Penn State
Lewis Katz Building, University Park, PA
twitter   facebook   linkedin   Instagram   webmail
Give Now Apply Now

J.D./Master of Science (M.S.) in Human Resources and Employment Relations

with the Penn State College of the Liberal Arts

Penn State Law and the Human Resources and Employment Relations Program (HRER) offer a joint degree leading to a Juris Doctor (J.D.) and a Master of Science (M.S.) in Human Resources and Employment Relations.

Admissions Requirements

The number of openings in the joint degree J.D./M.S. program will be limited to students with an outstanding academic record who have successfully completed the first-year curriculum with the law school. Applicants to the joint degree program:

  1. must have been admitted to Penn State Law 
  2. should have successfully completed the first-year curriculum at Penn State Law with a grade point average of 3.0 
  3. must submit two letters of recommendations from Penn State Law faculty 
  4. must submit a career statement

College-Specific Admissions Requirements

Penn State Law

HRER: The application for admission to the J.D./M.S. HRER program must include the following materials, all of which should be submitted to the LSER Graduate Staff Assistant in 003 Keller Building: A plan of study (to be determined in consultation with the student's Law School Adviser and the Director of the HRER Graduate Program); Two letters of recommendations from Penn State Law faculty; Two transcripts from Penn State Law; A career statement outlining the student's objectives and reasons for applying to the program; and a completed Graduate School Application.

Please note that applicants to the J.D./M.S. HRER program are not required to submit GRE, GMAT, or TOEFL scores to the Department of Labor Studies and Employment Relations.

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

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 HRER shall be the Department Head; contact College of the Liberal Arts for current department head information.


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

Inter-program Transfer of Credits

Penn State Law: Twelve (12) credits of relevant course work for the HRER Graduate Program can be double-counted towards the requirements for the J.D. degree. The only two HRER courses that will not be credited toward the J.D. degree are HRER 501 and HRER 510.

HRER: Twelve (12) credits of relevant course work from the law school can be double-counted toward the 37 credits required for the M.S. degree

Sequence of Study (recommended)

Semester 1-2: No HRER courses. Students take normal first-year law student curriculum courses

Semester 3-4: Students should take HRER 504, HRER 505, and HRER 510 (7 credits)

Semester 5-6: Students should take HRER 512 and HRER 513 (6 credits)

Semester 7-8: Students take HRER 502 and HRER 516 (6 credits)

Students choosing the Research Paper option must take six (6) additional credits of electives and complete the Research Paper. Students choosing the Thesis option must take six (6) thesis credits (HRER 600 or HRER 610) and complete the Thesis.

In compliance with ABA Standards and Rules law students may not enroll for more than 17 credits per semester at Penn State.

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 Liberal Arts. 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.


Students will be charged the applicable Penn State Law tuition to cover the J.D. program and the applicable graduate tuition to cover the HRER degree program. Penn State Law tuition will be paid for the semesters in which the student is registered for Penn State Law courses, and graduate tuition will be paid for the semesters in which the student is registered for graduate courses in the HRER program. A student may take up to one course (3 credit hours) per semester in the program where the student is not primarily registered without any change in tuition, but must pay additional tuition to the program that the student is not primarily registered if he or she wishes to take additional course work pursuant to that program during the semester.

Financial Aid and Assistantships

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

Labor Studies and Employment Relations Degree Program

Penn State Law J.D. Degree Requirements