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Joint and Dual Degrees

Joint J.D./M.Ed., D.Ed., and Ph.D. with Penn State Law (PSL)

Student speaking in class

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-211 Joint Degree Programs.

Penn State Law (PSL) and the Higher Education (HIED) Program offer a joint degree program leading to a Juris Doctor (J.D.); and either a Master of Education (M.Ed.), a Doctor of Education (D.Ed.), or a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Higher Education.

Admission Requirements

Applicants to the joint degree program must apply and be admitted first to Penn State Law, and subsequently to the Higher Education graduate program. Admissions requirements and applications for admission for Penn State Law are listed in the J.D. Admissions section of the Penn State Law website. The admission requirements for the Higher Education graduate program are listed on the Admission Requirements tab. When applying to the Higher Education graduate program, applicants must include two letters of recommendation from Penn State Law faculty members and a career statement. Applicants to the joint degree program may submit LSAT scores instead of GRE scores.


Students will normally spend four semesters in residence at PSL and as many additional semesters in residence as needed to complete the additional requirements for the pertinent HIED degree. Ph.D. candidates must arrange the sequence of semesters to ensure that they are in residence as full-time students in the HIED program for at least two consecutive semesters (Fall-Spring or Spring-Fall) excluding summer in a single twelve-month period.

Degree Requirements

Students must fulfill all requirements for each degree in order to be awarded that degree, subject to the double-counting of credits as outlined below. Degree requirements for the J.D. program are listed on the Penn State Law website. Degree requirements for the Ph.D., D.Ed., and M.Ed. degrees are listed on the Degree Requirements tab.

Penn State Law

A maximum of twelve credits for HIED course work may be double-counted for credit toward the J.D. degree at PSL. Students must obtain a grade satisfactory to PSL for the course work to be credited towards the J.D. degree. The following HIED courses may qualify for credit in PSL:

Courses Eligible to Double Count for Both Degrees
HIED 545 Foundations in Higher Education and Student Affairs 3
HIED 552 Administration and Organization in Higher Education 3
HIED 560 Legal Issues in Higher Education and Student Affairs 3
HIED 587 Education Policy and Politics 3
HIED 806 Teaching and Learning in Higher Education 3

Higher Education

The courses that may be double-counted will be determined by the student's degree program. Normally a maximum of twelve credits of PSL course work will be counted for credit for the minimum requirements for a master's degree, subject to approval by the student's advisory committee.


The sequence of courses will be determined by the students and their advisors.

Recommended Program of Study and Advising

All students in the program will have two advisers, one from PSL and one from HIED. Periodic interaction between the two advisers is encouraged.


Students will be charged the applicable PSL tuition to cover the J.D. program and the applicable graduate tuition to cover the HIED degree program. PSL tuition will be paid for the semesters in which the student is registered for PSL courses, and graduate tuition will be paid for the semesters in which the student is registered for graduate courses. 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. Generally, assistantships and financial aid granted by HIED will not apply to time spent at PSL.

Fulfillment of Degree Requirements and Graduation

All courses in one program that will count toward meeting the requirements of the other program must be completed before the awarding of either degree. If students accepted into the joint degree program are unable to complete the J.D. degree, they are still eligible to receive the Higher Education degree if all Higher Education degree requirements have been satisfied.

Dual-Title Graduate Degree Program in Comparative and International Education

The Comparative and International Education (CIED) dual-title degree program is administered by the faculty members of CIED. The faculty maintain the curriculum, identify courses appropriate for the option, and develop and recommend policy and procedures. Members of the faculty also serve on the doctoral committees of students who elect the dual-title doctoral degree. The option enables students from different graduate programs to learn the perspectives, techniques, and methodologies of comparative and international education, while maintaining a close association with their program areas of application.

To qualify for a dual-title degree, students must satisfy the requirements of the graduate major programs in which they are enrolled. For more information, please contact Dr. Karly Ford.