Ethics & Legal Studies Doctoral Program

The Ethics & Legal Studies Doctoral Program at Wharton program focuses on the study of ethics and law in business. It is designed to prepare graduates for careers in university teaching and research at leading business schools, law schools, and other programs.

Students take a core set of courses in the area of ethics and law in business, along with courses in an additional disciplinary concentration such as management, finance, marketing, or accounting. Resources for current Ph.D. students can be found at

Faculty and student interests range over topics including international business ethics and human rights, corporate governance, social impact, environmental law and policy, securities, normative political theory, negotiation, sports law and policy, and corporate criminal law.

The course of study for the Ph.D. requires the completion of sixteen graduate course units, including courses in statistics. Some graduate-level credit from courses at other universities may transfer to Wharton.

At the end of the first year of study, students must present and publicly defend a research paper. At the end of the second year, students must pass two comprehensive written exams, one in law and one in ethics, and successfully defend their answers in a public forum, before advancing to write a dissertation. The expected time required to complete the degree is four years, though many students will take five years. Students are expected to play an active and engaged role in the department’s and the University of Pennsylvania’s scholarly community while pursuing their degree, and as such, they are expected to be resident in the local area as they progress through the program.

Applicants are not required to have a law degree, although prior coursework in law, ethics, social sciences, or philosophy is considered a plus.

The Ethics & Legal Studies Doctoral Program at Wharton invites applications for Fall 2019. 

One may apply online for the Ethics & Legal Studies Doctoral Program by going to:   The application deadline is December 15 each year. Strong GRE or GMAT scores are required. GRE scores are preferred, but GMAT scores are accepted. The last possible test date for the GRE and GMAT is December 15. Official results must be available by mid-January.


Contact Information
Lauretta Tomasco, Associate Director
Legal Studies and Business Ethics Department
The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
3730 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6340

Course Information
View the Legal Studies course information, descriptions, and schedule with links to syllabi.

Prospective Students
View the Legal Studies Ph.D. FAQ or the Welcome to Philadelphia Video


Career Placements