take a minimum of 76 credits from Penn State Law and 44 credits from Smeal in order to complete the J.D./M.B.A. program.

M.B.A. Required Courses J.D. Required Courses
Marketing 2 First-Year Curriculum 32
Management 2 Professional Responsibility 2
Team Process and Performance 1 Upper Level Writing Seminar  2-3
Ethical Leadership 2 Experiential Learning Credits                6
Negotiations Immersion 1    
Supply Chain & Operations Management 2    
Financial Accounting 2    
Risk and Decisions 2    
Leadership Communications 4    
Introduction to Managerial Accounting 2    
Information Technology 2    
Introduction to Finance 2    
Economics for Managers 2    
Global Perspectives 1    
Global Business Environment 1    
Strategies for Converging Economics 2    
Introduction to Statistics 2    
2nd Year Practicum Capstone 4    
International Immersion 2    
Career Immersion 0    
Service Immersion   0    
Degree credits from required courses 38 Degree credits from required courses 42-43
Transfer credits from J.D. Required Courses 12 Transfer credits from M.B.A. Required Courses 12
M.B.A. Electives (minimum) 6 J.D. Electives (minimum) 33-34
Additional M.B.A. Elective Credits or transfer credits from J.D. electives *     4 Minimum Required Credits 88
Minimum Required Credits  60    
* subject to revision

Pursuant to University policy, the transfer credits may not be applied to their corresponding joint degree until a participant has completed at least one year of study in both Penn State Law and Smeal. Smeal credits completed prior to enrollment in the joint degree program will not be permitted to count toward the J.D. degree.

Sequence of Study

Students may choose to conduct their study in either of the two sequence options shown below. Each "Year" refers to the traditional academic year beginning in late August and concluding in May. In addition, Penn State Law offers a limited number of courses during the summer term. Smeal does not offer any classes over the summer term. You will find more detailed information below regarding course sequencing for the J.D./M.B.A. joint degree. In compliance with ABA Standards and Rules law students may not enroll for more than 17 credits per semester at Penn State.

Option 1

Year 1: J.D. Foundation Coursework

Year 2: M.B.A. Foundation Coursework

Year 3: Combination of J.D. and M.B.A. Coursework

Year 4: J.D. Upper Level Coursework

Option 2

Year 1: J.D. Foundation Coursework

Year 2: J.D. Upper Level Coursework

Year 3: M.B.A. Foundation Coursework

Year 4: Combination of J.D. and M.B.A. Coursework


J.D. Foundation Coursework
Year 1

Fall Spring
Orientation/Preterm Activities   First-Year J.D. Curriculum 14 weeks
First-Year J.D. Curriculum 14 weeks    
M.B.A. Foundation Casework
Year 2 or Year 3
Fall Spring
Orientation/Preterm Activities 2 weeks    
Financial Accounting; Strategies for Converging Economies; Management; Team Processes & Performance; Leadership Communications 7 weeks International Immersion 1 week
Career Immersion 1 week Risk & Decisions; Ethical Leadership; Information Technology; Leadership Communications; Elective Course 7 weeks
Global Business Environment; Economics for Managers; Introduction to Statistics; Introduction to Managerial Accounting; Leadership Communications 7 weeks Executive Panel Case Competition 3 days
Combination of J.D. and M.B.A. Coursework
Year 3 or Year 4
Fall Spring
M.B.A. Elective Courses (2 sessions) 7 weeks M.B.A. Elective Courses (2 sessions) 7 weeks
J.D. Electives Courses 14 weeks J.D. Electives Courses 14 weeks
Negotiations Immersion 1 week Service Immersion 1 week
J.D. Upper Level Coursework
Year 2 or Year 4
Fall Spring
J.D. Electives Courses   J.D. Electives Courses  
*subject to revision

Important Note:  If the joint degree student is using law (900-level) credits toward the graduate degree during their last semester of enrollment, they should be prepared to extend their graduate degree graduation to a subsequent semester (the following semester at a minimum).  This is due to the graduate degree approval deadline falling before the law (900-level) course grading processes are complete. 

Recommended Program of Study and Advising

All students in the program will have two advisors, one from Penn State Law and one from Smeal. Periodic interaction between the two advisors will be encouraged. A program of study will be developed for each student, taking into account the fact that some courses at both locations are offered on a rotating or intermittent basis. Many courses are offered every year but some are offered every two or three years. Note: Joint-degree students are eligible for membership on a scholarly journal and may participate in the writing competition. However, JD/MBA joint degree students must defer law journal membership while enrolled in full time MBA coursework, which normally occurs in the year following the J.D. first-year.


Students will be charged the applicable Penn State Law tuition to cover the J.D. program and the applicable graduate tuition for the Smeal College of Business for the M.B.A. courses.

Financial Aid and Assistantships

Decisions on financial aid and assistantships will be made by each school according to that school's procedures.

Penn State Smeal MBA Program

Penn State Law J.D. Degree Requirements