Five-Year Law Degree Now a Reality Thanks to a new partnership between Central Penn College & Widener Law Commonwealth

Central Penn College and Widener University Commonwealth Law School joined forces today on an innovative, “2+3” agreement that makes earning a law degree in five years a reality for highly motivated, high-achieving students. Typically, attaining a law degree takes seven years.

Dr. Linda Fedrizzi-Williams, President of Central Penn College, and Christian A. Johnson, Dean of Widener Law Commonwealth, made the 2+3 program official by signing an articulation agreement between the two educational institutions. The signing ceremony was held mid-morning today at Widener’s administration building in Harrisburg and was attended by leaders, faculty and staff from both institutions.

The articulation agreement enables Legal Studies students at Central Penn to earn their final 30 credits of their bachelor’s degree at Widener Commonwealth Law, while simultaneously pursuing their juris doctorate at the Harrisburg-based institution. Upon successfully completing 30 credits at Widener Law Commonwealth, students in the program then will have earned their baccalaureate degree from Central Penn College. 

New Partnership

“We are delighted to partner with Central Penn College, an innovative local school that works hard for its students,” said Widener Law Commonwealth Dean Christian A. Johnson. “The 2+3 program is a successful model and provides real value, saving time and money. We are mindful of the high cost of college and law school and embrace opportunities like this one that make a difference for families.”

“This agreement is a win-win for both of our institutions, and most importantly for our mutual students,” said President Fedrizzi-Williams. “We are excited to join forces with Widener Law Commonwealth, our highly respected neighbor to the east, on this groundbreaking, student-centric initiative. For students focused on completing their law degree as quickly as possible, this program will prove to be a game-changer!”


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. 

Who is Eligible?

To qualify for the 2+3 program, Central Penn students in a bachelor’s program must: 

  • maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher
  • take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) no later than February of their junior year and are encouraged to take it earlier if possible
  • earn an LSAT score at or above the median for Widener’s prior year entering class
  • and have no disqualifying character issues

This agreement applies to current Central Penn students who began their undergraduate study by the 2017–2018 academic year, as well as new students. Under the 2+3 agreement, students who are accepted into Widener Law Commonwealth must attend full-time.