Financial Assistance, Fellowships, and Loans
Financial Assistance for Graduate Legal Studies
Fellowships Requiring a Separate Application
Fellowships and Scholarships for Stated Purposes
Financial Assistance for Graduate Legal Studies
The Law School has limited funds for financial assistance for graduate legal studies. Financial assistance is given in the form of full or partial waivers of tuition primarily on the basis of financial need. These awards generally cover only a portion of the total amount required for tuition and living expenses. Recipients of financial assistance use the awards toward their studies or research as LL.M. or J.S.D. candidates; they generally are not required to render service to the university or to the donor of the award, but are expected to devote their time to their own work. There is no general restriction, as a condition of the awards, on publications, study, or research, but recipients are expected to focus their work on the subjects they emphasize in their applications. Because of the limited funding available for assistance and the high cost of attending law school in the United States, prospective applicants are encouraged to begin seeking other sources of funds before commencing the application process.
Only incoming students who have applied for financial assistance will be considered for an award. Applicants who do not submit the Application for Financial Assistance with their application for admission will not be considered for financial aid, even if they request it after the deadline.
Fellowships Requiring a Separate Application
The Appel Fellowship, Appel Research Fellowship and the Human Rights Fellowship described below require an application as per the instructions given for each of them. The Appel Fellowship and Research Fellowship and the Human Rights Fellowship essays should accompany your application for admission and reach the Office of Graduate Legal Studies on or before Dec. 17 (all can be uploaded to the online application).
The Appel Fellowship on the Regulation of the Multinational Enterprise
Established in 2001 by Mark Appel, the Appel Fellowship awards an annual prize, up to full tuition for one academic year, to a candidate for the LL.M. or J.S.D. degree who intends to focus his or her research at Columbia Law School on regulatory or policy issues emerging from the trans-boundary operations of multinational or transnational enterprises. Topics may include issues relating to, for example, corporate governance, labor issues, environmental concerns, or human rights. The Fellow, selected from applicants to the Law School, is expected to participate in a relevant research seminar culminating in a workshop on the subject that brings to the Law School prominent scholars and practitioners.
To apply for the Appel Fellowship, submit a complete application for admission to the LL.M. program and a separate two-page essay describing your background, interest in this area of law, and the research you would undertake at the Law School if you are awarded the fellowship. Label the first page of your essay “Application for Appel Fellowship,” and make sure your name is on both pages of the essay.
The Appel Research Scholarship
Established in 2001 by Mark Appel, the Appel Research Scholar receives a $1,000 grant for each academic semester during which the individual engages in supervised research on behalf of a Columbia faculty member on a topic that relates to regulatory or policy issues emerging from the trans-boundary operations of multinational (or transnational) enterprises.
Human Rights LL.M. Fellowship
Columbia Law School’s Human Rights LL.M. Fellowship supports students in its Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree program who show exceptional commitment and potential to use their education to become innovators and leaders in human rights practice or academia. LL.M. Human Rights Fellows are expected to devote a significant part of their studies to human rights. Only students admitted to Columbia’s LL.M. program will be considered for the Fellowship. Applicants are expected to have at least two years of experience in human rights advocacy and/or teaching and a proven intention to do such work following completion of the program. Students from Africa, Asia and Latin America, or whose gender or sexual orientation creates impediments to education and leadership in their countries are strongly encouraged to apply.
Full fellowships provide a full tuition waiver and a stipend to help defray living costs for the academic year. Partial fellowships are awarded when the recipient has outside funding (such as Fulbright) or under other special circumstances. At least three fellowships will be awarded annually.
The application consists of a completed application for admission to the LL.M. program; a separate, short essay of one to two pages, describing the applicant’s current and previous human rights work and goals for activity in this area for the next five years; a résumé or CV; and two letters of recommendation from professors or human rights practitioners, who can comment knowledgeably about the applicant’s human rights commitment, experience and plans. (Letters of recommendation submitted for the LL.M. application should be used only if they comment on human rights work and commitment.) Submit this material to the Office of Graduate Legal Studies at Columbia Law School with the LL.M. application. Please be sure that the Human Rights Fellowship materials are clearly marked as such and that the essay clearly shows your name. The application must be postmarked no later than Dec. 17.
For more information about the Human Rights Institute or the Human Rights Fellowship Program, contact the Institute via email or telephone at:
Human Rights Institute
Columbia Law School
435 W. 116th Street, Box B-28
New York, N.Y. 10027
Fellowships and Scholarships for Stated Purposes
Applicants requesting financial assistance are automatically considered for all other fellowships described below; it is not necessary to request consideration for any particular one.
Charles B. Bretzfelder Constitutional Law Scholarship Fund
Established in 1980 by Helen Bretzfelder in memory of her father, Charles B. Bretzfelder, this scholarship fund is for J.D. candidates and graduate students specializing or doing exceptional work in constitutional law. The selection shall be made solely on the basis of scholarship and financial need.
Charles B. Bretzfelder International Law Scholarship Fund
Established in 1980 by Helen Bretzfelder in memory of her father, Charles B. Bretzfelder, this scholarship fund is for J.D. candidates and graduate students specializing or doing exceptional work in international law. The selection shall be made solely on the basis of scholarship and financial need.
Burton Memorial Fellowship
This fellowship was established in 1968 by friends of the late Robert J. Burton, Law '37, who was president of Broadcast Music, Inc. The fellowship provides a stipend commensurate with need and is awarded annually to a graduate student of law for study and research on copyright or other laws affecting music, art, literature, or other products of the mind, or on laws affecting communications.
Chamberlain Fellowship in Legislation
This fellowship was established in 1953 by Thomas I. Parkinson in honor of Joseph Perkins Chamberlain, Ph.D. '23, Law '29, a member of the Faculty of Law from 1927 to 1950 and director of the Legislative Drafting Research Fund from 1919 to 1951. The fellowship is for study and research in the legislative development of the law and is awarded annually under regulations made by the Faculty of Law. The program of a Chamberlain Fellow is subject to approval by the director of the Legislative Drafting Research Fund and will normally be executed in connection with the work of that office. Fellows are appointed upon nomination made by the director of the Fund. The fellowship is open to LL.M. applicants, third-year students, and graduates of the School of Law, to graduates of other schools of law, and to other qualified persons. It is not required that the holder be a candidate for a graduate degree.
W. Bayard Cutting, Jr. Fellowship
This fellowship was established in 1912 by W. Bayard Cutting, 1871, in memory of his son, W. Bayard Cutting, Jr. '04, to support study in the field of international law.
Herman N. Finkelstein Memorial Fellowship Fund
This fund was established in 1978 by family and friends in memory of Herman N. Finkelstein, Law '24, one of the first recipients of a Doctor of the Science of Law (J.S.D.) degree. The fund is primarily designed to provide support for a J.S.D. candidate.
Wolfgang G. Friedmann Memorial Fellowship
This fellowship was established in 1976 by friends and colleagues in memory of Wolfgang G. Friedmann, Professor of International Law and Director of International Legal Research at Columbia. The Fellowship is awarded to students from foreign countries, particularly less developed countries, for the study of international law at Columbia, or to law school graduates for study abroad at institutions stressing transnational law.
Fubon Fellowship Fund
This fund was established in 2005 by Fubon Financial to provide fellowships to LL.M. students enrolled in the Law School, with a preference for students from greater China.
Joseph V. Heffernan Fellowship
This fellowship was established in 1980 by Marion and Joseph V. Heffernan, Law '35. The students selected shall be enrolled in the Graduate Legal Studies Program exclusively.
Established in 1924 by Newbold Morris, 1891, in memory of his father, Augustus Newbold Morris, Columbia College 1860, Law 1864, the fellowship is awarded to a student of public or private law who may be a candidate for the J.S.D. degree.
Julius Silver Fellowship in Law, Science, and Technology
This fellowship was established in 1984 by Julius Silver, Law '24, to support graduate students studying legal issues involved in science, health care, and technology.
Lawrence A. Wien Prize and Fellowship in Corporate Social Responsibility
Established in 1981 by Lawrence A. Wien, Law '27, the Wien Program is jointly administered by the School of Law and Columbia Business School. The program awards an annual prize to recognize corporations, professional associations, nonprofit organizations, or educational institutions that contribute to the well-being of society at the national or local level through enlightened philanthropic policies. Contributions must be sustained over time and expressed both by financial generosity and non-material support patterns, which include long-range planning and evaluation of philanthropic endeavors, innovative approaches to corporate giving, and the encouragement of participation by employees and other organizations. Several fellowships, named each year in honor of the recipient of the Wien Prize, are provided annually to outstanding law and business students whose scholarly and professional activities demonstrate their involvement in questions of the responsibility of business to social concerns such as the arts, energy and the environment, and social services.
Center for Law and Economic Studies Fellowship
Support for graduate students with a strong interest in interdisciplinary work is available through the Columbia University Center for Law and Economic Studies, as described in the Research Centers and Enrichment Programs section.
Back to top
When seeking funding from outside sources, you may want to inquire with the following foundations, as students in the graduate legal studies program have noted in the past that these foundations have been helpful in their search. Please note that many require application well in advance of your intended start date for graduate study (as many as eighteen (18) months in advance), including Fulbright, so you should inquire as early as possible. A list of further sources, while by no means exhaustive, is available at http://llm-guide.com/funding-your-llm.
AAUW (formerly known as the American Association of University Women)
Since 1881, the American Association of University Women (AAUW) has been the nation's leading voice promoting education and equity for women and girls, lifelong education, and positive societal change. One of the world's largest sources of funding exclusively for graduate women, the AAUW Educational Foundation supports aspiring scholars around the globe, teachers and activists in local communities, women at critical stages of their careers, and those pursuing professions where women are underrepresented.
The American-Scandinavian Foundation (ASF) offers over $500,000 in funding to Scandinavians to undertake study or research programs (usually at the graduate level) in the United States for up to one year. Candidates for awards are recommended to the ASF by their cooperating organizations. Awards are made in all fields. Cooperating organizations:
The Denmark-America Foundation
The League of Finnish-American Societies
The Icelandic-American Society
The Norway-America Association
The Sweden-America Foundation
In 1997 the Trustees of the New Zealand Law Foundation unanimously determined to mark the centenary of the admission of Ethel Benjamin as the first woman barrister and solicitor by establishing this scholarship as a merit-based award to outstanding women scholars who are citizens or permanent residents of New Zealand.
The Foundation Center, an independent, nonprofit information clearinghouse established in 1956, is an excellent source of information on grants. The Center's mission is to foster public understanding of the foundation by collecting, organizing, analyzing, and disseminating information on foundations, corporate giving, and related subjects.
Fulbright grants are administered by the Institute of International Education, and typically require an application up to a year in advance of your LL.M. application.
Fundação Estudar (Brazil)
Fundação Estudar is a merit-based scholarship program for Brazilian students which in addition to the scholarship, provides Career Development and Networking programs for its scholars, both during and after their academic experiences. Brazilian students already accepted in the best undergraduate programs and MBA, MA, MSc, LLM, MPA and MPP programs, with great intellectual and professional potential, leadership spirit, entrepreneurial drive and commitment to Brazil are eligible to apply. 2009 applications for graduate programs will be accepted from January 1st to March 31st.
The purpose of the William Georgetti Scholarships is to encourage postgraduate study and research, normally in New Zealand, in a field that, in the opinion of the Scholarship Board, is important to the social, cultural or economic development of New Zealand.
The Inlaks Foundation was created in 1976. The major objective of the Foundation is to identify exceptionally talented young Indian students and support them financially to develop their special skill and talents to the maximum. It achieves this by awarding scholarships to outstanding young students to continue their post-graduate study/research abroad.
MMMF was established in 1981 to honor the late Margaret McNamara and her commitment to the well-being of women and children in developing countries. The purpose of the grant is to support the education of women from developing countries who are committed to improving the lives of women and children in their home countries.
Established by the US Congress in 1992 to encourage economic and democratic growth in Eurasia, the Edmund S. Muskie Graduate Fellowship Program is a program of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the US Department of State, and administered by IREX. The program provides opportunities for graduate students and professionals from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan for one-year non-degree, one-year degree or two-year degree study in the United States. Eligible fields of study for the Muskie Program are: business administration, economics, education, environmental management, international affairs, journalism and mass communication, law, library and information science, public administration, public health, and public policy.
The Inter-American Agency for Cooperation and Development (IACD) of the Organization of American States (OAS) administers one of the hemisphere's largest multinational fellowships and training programs. Every year, the Agency provides several hundred fellowships for graduate studies and research at educational institutions and training centers in OAS Member and Observer States. In addition, the Leo S. Rowe Pan American Fund, a student loan program of the OAS , awards educational loans to qualified persons from Latin American and Caribbean countries, to help them finance their higher studies in the United States. These loans are made on the understanding that when the recipients have completed their studies they will return to their respective home countries to assist in their countries' development and further their welfare.
P.E.O. (Philanthropic Educational Organization) was founded in January 1869 by seven students at Iowa Wesleyan College. P.E.O. exists to be a source of encouragement and support for women to realize their potential in whatever worthwhile endeavor they choose. True to the mission of promoting educational opportunities for women, education continues to be the primary philanthropy of the P.E.O. Sisterhood. The P.E.O. International Peace Scholarship (IPS) Fund was established in 1949 to provide scholarships for international women students to pursue graduate study in the United States and Canada.
The Ambassadorial Scholarships, the Rotary Foundation's oldest and best-known program, was founded in 1947. Since then, nearly 38,000 men and women from about 100 nations have studied abroad under its auspices. The purpose of the Ambassadorial Scholarships program is to further international understanding and friendly relations among people of different countries and geographical areas. The program sponsors several types of scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students as well as for qualified professionals pursuing vocational studies. While abroad, scholars serve as goodwill ambassadors to the host country and give presentations about their homelands to Rotary clubs and other groups. Upon returning home, scholars share with Rotarians and others the experiences that led to a greater understanding of their host country.
SRF provides fellowship grants for scholars whose lives or careers are threatened in their home countries. The fellowships support temporary academic positions at universities, colleges and other higher learning institutions in safe locations anywhere in the world. Fellowship periods of up to one calendar year are intended to allow the scholars to continue their important work pending improvement in conditions allowing their safe return home.
Yvonne A M Smith Scholarship (New Zealand)
The Yvonne A M Smith Charitable Trust, which funds the scholarship, has been promoting an annual scholarship for the advancement of the education of women graduates who wish to embark upon Masters or Doctoral studies. Preference is given to the subject areas of political studies, economics, business and law, as well as to candidates who demonstrate potential for leadership and a desire for the promotion of women in decision making roles.
The JN Tata Endowment was set up in 1892 by the founder of the Tata group, Jamsetji N Tata, to encourage young people to take up higher studies at some of the best universities in the world. For the past 114 years the Endowment has been helping scholars of merit to realize their dreams of a world class education through its loan scholarship program. The scholarships are awarded for higher studies abroad in all disciplines and subjects. Annually, the Endowment selects around 120 meritorious scholars through a rigorous selection process, for the award of the prestigious JN Tata Endowment scholarships for higher studies abroad. Over the years several JN Tata scholars have distinguished themselves in various walks of life. The Endowment awards only loan scholarships. However, the selected scholars may also qualify for a gift award.
Back to top
Students who do not receive financial assistance from the Graduate Legal Studies Program or who receive an amount insufficient to cover all their expenses may look into any loans for which they may be eligible. For more information, students should visit the Law School Financial Aid Office’s website or contact the Financial Aid Office directly at:
Office of Financial Aid
Columbia Law School
435 West 116th Street, Box A-4
New York, N.Y. 10027
The Financial Aid Office provides information only on loans for students in the Graduate Legal Studies Program; please do not contact them for information on tuition waivers or stipend awards.
Back to top