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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 College of Business

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

The language of instruction at Penn State is English. English proficiency test scores (TOEFL/IELTS) may be required for international applicants. Consult the English Proficiency section of the Graduate Bulletin Application and Admission Procedures page and the M.B.A. program International Applicants page for more information.


A typical J.D./M.B.A. joint degree student will be in residence at Penn State Law for six semesters and at Smeal College of Business for two semesters.

College Liaisons

Penn State Law

Department and Faculty Liaison: Director of Joint Degree Programs.


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:

Credit Requirements

Students must fulfill all requirements for each degree in order to be awarded that degree, subject to the double-counting of credits outlined below.  Degree requirements for the Penn State Law J.D. are listed on the Penn State Law website.  Degree requirements for the M.BA. degree are listed in the Graduate Degree Programs Bulletin.

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.

Inter-program Transfer of Credits

Students must fulfill all requirements for each degree in order to be awarded that degree, subject to the double-counting of credits as outlined below.

Penn State Law: A maximum of twelve (12) Smeal College of Business credits maybe transferred for credit toward the J.D. degree at Penn State Law.  Courses eligible for double-counting to the J.D. degree come from the M.B.A. degree required core curriculum.  Students must obtain a grade satisfactory to Penn State Law for course work to be credited towards the J.D. degree.

Smeal College of Business M.B.A: A maximum of 16 credits from Penn State Law course work may be double counted towards the M.B.A degree at Smeal.  Courses for which such credit may be applied shall be subject to approval by Smeal based on relevance to the MBA program.  Students must obtain a grade satisfactory to Smeal for any J.D. course work to be credited toward the M.B.A. 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. Penn State Law and Smeal do not offer classes over the summer term.  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

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