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J.D./Master of International Affairs (M.I.A.)

Penn State Law and the School of International Affairs (SIA) offer a joint degree leading to a Juris Doctor (J.D.) and Master of International Affairs (M.I.A.).

Admissions Requirements

Students must apply to Penn State Law and School of International Affairs separately and must meet each school's admissions requirements.

College-specific Admissions Requirements

Penn State Law

S.I.A.: Students must complete the Graduate School application. The following are required of M.I.A. applicants: (1) a bachelor's degree from a U.S. regionally accredited institution or (2) a postsecondary degree that is equivalent to a U.S. baccalaureate degree earned from an officially recognized degree-granting international institution. There is no standard prescribed undergraduate curriculum. All applicants will submit GRE scores, two letters of recommendation and a personal statement addressing their reasons for pursuing a graduate degree in international affairs and discussing their plans and goals. Upon the student's request, the LSAT may replace the GRE for joint degree admissions purposes. More detailed information on the SIA admissions process can be found here.

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 Admissions Application 

Graduate School Application

International Applicants

International applicants are required to submit English proficiency test scores, unless they are from one of the countries listed as "exempt" on The Graduate School's English Proficiency page:

If you are required to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores, you must have the minimum scores listed below, in order to be considered for admission:

  a. A minimum score of 6.5 on the IELTS
  b. A minimum TOEFL score of —
  • 550 from the Paper-based test, or
  • 80 from the Internet-based test (applicants with a score of 19 or higher on the speaking sub-section will be considered for admission, though a score of 23 or higher is desirable)


A typical J.D./M.I.A. joint degree student will be in residence at Penn State Law for six semesters and at SIA for two semesters.

College Liaisons

The department and faculty liaisons for Penn State Law shall be the Director of Joint Degree Programs and the student advisor shall be the Director of Joint Degree Programs or such other faculty member(s) as may be designated by the Dean. The liaison for SIA shall be the Director or such faculty member(s) as may be designated by the Director.

Inter-program Transfer of Credits

Penn State Law: A maximum of twelve (12) credits for M.I.A. course work may be transferred for credit toward the J.D. degree at Penn State Law. Courses eligible for cross-counting towards the J.D. and M.I.A. include the courses on the current M.I.A. electives list and any other courses taken as M.I.A. electives with the express written permission of the S.I.A. and J.D. advisors. Students must obtain a grade satisfactory to the Law School for the course work to be credited towards the J.D. degree.

SIA: Up to twelve (12) credits of Penn State Law course work may be applied to the M.I.A. degree. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the M.I.A. degree, courses taken in Penn State Law as a part of the elective component of the M.I.A. automatically count towards the SIA. Courses eligible for cross-counting towards the J.D. and M.I.A. include the courses on the current M.I.A. electives list and any other courses taken as M.I.A. electives with the express written permission of the S.I.A. and J.D. advisors.

Note: If a course is concurrently listed, having both a Law (900-level) and S.I.A. (500-level) course code, J.D. students are required to register for the course with the law course code.

Sequence of Study

The sequence of courses will be determined by the student and their advisor(s). However, students must successfully complete the first-year curriculum with the law school before the inter-program transfer of credits for M.I.A. coursework can begin. In compliance with ABA Standards and Rules law students may not enroll for more than 17 credits per semester at Penn State. If matriculating at Penn State Law first, it is expected that most joint degree students will complete the first two semesters of the M.I.A. consecutively in either the first or second year after completion of the first-year law curriculum.

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. Nonetheless, the expectation is that joint degree students will make every effort to graduate from both the J.D. and the M.I.A. program simultaneously.

Recommended Program of Study and Advising

All students in the program will have two advisors, one from Penn State Law and one from the School of International Affairs. 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. Advisors will have available a list of projected relevant courses or educational experiences in order to work with the student on an individualized program of study. The standard committee structure will apply to the SIA programs.


Students will be charged the applicable Penn State Law tuition to cover the J.D. program and the applicable SIA tuition to cover the M.I.A. degree program. The Penn State Law tuition will be paid for the semesters that the student is in residence at Penn State Law, and the SIA tuition will be paid for the semesters that the student is in residence there. A student may take up to one course (3 credit hours) per semester in the school where the student is not in residence without any change in tuition, but must pay additional tuition to the non-residential program if he or she wishes to take additional course work at that campus during that semester.

Financial Aid and Assistantships

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

Master of International Affairs (M.I.A.) Degree Program

Penn State Law J.D. Degree Requirements