The LL.M. Program is a one-year, full-time program beginning in the fall semester. It is an opportunity for our students to specialize in fields not fully covered in their previous law work; to broaden their knowledge of their current field of practice; or to explore new areas of interest in legal practice.
The key to a satisfying and enriching LL.M. experience is student choice. Columbia offers a general LL.M. degree, giving students much freedom to select their courses from the Law School’s incredibly rich curriculum. A Columbia LL.M. degree can comprise a wide variety of subjects or have a more narrow focus; there are no study “tracks.” We help our students design an individual program of study to meet their academic and professional goals—whether to broaden their general preparation, specialize in a particular field or acquire knowledge of the American legal system, international law or other legal systems. The courses and seminars open to LL.M. students are generally those open to J.D. students in the second and third years. Additionally, all LL.M. candidates except those who hold a J.D. from a U.S. law school are required to take an introductory course on the common law and the American legal system as well as a course on legal research and writing offered uniquely for LL.M. candidates during the month of August. To view the full list of course offerings, see the online Curriculum Guide.
We actively seek to engage international students with their American counterparts. LL.M. students sit alongside J.D. students in classes and seminars, a mix that promotes an exchange of fresh ideas and perspectives. Moreover, the LL.M. and J.D. students work together on many extra-curricular activities, further enhancing their academic experiences.
LL.M. candidates are required to earn 24 points of academic credit and complete an LL.M. Writing Project. While LL.M. candidates are not required to submit a thesis, they can write up to eight points of independent research toward the 24 points required for the degree—sufficient to produce publishable work if they are so inclined. Moreover, they can earn up to six points of academic credit toward the degree in graduate courses taken in other faculties of the university.
Our students capitalize on the wealth of academic opportunities available to them—such as our clinics in human rights or mediation, courses in African law or corporate finance, and externships in arts law or the United Nations. And many supplement their academic pursuits by working closely with faculty as research assistants, participating in a community-service program, serving on the Student Senate or the editorial board of a law journal, joining or creating a student organization, and indulging in the infinite resources and marvels of New York City.
LL.M. students also benefit from being part of a great university. They can attend the thousands of special lectures, workshops, seminars, and programs hosted by the university each year, including the annual World Leaders Forum, and can work on research projects with professors in other divisions. In addition, as mentioned above, LL.M. students are allowed to take classes in other departments and schools, such as the Columbia Business School, the School of International and Public Affairs or the School of Journalism, making the LL.M. a truly interdisciplinary degree.
Application Procedure for LL.M. Admissions:
Applications for admission to our 2016-2017 LL.M. program and all supporting documents must be submitted through LSAC. We will no longer accept supporting documents by mail or email. Regretfully, any application items submitted directly to the Graduate Legal Studies office will be discarded.
For additional information on applying through LSAC and other services LSAC offers, please visit the LSAC website. Columbia's online application through LSAC will be available in mid-September. Until then, applicants are encouraged to begin gathering (and submitting) their supporting documents for their LSAC Credential Assembly Service (CAS) Report.