Joint J.D./M.I.A. Program

The School of International Affairs (SIA) offers s joint J.D./M.I.A. program with Penn State Law, which is located in the same building as SIA.

Admissions Requirements

Students must apply to Penn State Law and the School of International Affairs separately and must meet each school's admissions requirements. Students are eligible to start taking courses in the SIA program after successfully completing the law school's first-year curriculum.

School of International Affairs Admissions Requirements

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 Penn State Law application and the Penn State Graduate School application, along with any other requirements in the college specific admissions requirements section above. These applications may be completed simultaneously during the time you are applying to the law school OR you may hold off on applying to the graduate school until your first year of law school. 

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 in law school for six semesters and at SIA for two semesters. 

College Liaisons

The department and faculty liaison for Penn State Law shall be the associate dean for academic affairs and the student adviser shall be the associate dean for academic affairs 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.

College Prescribed Curriculum

Inter-program Transfer of Credits

SIA: Up to 12 credits of Penn State Law coursework may be applied to the M.I.A. degree. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the M.I.A. degree, courses taken at Penn State Law as a part of the elective component of the M.I.A. automatically count toward the M.I.A. courses eligible for cross-counting toward the J.D. and M.I.A. This includes the courses on the M.I.A. electives list and any other courses taken as M.I.A. electives with the express written permission of the M.I.A. and J.D. advisers.

Penn State Law: A maximum of 12 credits for M.I.A. coursework may be transferred for credit toward the J.D. degree at Penn State Law. Courses eligible for cross-counting toward 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 M.I.A. and J.D. advisers. Students must obtain a grade satisfactory to their law school for the coursework to be credited toward the J.D. degree.

Sequence of Study

The sequence of courses will be determined by the student and their adviser(s). However, students must successfully complete the first-year Penn State Law curriculum before beginning the M.I.A. program. J.D./M.I.A. joint degree students will complete their SIA core courses by the end of the second year of the joint degree program.

Recommended Program of Study and Advising

All students in the program will have two advisers, one from the law school and one from the School of International Affairs. Periodic interaction between the two advisers will be encouraged. A program of study will be developed for each student, taking into account the fact that some courses at both schools are offered on a rotating or intermittent basis. Many courses are offered every year but some are offered every two or three years. Advisers 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 law school 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 coursework at that school during that semester.