The Lauder Institute Frequently Asked Questions

Language requirements

What are the language requirements for admission to the Lauder Program?

Applicants must score at least an advanced-low on the OPI in their target language at Lauder; applicants for the Global program must score a superior in a language other than English to apply. In order to graduate from Lauder, students in regional programs are required to demonstrate Superior-level language proficiency on the OPI. Please see Language Testing for accepted languages and OPI testing information.

How do I schedule an oral proficiency interview (OPI)?

All Lauder applicants are required to take an oral proficiency interview (OPI) corresponding to the proposed program of study. Please see Language Testing for information on scheduling and completing your required OPI.

Which languages are offered for study at the Lauder Institute? Can I study a language that is not listed?

The Institute supports a variety of languages for study within our six Programs of Concentration. Click through the Language Testing page for the full list.

Are the language requirements different for multilingual students?

Multilingual applicants with deep cultural experiences in more than one region are encouraged to apply to the Global Program. For acceptance into the Global Program, applicants must show Superior-level proficiency on the admit-OPI. They are therefore not required to take language courses at the Lauder Institute. Instead, they earn credits toward the MA through other courses.

Course requirements

If I place out of the Lauder language exit requirement ahead of schedule, can I take electives instead of the language courses?

The MA degree requires five credits of coursework related to the candidate’s Program of Concentration. Students who satisfy the language exit requirement ahead of schedule can petition and discuss other options with the Lauder Co-Director and/or Managing Director.

What are the requirements for the Lauder joint degree?

In addition to satisfying the MBA or JD degree requirements, Lauder students must satisfy the degree requirements for the MA degree. Please see Coursework to learn more about specific credit requirements.

Family Questions

I’m married and/or have a child. Is that common for students at Lauder, and how do they juggle the two?

Lauder provides a very supportive environment for students who have families. Two student clubs for MBA/MA students are the Wharton Partners Club and Wharton Kids Club.

Financial Aid, Tuition, and Fees

Does Lauder offer any type of financial aid or scholarships?

The Lauder Institute is committed to supporting candidates who are admitted to the joint-degree program. In addition to the financing options provided through Wharton and Penn Law, Lauder fellowships are also available for accepted students. Please see Tuition & Financial Aid for more information.

What are the financial implications of joining the Lauder Institute?

Tuition and fees for both programs are subject to change each year. Please refer to the Tuition & Financial Aid page for detailed information.

Does the Lauder Institute offer fellowships?

Yes, Lauder is committed to making the program accessible to all qualified students. Please see Tuition & Financial Aid to determine your eligibility for our fellowship programs.

The Application Process

Do I have to take the GMAT/GRE/LSAT for admission to the Lauder program?

MBA/MA Lauder applicants must submit results of GMAT or GRE scores. These scores can be self-reported in the application, and accepted students will be asked to submit official GRE/GMAT scores to the Wharton MBA Program Office. JD/MA Lauder applicants should submit their LSAT scores directly to Penn Law. For more admission requirements, please visit How to Apply.

Can I apply to Lauder as an undergraduate or graduate student?

Moelis applicants should apply to Lauder via the supplemental application in the year they plan on matriculating to Wharton. Contact the Moelis Program with questions.

How does the Lauder application process differ from that for a regular MBA or JD candidate?

For a complete list of application requirements, please see the How to Apply page.

Does the Lauder Admissions Committee evaluate the Lauder-specific question only?

The joint application for Lauder is evaluated in its entirety by both the Wharton or Penn Law and Lauder Admissions Committees.

I’m applying to the Lauder Institute but don’t see the Lauder essays. Are they available online?

Yes. Click through to the How to Apply page for detailed information.

When will new application materials be ready for Lauder?

The Wharton application with Lauder’s supplemental questions is available each year by mid-July. The JD/MA application will be posted on Lauder’s website by late summer. The Lauder essays will remain the same as last year, and these are currently available on our website.

Is the Lauder interview by invitation only? Is it mandatory for all applicants?

Both. Lauder interviews are granted by invitation only, based upon a full review of your application. For MBA/MA candidates, applicants must schedule both a Wharton interview, known as the team-based discussion, and a Lauder interview.

Are there other alternatives to interviewing on campus—for instance, over the phone or with an alumnus?

Yes, Lauder applicants have the option to interview on-campus in Philadelphia with a Lauder student or off-campus with a Lauder alumnus or member of the Lauder admissions committee. Under special circumstances a phone interview can also be arranged.

Can I apply for an exemption from taking the GMAT/GRE?

The GMAT/GRE or LSAT score is a requirement for admission, so, unfortunately, it cannot be waived. Incomplete applications will not be evaluated.

Does the Lauder Admissions Committee accept recommendation letters written in languages other than English?

All recommendations must be written in English. If they are written in another language, it is the applicant’s responsibility to have them translated by a certified language specialist. 


Is it possible to visit Lauder, participate in a recruiting event, and meet students?

Absolutely! Prospective students interested in applying to Lauder are encouraged to visit us to attend classes, meet with the admissions committee, and talk with current students. Please refer to the Visit page for details.

We also welcome you to join us at one of our admissions events either overseas or within the United States to learn more about Lauder.

Can visitors observe Lauder classes and activities?

Yes. Please schedule your visit in advance to guarantee an opportunity to sit in on classes and join in activities. See the Visit page for contact information.

(Acceptance at) Wharton or Penn Law Only

I have been accepted into the joint-degree MBA/MA Lauder program but no longer want/can participate in Lauder. Will I still be able to do Wharton only?

An admitted student can not request to separate the Lauder joint degree Program (MBA/MA) from the Wharton MBA and join the Wharton MBA Program only. If accepted to the Lauder program this is the only path to matriculation.

If I’m denied acceptance to the joint-degree program, would I still be considered for the regular MBA or JD program?

You will still be considered for the Wharton if your MBA/MA application is not viable for Lauder. Eligible candidates will be notified by Wharton Admissions of their decision.

The same process applies with the Penn Carey Law School and Lauder’s joint JD/MA program.

Can I apply to the joint degree Lauder program in tandem with Wharton and another joint program (e.g. Harvard Kennedy MPA, Healthcare Management program, etc.)

No. Due to credit hours and scheduling conflicts, applicants applying to the Wharton and Lauder programs may not combine it with other joint programs, including the Healthcare Management program at Wharton.

Contacting Current Students

Does the Lauder Institute offer student contact or student buddies to prospective students and, if so, how may I go about applying for this?

Yes. If you’re interested in corresponding with a current student, please send an email to Please let us know which Program of Concentration you’re interested in pursuing, and we’ll put you in touch with a current student in that program.

Reapplying to the Lauder Institute

I’m a reapplicant to Lauder. Do I need to submit a new OPI score? What process must I follow?

Lauder welcomes reapplicants. OPI scores are valid for only one admissions cycle, so Lauder reapplicants must submit a new OPI score. If you are interested in reapplying please familiarize yourself with Wharton’s and Penn Law’s reapplicant procedures and don’t hesitate to contact Lauder admissions with any questions.

The Degree

What are the advantages of earning a joint MBA/MA or JD/MA degree versus the Wharton MBA or Penn Law JD degree alone?

By combining a traditional MBA or JD with a master’s degree in International Studies, the Lauder Institute takes a uniquely integrated and focused approach to preparing future global business leaders. See The Degree to learn more about the benefits of our program.

The Program

Must Lauder students prepare a thesis? Must this thesis be in-language or focused on the region that a student is studying?

In lieu of a traditional MA thesis, Lauder students complete team research projects and papers, known collectively as the Global Knowledge Lab (GKL).

Why does the program start in May?

So that you graduate in 24 months, right alongside your Wharton or Penn Law classmates! The academic value of starting in May is that you complete some coursework and the summer immersion. See the How It Works section to learn more about how the two years as a Lauder student is structured.

Is it possible to pursue the Lauder program on a part-time basis?

No, the Lauder program cannot be pursued on a part-time basis and can be pursued only in conjunction with the full-time Wharton MBA Program or Penn Law JD Program.