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Penn State Dickinson Law

The information on this page was provided by the law school.

Official Guide to ABA-Approved JD Programs

Penn State Dickinson Law is committed to producing profession-ready lawyers equipped with the doctrinal knowledge, practical skills, and extralegal competencies necessary to excel in an increasingly global legal market. The hallmarks of a Dickinson Law education are an innovative curriculum that, from the very first day of law school, relies heavily on experiential learning to prepare our students to practice law, and a welcoming and supportive community.

Founded in Carlisle, Pennsylvania in 1834, Dickinson Law is the oldest law school in Pennsylvania and the fifth oldest in the country. For over 185 years, Dickinson Law graduates have included the nation’s most distinguished attorneys, judges, government and corporate leaders, and legal educators. Our 1997 merger with Penn State expanded our reputation, network, and joint-degree programs—complementing Dickinson Law’s legacy as an innovative leader in experiential education.

To ensure that we can provide hands-on training to our students, Dickinson Law aims to cap the entering first-year class around 100 students. This intentionally small class size ensures that students receive focused attention from faculty, guarantees ample opportunities to learn in practice settings, and fulfills the law school’s promise to best position its students to secure employment in a competitive marketplace.

Learn more about Penn State Dickinson Law

The JD Program

Ahead of the curve.

Being profession-ready and having a thorough knowledge of legal theory are not mutually exclusive. We believe today’s lawyers require a hands-on learning approach in addition to their coursework so they can see the law from all angles—and build a case from there. What’s different about Dickinson Law is that we’ve been doing it this way from the beginning, which means something since we were the first law school in Pennsylvania.

Rigor without reprehension.

This is a highly challenging environment—but it’s also highly supportive. Our robust curriculum begins with the fundamentals of national and transnational law combined with the invaluable experience of working out in the real world. From the very first day, you’ll learn extralegal core competencies including leadership, project management, cultural competence, and problem-solving so you can apply what you learn in real time. As you progress, your courses and experiential learning opportunities grow with you so that when you graduate, you’ll have total mastery of the law in today’s world.

The Lawyer As...

Pick your path. Follow it. Our electives are organized by the way lawyers use their training rather than in traditional silos. They’re yours to explore during your second and third years at Dickinson Law.

What it means to practice greatness.

You’ll connect what you learn in the classroom to the real world sooner than you think. We were among the first law schools to offer in-house legal clinics, and we’ve made it a requirement to conduct your first simulated client interview during your second week as a law student.

Learn more about the JD program at Penn State Dickinson Law

In-House Clinics

The mission of Penn State Dickinson Law’s In-house Legal Clinics is to provide access to justice through direct representation of legally underserved clients and to advocate for equitable policies on issues affecting our clients. Under faculty supervision, students obtain the training and experience necessary to launch successful and fulfilling legal careers.


Dickinson Law is conveniently located near Harrisburg, the center of state government and home to federal government offices and judges in the Middle District, and six county seats which permits students to pursue a wide range of externship possibilities while maintaining a full course load.

All Dickinson Law students must take at least 6 credits in a legal practice setting through the externship program, in-house legal clinics, or as part of the Semester-in-Practice Program. 

Under the guidance of an experienced supervisor, second- and third-year law students can step out of the classroom and gain practical experience working in a legal office in one of Dickinson Law’s externship programs. In order to receive academic credit for working at an externship placement site, students must:

  • complete legal work at their externship site for a required number of hours per credit (typically 140 hours per semester for three credits);
  • attend and participate in the academic companion course; and
  • complete assigned readings and required reflective assignments and self-evaluations.

General externships allow students to continue taking courses while working with federal and state court judges, state or federal government agencies, in-house corporate counsel, and public interest or nonprofit organizations. Some private law firm placements will be approved on a case-by-case basis by the Director of Externships and the Director of Experiential Learning if they present a unique learning opportunity. 


Dickinson Law students have the opportunity to continue their transition from promising student to practicing attorney by participating in the law school’s Semester-in-Practice. These immersive programs allow students to spend one semester working full-time in a variety of legal settings in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Washington, DC; New York City; or an international venue. Past placements have included:

  • International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (The Hague, the Netherlands)
  • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (Cape Town, South Africa)
  • International Bar Association (London)
  • Human Rights Watch
  • Internal Revenue Service
  • US Securities and Exchange Commission
  • US Department of Justice, Environmental Enforcement Section
  • US Department of Justice, Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section
  • US Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control
  • US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  • Project on Government Oversight (whistleblower advocacy agency)
  • Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General
  • Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education
  • YWCA Domestic Violence Legal Center

Student Life

An Inclusive Community


We believe that diversity enriches everyone’s educational experience. We are as committed to welcoming people of diverse cultures and lifestyles as we are to preparing them to become the next generation of practice-ready attorneys. As an inclusive community, Dickinson Law defines diversity broadly to include racial and ethnic minorities, women, individuals with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ community, veterans, first-generation students, adult learners, and any others who have experienced subordination, marginalization, or isolation in academic communities because of their identity status. Incoming students are welcomed into this inclusive environment by our Law Lion Ambassadors, who serve as student mentors and community leaders.

We are delighted to support a variety of student affinity organizations, such as:

  • Asian Pacific American Law Students Association (APALSA)
  • Black Law Students Association (BLSA)
  • International Law Society
  • Latino/a Law Student Association (LLSA)
  • Military Law Caucus (MLC)
  • OutLaw (the LGBTQ student association)
  • Women’s Law Caucus (WLC)

Moreover, Dickinson Law’s core courses integrate diverse perspectives and examine the relevance of diversity to law, the legal process, and practice. Through the law school’s curricular offerings and its extracurricular activities, Dickinson Law students are able to develop cultural competencies and better understand minority viewpoints.

Career Placement and Bar Passage

To help students negotiate today’s challenging job market, Dickinson Law offers a number of resources that go above and beyond traditional career services. Dickinson Law’s innovative first-year curriculum introduces students to myriad practice areas and aims to equip students with competencies not typically taught in law school—skills that make Dickinson Law graduates very attractive job candidates. In addition, the extensive networks of loyal alumni from both Penn State and Dickinson Law are committed to helping our students succeed in their desired professions. Dickinson Law graduates enjoy rewarding careers in varied areas of law practice, as well as in business and industry, government, and academia.

Learn more about career placement and bar passage at Penn State Dickinson Law

Tuition and Aid

Expense Cost
Expected Cost of Attendance

All students admitted to Dickinson Law are automatically considered for merit-based scholarships. As well, admitted students are welcome to apply for financial aid up to the date of enrollment; however, students are encouraged to submit their financial aid applications by March 1 if they are seeking need-based aid. The Office of Admissions and Financial Aid helps to counsel admitted students on how to obtain the funding necessary to finance their legal education.

Learn more about tuition & aid at Penn State Dickinson Law

Admission Decisions: Beyond the Numbers

Prospective students are welcome to apply on our website or directly through LSAC’s site. Dickinson Law takes a holistic approach to admission by considering accomplishments beyond test scores and college grades. In considering applicants, the law school values life and work experience, leadership, community service, advanced degrees, and other personal and professional accomplishments.

Learn more about admission at Penn State Dickinson Law

Admitted Applicant Profile

25-75% UGPA Range at Penn State D:

3.29 to 3.84

25-75% LSAT Score Range at Penn State D:

157 to 163

25-75% UGPA Range at Penn State D:

3.29 to 3.84

25-75% LSAT Score Range at Penn State D:

157 to 163

25-75% UGPA Range at Penn State D:

3.29 to 3.84

25-75% LSAT Score Range at Penn State D:

157 to 163

Contact Information

150 South College Street,
Carlisle, PA 17013-2899,
United States