Juris Doctor and Master of Public Administration

The Dickinson School of Law (DSL) and the School of Public Affairs at Penn State Harrisburg (PSH) offer a cooperative program leading to the degrees of Juris Doctor (JD), to be granted by the Dickinson School of Law, and Master of Public Administration (MPA), to be granted by Penn State Harrisburg.

The Master of Public Administration program is intended for those with career interests in government, public management, health and human services, and other public service and nonprofit organizations. The curriculum blends theoretical and applied concepts and assures “real-world” experiences.

The MPA program at Penn State Harrisburg provides the highest quality professional education for careers in public service. Seven core faculty members, distinguished practitioner adjuncts, and other faculty from the School of Public Affairs support the program, which is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration.

Founded in 1834, the fully accredited Dickinson School of Law has a proud tradition of providing a broad-based theoretical and practical legal education that prepares students to practice law anywhere in the United States. Full-time professors, professor-administrators, and lawyering skills professors work with adjunct professors to teach 100 courses. Dickinson’s Government and Politics course cluster, of particular interest to public administration students, includes courses on Administrative Law, Education Law, Election Law, Federal Contract Law, Legislation, Pennsylvania Constitutional Law, State and Local Government Law, State and Local Taxation, and The Supreme Court.

Admission Requirements

A bachelor’s or equivalent degree from an accredited college is a prerequisite for admission. However, there is no standard prescribed undergraduate curriculum. This joint degree program requires that the student first be admitted to the Dickinson School of Law. Subsequently, the student is recommended for and applies for admission to the Graduate School for the Penn State Public Administration program. DSL need not forward applications of all DSL students who have expressed interest in the MPA program and can withhold support until students have demonstrated proficiency in their legal studies and a capacity for dual degree study. Penn State Harrisburg will make independent admissions decisions as to all dual degree applicants.

Students are admitted to begin classes in the fall only.

The following are required of applicants:

The Dickinson School of Law

  • Complete law school application;
  • Law School Admission Test (LSAT);
  • LSDAS report;
  • One-page personal statement;
  • Employment record since high school;
  • Two recommendations.

Penn State Harrisburg

  • Completed online application (Penn State Harrisburg Graduate School and MPA supplemental), with the application fee;
  • A statement of career and educational goals;
  • A successful undergraduate record with a GPA of 3.0 (either as the cumulative GPA or for the last 60 hours of relevant course work);
  • Satisfactory scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), or Law School Admission Test (LSAT) if GPA is less than 3.0;
  • Three names of references willing to provide recommendations.
  • Current resume

All students admitted to the MPA program must show prerequisite course work in statistics and statistical software with a satisfactory grade of C or better. Students without prior course work in statistics must fulfill this prerequisite within two semesters of admission. These credits earned do not count toward the M.P.A. degree.

Graduation Requirements

To be eligible to earn the Juris Doctor degree, a candidate must:

  • earn credit for 88 semester hours of course work;
  • Maintain a yearly and cumulative average of at least 70.00;
  • complete all required courses plus at least one seminar; and
  • complete (6) semesters in residence.

A maximum of 9 credits for Dickinson School of Law course work may be transferred for credit toward the M.P.A. degree at PSH, subject to PSH approval based on relevance to the MPA program.

A maximum of 9 credits for MPA course work with a grade of “B” or better may be transferred for credit toward the J.D. degree at DSL. Courses for which such credit may be applied shall be subject to approval by the Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

Advising of Students

All students in the program will have two advisers – one from Dickinson School of Law and one from Penn State Harrisburg.


Dickinson School of Law and Penn State Harrisburg will each charge its own tuition to students in the JD/MPA program.

This page is not a part of the official Penn State University Bulletin.