Earn your law degree in 5 years

Earn your law degree in 5 years

Central Penn College & Widener Law Commonwealth’s new 2+3 agreement

A new, innovative “2+3” agreement between Central Penn College and Widener University Commonwealth Law School will enable full-time students to earn a bachelor’s degree and a law degree in just five years, saving them significant time and money. Typically, it takes seven years for full-time students to complete a law degree, an academic journey that requires four years for a bachelor’s degree and three for a juris doctorate. 

As a result of this articulation agreement, Legal Studies students at Central Penn will now have the opportunity to earn the final 30 credits of their bachelor’s at Widener Law Commonwealth, while simultaneously pursuing their juris doctorate at the Harrisburg-based institution.

Widener Law

How does it work?

Central Penn College operates on an accelerated schedule of four, 11-week terms each year, which enables students––if they take 12 credits or more per term––to complete a bachelor’s in three years.

Under this “2+3” agreement, Central Penn students in a bachelor’s program can now transfer to Widener Law Commonwealth after just two years or 90 credits, with the final 30 credits earned while attending law school. These same credits will be used toward a law degree, as well. 

Central Penn College provides students with the educational foundation to turn potential into professional success. Since 1881, the college has been a leading source for delivering career-focused education to students in Pennsylvania and beyond. With locations in Summerdale and Lancaster, Central Penn College offers associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees and certificate programs in a variety of professional fields.

Widener University Commonwealth Law School is the Pennsylvania capital’s only law school, with three specialized centers of legal scholarship through its Law & Government Institute, Environmental Law and Sustainability Center, and Business Advising Program and a Central Pennsylvania Civil Law Clinic. Widener Law Commonwealth offers an exceptional learning experience that is personal, practical, and professional. Click here for more information on Widener Law Commonwealth.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How does Central Penn’s accelerated schedule work?

Central Penn College operates on an accelerated schedule of four, 11-week terms each year, which enables students––if they take 12 credits or more per term––to complete a bachelor’s in three years.

Under this “2+3” agreement, Central Penn students in a bachelor’s program can now transfer to Widener Law Commonwealth after just two years or 90 credits, with the final 30 credits earned while attending law school. These same credits will be used toward a law degree, as well.

Is it possible to earn 90 credits in two years at Central Penn?

Yes, it is. With Central Penn’s accelerated terms, you can earn 90 credits in two years, if you take 12 credits all four terms each year. In fact, for two of those eight terms, you only need to take 9 credits to meet the 90-credit threshold.

For the final 30 credits of my bachelor’s degree at Central Penn, I also will receive graduate credit at Widener. Is that correct?

Yes, that’s correct. You will be a student at Widener and be able to transfer 30 credits back to Central Penn for degree completion, once you successfully complete those courses.

What is an articulation agreement?

It is an agreement where a college or university agrees to accept specific credits earned at another educational institution.

How many credits must I complete at Central Penn before I transfer to Widener?

90 credits.

I’ve heard of 3+3 agreements, but never a 2+3 agreement.

A 2+3 agreement is much rarer. Few colleges or universities operate with an accelerated schedule similar to Central Penn’s.

When does the “2+3” program go in effect?

The program went into effect on Jan. 30, 2020, the day the agreement was signed by leaders from the two institutions.

What are the requirements for admission?

Students at Central Penn College must be pursuing a bachelor’s degree. They must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher, earn a Law School Admission Test (LSAT) score at or above the median for Widener’s prior year entering class, and have no disqualifying character and fitness issues. Those students are guaranteed admission to Widener, subject to the provisions of this agreement.

If a Central Penn student fails to meet these requirements, that student may still apply to Widener after completing all the requirements of the bachelor’s degree at Central Penn.

When is the deadline to take the LSAT for this program?

You must take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) no later than February of your junior year and you are encouraged to take it earlier if possible.

What happens if after 30 credits at Widener I decide to leave? Would I still receive credit for those 30 credits?

You are not required to complete the JD degree at Widener. Semester hours satisfactorily completed at Widener will count toward completion of the Central Penn bachelor’s degree upon receipt of an official transcript from Widener.

I’m interested in the program. What do I do?

If you are interested in learning more about this exciting opportunity, please complete the form shown above or fill out Central Penn’s free application. An admission counselor will then contact you.

If you are a current Central Penn student, talk to your Student Success Coach and/or faculty advisor.


The primary purpose of Central Penn’s Legal Studies Bachelor’s program is the training and education of paralegals. Non-attorneys may not provide legal services directly to the public, except as permitted by law.

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