This dual degree program prepares graduates for many careers in nonprofit leadership that will benefit from a knowledge of the law and legal principles, many which exist within and  overlap with our legal system including advocacy, criminal justice, immigration, management, policy, and more through social impact organizations, nonprofits, and social enterprises. The Master of Science in Nonprofit Leadership/Master in Law (NPL/ML) builds on a practical and theoretical foundation to prepare students to:

  • Start and lead nonprofit organizations in the local, national, and global social impact spheres.
  • Examine legal issues that transcend a wide range of fields and areas of expertise to apply knowledge shaping the social impact sector.

The NPL/ML dual degree program allows students to earn both degrees by completing a total of 14 credit units (CUs) rather than 18 CUs if the degrees were earned separately. This is done by cross-counting up to two courses between each of the NPL and ML degrees. Completed individually, the NPL requires 10 credits and the ML requires 8 credits.

Students can count up to two ML CUs as NPL outside electives and up to two (2) NPL CUs as ML courses from NPLD 589 (1 CU), NPLD 597 (1 CU), NPLD 762 (1 CU), or by combining NPLD 562 (0.5 CU) AND NPLD 580 (0.5 CU). Full-time dual degree students can complete the NPL/ML program in three semesters, usually by studying during summer semesters. Part-time dual degree students can complete the NPL/ML program in up to eight semesters. There is flexibility in both full- and part-time scheduling. The Administrative and Executive Directors of the NPL and ML programs will collaborate to review course choices and create an individual academic plan for dual degree students.

Application Process

Students may apply to the NPL and the ML programs simultaneously or they may apply to one program after admission to or matriculation in the other program fulfilling the application requirements for each degree program and indicating an interest in the ML/NPL. Upon acceptance to the NPL and ML programs the applicant will be admitted to the dual degree program.

Tuition & Financial Aid

Students enrolled in the NPL/ML dual degree will be primary at the school where they begin, either SP2 or Penn Carey Law, until they complete their primary program at which time they would become primary in their remaining program. If a student applies to and enrolls in both programs simultaneously, the student will be NPL primary and tuition will be paid to SP2. Financial aid decisions are made independently by each school.

The NPL program includes a leadership practicum that is an integral part of the experiential learning for all NPL students, which builds upon core competencies and principles of leadership developed in the classroom. It consists of:

  • a supervised mentoring and leadership development experience; and
  • a partnership with the goal of learning about the organization and providing student support on various levels that can include strategic planning, succession planning, branding or marketing, development and philanthropy, or other targeted projects.

Proposed Course of Study

1NPL Core 11-Fall I
2NPL Core 21-Fall I
3NPL Elective 11-Fall I
4NPL Elective 21-Fall I
5NPL Outside Elective 1 from Law11Fall ISelected from LAWM 511, LAWM 528, or LAWM 529 Fulfills NPL Outside Elective
6NPL Core 31-Spring I
7NPL Core 41-Spring I
8NPL Elective 311Spring ISelected from NPLD 589 (1 CU), NPLD 597 (1 CU), NPLD 762 (1 CU), or NPLD 562 (0.5 CU) AND NPLD 580 (0.5 CU), fulfills ML cross counting
9NPL Elective 411Spring ISelected from NPLD 589 (1 CU), NPLD 597 (1 CU), NPLD 762 (1 CU), or NPLD 562 (0.5 CU) AND NPLD 580 (0.5 CU), fulfills ML cross counting
10NPL Outside Elective 2 from Law11Spring ISelected from LAWM 511, LAWM 528, or LAWM 529 Fulfills NPL Outside Elective
11LAWM core foundation-1Fall IISelected from LAWM 511, LAWM 528, or LAWM 529
12ML Elective-1Fall II
13JD Upper Level course-1Fall II
14ML Elective or JD course-1Fall II


For the ML program, questions can be addressed to Catharine Restrepo, Executive Director, The ML program hosts monthly information sessions for members of the Penn community. Please view more information here or contact the ML program for upcoming session dates.

For the NPL program, questions can be addressed to:

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