LL.M. Degree Requirements
To earn the LL.M. degree, candidates must:
- Earn 24 points of academic credit. Academic point credit is earned by satisfactory completion of a course, seminar or other academic activity with a grade of C or better, or with a grade of CR in courses or activities permitting or requiring grading on a credit/fail (CR/F) scale, such as Introduction to American Law (IAL) and Legal Research and Writing (LRW). Of the 24 points of academic credit required for the degree,
- Satisfactorily complete Introduction to American Law (IAL) and LL.M. Legal Research and Writing (LR&W), except those who have earned a J.D. from a U.S. law school or those who opt out of the courses pursuant to the program’s rules for opting out. IAL is graded on a credit/fail (CR/F) basis. LRW is graded on a Pass, Low Pass, or Fail basis.
- Complete the LL.M. Writing Project requirements (see LL.M. Writing Project Requirement and Supervised Research at left).
- Earn a grade point average (GPA) of 2.67 (B-) or better, or a preponderance of B-or-better grades; if an LL.M. candidate fails more than one course or seminar, the student's candidacy will be terminated automatically and the student will not earn the degree. Grades earned in courses taken outside of the Law School, either in another division of Columbia University or as part of the CLS/NYU Law Exchange, will not be factored into either calculation.
The academic program of all candidates for graduate degrees are subject to the approval of the Dean of Graduate Legal Studies.
Dates for award of the LL.M. degree fall in May, October, and February. LL.M. candidates who expect to receive the degree in May must file a degree application by Dec. 1. The deadline to apply for the October degree is Aug. 1, and Nov. 15 for the February degree. Students who do not complete the requirements for the degree are responsible for applying for the next degree conferral date. Degree application forms are available in the Office of Registration Services or on their website.
LL.M. candidates who receive a grade of incomplete (IN) in the fall semester must complete and submit the work by April 1. The due date for completion of all spring semester work is the last day of spring classes. October degree candidates must complete and submit all work by Sept. 1, and February degree candidates must complete and submit all work by Dec. 31.
Please note: No LL.M. candidacy will be extended or renewed beyond the second award date subsequent to the termination of the candidate’s period of residence, i.e., February for candidates going out of residence in May. Of course, every candidate registered for the LL.M. degree is strongly urged to complete all work in time to receive the degree in May of the year of residence.
Class Attendance and Preparation
LL.M. candidates are expected to attend and be prepared for all classes, beginning with the first meeting of IAL on Wednesday, August 13. In order to receive credit for IAL, students cannot miss more than two (2) meetings of the course. Adequate preparation of assignments and informed participation in class discussion are expected of every student. The quality of a student’s preparation and of the in-class discussion participation may be considered by the instructor, without special notice, in determining the student’s grade in the course. Regular attendance is expected of every student at all meetings of the other courses in which he or she is registered, and many instructors factor absences into the final grade if a student has more than two or three unexcused absences (i.e., for illness). If a student has excessive absences in a course, academic credit cannot be earned and a final grade of Failure may be recorded.
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The performance of LL.M. candidates in courses, seminars, and research papers is indicated by the letters A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, C and F. If a candidate fails an examination and is given permission to repeat it, he or she will not receive a grade higher than C the second time, and the transcript will include a notation that this grade is the result of re-examination. LL.M. candidates who fail more than one course offering may not graduate and their candidacy will terminate automatically. To qualify for the degree, LL.M. candidates must earn a grade point average of 2.67 (B-) or better, or a preponderance of B or better grades, and may not fail more than one course or seminar. Grades earned in courses taken outside of the Law School, either in another division of Columbia University or as part of the CLS/NYU Law Exchange, will not be factored into either calculation.
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Exams, Petitions for Exceptions to Academic Rules, and other Academic Procedures
For information on exam regulations, petitions for exceptions to the academic rules, and other academic procedures, see the Registration Services page on Academic Procedures.
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Instruction and Research in Other Schools
While there are no joint degrees at the LL.M. degree level, LL.M. students are permitted to register for up to six points of graduate level courses in other departments of the University when such work is deemed appropriate and relevant to their academic programs, and subject to the following limitations:
- Credits earned in foreign language courses, even if offered by the Law School or listed on the law school’s curriculum schedule, do not count toward the 24 points required to earn the LL.M. degree.
- The LL.M. Writing Project requirement cannot be fulfilled in courses taken outside of the law school.
- All courses taken outside the law school must be graded on the A-B-C-F scale. Grades lower than C will not be accepted for credit toward the LL.M.
- The number of academic credits awarded for courses taken at another school or division of Columbia is limited to the actual number of hours a class meets per week, irrespective of the number of credits listed in that school’s catalogue (e.g., a three-credit course which meets for two hours each week yields two credits, not three). An exception to this rule occurs when the other school assigns fewer credits than the number of hours the course meets each week; in that case, the student will earn the number of credits assigned to that course by the school (e.g., a two-credit course which meets for three hours each week yields two credits, not three).
If a student chooses to take a course at a school outside Columbia University in the absence of an agreement between that school and Columbia, he or she must do so with the understanding that payment for such a course will not be deducted from any tuition owed to Columbia University, nor will any credits earned at the other institution supplant any of the credits required for the Columbia University degree.
For a complete list of Columbia University schools, visit the Columbia University website. The University’s directory of classes is available at www.columbia.edu/cu/bulletin/uwb.
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