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Penn State University Course Credits

Subject to the generally applicable rules and exclusions below, J.D. students who are not enrolled in a joint degree program may apply up to twelve credits of Penn State University graduate level courses (500 and above course numbers), and/or Penn State University advanced undergraduate courses (400-499 course numbers) that are related to the student’s legal career objective with prior approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

J.D. students enrolled in an approved joint degree program are subject to the specific rules of that program.

Advanced undergraduate  (400-499) and graduate (500 and higher) course credits are co-curricular credits subject to caps on co-curricular credits set forth in the Student Academic Handbook, Co-curricular Credit Rules.

Students seeking approval should email the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Included in the email should be an explanation of how the course(s) are related to the student’s career objective, forwarded permission from the course instructor, and a current course description for the course(s) being requested. 

Generally Applicable Rules and Exclusions  

  • No credit splitting.  Students may not apply less than all the credits earned in a single course toward the total number of credits permitted under this rule.
  • Credits for graduate level courses that a law student earned prior to admission to the J.D. program will not count toward the J.D. degree.
  • Credits will count toward the J.D. degree only if the student earns a grade of at least a B.  Grades will appear on the student’s transcript; however, grades for graduate courses are not calculated into a student’s GPA.
  • To count toward the J.D., courses must be taken at Penn State University Park or via World Campus.  Credits earned through distance education (defined as through either World Campus or via the remote section of a Penn State Law course offered via synchronous audiovisual communication) will count as distance education credits under ABA Standard 306 Distance Education and state bar eligibility rules.  The maximum number of credits permitted to count toward the J.D. degree under ABA Standard 306 is 15. 
  • Advanced undergraduate and graduate level credits for individual studies or supervised research will not count toward the J.D. or LL.M. degree.