Program Related Questions
When does the Program begin?
Students can begin the LLM Program only at the beginning of the academic year in September. There is no mid-year admission. The deadline to apply to start the program in September is December 15.
Can I do a specialized LLM at Chicago?
Unlike a number of other law schools, the University of Chicago does not offer specialized graduate degree programs with a large number of graduate courses in a particular field such as taxation or securities regulation. There are no specific courses that LLM students are required to take at Chicago, nor are there courses they may not take. This means that students have the flexibility to create their own programs. LLM students often put together course and seminar schedules that reflect certain practice specialties such as corporate/securities, intellectual property, antitrust/regulation of business or commercial transactions among others. Most, however, also add other offerings in areas like constitutional law, legal theory, law & economics and comparative law to round out their academic experience.
Is there a dissertation requirement?
There is no dissertation or major paper requirement in the LLM Program. However, the strong orientation of the faculty toward research provides students with unusually good opportunities and LLM students often do independent research projects or major seminar papers with members of the faculty.
What is the cost of the Program?
Tuition for the 2015-2016 academic year is $56,916. A reasonable budget for a single student, including tuition and living expenses, for the 2015-2016 academic year is $82,569.
I would like to have a career practicing law in the United States. Should I apply to LL.M. programs? Long term positions (more than one year) for foreign-trained lawyers in the United States are extremely difficult to obtain because LL.M. students are competing for the same positions with U.S. trained J.D. students who have spent three years studying law in this country. An additional hurdle for non U.S. citizens is that employers must sponsor them for a different immigration status and that process can be expensive. Foreign-trained lawyers who hope to obtain such long term positions practicing law in the U. S. are well advised to apply to J.D. programs rather than LL.M. programs.
Application Related Questions
What qualifications must I have to apply to the LLM Program?
The LLM Program is limited to students who have already met at least one of the following requirements by the time they enroll in the LL.M. Program: (1) obtained a J.D. degree from an A.B.A. approved law school in the United States; (2) completed in a foreign country the academic (university based) legal education required to take the bar examination in that country or (3) be qualified to practice law (admitted to the bar) in a foreign country.
What are the English language requirements to apply?
The required minimum score on the TOEFL is 104 and the required minimum scores on the IELTS are 7.0 on each sub score and a 7.0 overall score. The TOEFL or IELTS scores must be from an examination taken within two years of the date of the application.
Although I live in a country where English is not the first language, I have studied English for many years in my home country. May I have a TOEFL or IELTS waiver?
The TOEFL and IELTS will not be necessary if the applicant studied law in a full-time status for at least one academic year prior to the date of application, within five years of the date of application, in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, or English medium universities in Canada or South Africa. Students who have studied in English in other countries, for example, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Singapore, African countries, etc., are not exempt from this requirement and must provide either TOEFL or IELTS scores with their applications - this requirement will be waived automatically at the time of application review if all the candidate's university law courses were conducted entirely in English and the applicant provides with the application for admission documentation from his or her university verifying that. This documentation can be stated on a law school transcript or submitted separately as a recommendation letter by a law school administrator. Distance learning programs - the degree granting university was in the UK, for example, and the student was in another country - do not qualify for this automatic waiver.
I do not meet any of the stated qualifications for the automatic waiver of the TOEFL or IELTS exams. Can I still apply without those test results? Since we have had some unfortunate situations in the past with applicants claiming English proficiency, our Graduate Studies Committee established very clear rules for who will qualify for an automatic waiver of the TOEFL or the IELTS exams. If you can select one of the first three responses to our English language question on the application, a waiver will be granted. If not, there is no automatic waiver. If you do decide to apply without a TOEFL or IELTS score, you should attach to your personal statement an explanation of your English language ability. Individual members of the Graduate Studies Committee who review your application will then decide to what extent they will take your explanation into account in their decision on your application. If you are offered admission and decide to attend our program, you will not be granted additional time on our examinations unless you have provided a TOEFL or IELTS score with your application.
My TOEFL or IELTS scores are slightly below the University of Chicago requirement. Will I still be considered for LLM admission?
The Law School Graduate Studies Committee sets the minimum English language proficiency standard for admission. This means that the Committee will not review an application with TOEFL or IELTS scores below the minimum requirements. Those applicants will not be offered admission. The Committee does not offer conditional admission under any circumstances.
How do I request an application?
Please go here to read about our application procedures. We do not send out any printed application materials. Applicants must submit their applications and all supporting documents through the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) LLM Credential Assembly Service.
How may I obtain a waiver of the application fee?
The Law School does not waive its $75 application fee for the LLM Program. Since funds to support students in the LLM program are exceedingly limited and grants are available only in a small portion of the total cost, we cannot encourage prospective applicants to apply here if they are not in a position to pay the application fee.
What do I need to do if I applied last year and would like to reapply this year?
Application files are not retained after the year in which a candidate has applied. New application materials must be submitted. Since the Law School Admission Council retains material for several years applicants may be able to access their earlier materials there through the LSAC LL.M. service. A new Application for Admission with supporting documents will have to be submitted through LSAC.
What are my chances of being admitted to the LLM Program?
Each year the Law School receives approximately 950 applications for the 70 positions in the LLM program. Admission decisions for the LLM program are based primarily on two factors: 1) the ability of the applicant to flourish in a demanding academic program as evidenced by the prior academic and professional record, and English proficiency; and 2) the extent to which the applicant's personal characteristics indicate that he/she will be active and engaged in the intellectual and social life of
the Law School.
How do I apply for financial aid?
Admitted applicants who wish to be considered for financial assistance from the Law School will be asked at the time of admission to supply information about their own and their family's financial circumstances. Funds to support students in the LLM program are exceedingly limited. Grants are available only in a small portion of the total cost. Therefore, applicants requiring financial aid should make every effort to obtain assistance from their governments or other outside sources.
Can I visit the Law School?
Prospective LL.M. candidates are welcome to visit the Law School. Since so few candidates visit, given their distance from Chicago, there are no special arrangements for them as there are for J.D. candidates, but LL.M. candidates are free to take advantage of the opportunities provided to the J.D. candidates – please see http://www.law.uchicago.edu/prospectives/visit . While there are no formal programs for candidates to meet members of the faculty or others involved in the LL.M. admissions process, if an LL.M. admissions staff member is available during your visit, that person will try to answer questions you might have. We will expect that you will have already read the information on our web page about our LL.M. Program so that we will not need to discuss material that is already available to you.
Once I complete the LLM Program, can I transfer to the J.D. Program?
Yes, you may apply to the J.D. Program and, if admitted, receive one year's credit for your studies in the LLM Program. Please go to http://www.law.uchicago.edu/prospectives/transfer for a detailed description of the transfer application process. Please note that if you are currently enrolled in our LLM Program you will not have to pay the application fee nor take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT).