Minimum Application Requirements

The LLM program is only open to students who will have already met at least one of the following professional/educational requirements by the time they enroll in the Law School in September:

  1. Obtained a JD degree from an ABA-approved law school in the United States.
  2. Be qualified to practice law (admitted to the bar) in a foreign country.
  3. Completed the university-based legal education required in a foreign country to take the bar examination in that country. In some countries candidates may be qualified to take the bar examination even though they do not have a traditional first degree in law. Those candidates may apply for our LL.M. Program but they should understand that this may be a disadvantage in the application review process.
  4. Completed the basic four year undergraduate law study in a Japanese university.

In addition to meeting at least one of the above requirements, applicants must also demonstrate sufficient proficiency with both written and spoken English. Since law schools will vary in the ways they determine if applicants meet this language requirement, prospective applicants to Chicago should review the following information carefully.

Prospective applicants should not submit a waiver request about the English language proficiency requirements to the LLM Admissions Office. They should either select the appropriate qualifying statement on the Application for Admission, take the TOEFL/IELTS exams, or describe their English language background in their personal statements.

Applicants can assume that they demonstrate sufficient English proficiency by either selecting one of the following statements on our Application for Admission or meeting the minimum TOEFL/IELTS requirements described below:

  1. My native language is English, and my legal education at the university level was conducted in English in an English-speaking country.
  2. Within the period of five years prior to the date of this application, I have been a full-time student for at least one academic year (nine months) in a university legal academic program conducted entirely in English in one of the following countries: the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada (English medium universities) or South Africa (English medium universities).
  3. My native language is not English, but my legal education at the university level was conducted entirely in English in one of the following countries: India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Hong Kong or Singapore. A statement from an official at my university verifying that English was the medium of instruction is part of my transcript or will be submitted with my transcript to LSAC or will be submitted as an email attachment to rbadger@uchicago.edu.  Distance learning programs located in the above five countries (the degree-granting university was in the UK, for example, and the student was in another country) do not meet this requirement.

Applicants who are not in a position to use one of above three responses may establish their English proficiency by providing TOEFL or IELTS test results with their applications. The results must be from an examination taken within two years of the date of the LLM application and must meet the following minimum requirements:

TOEFL: A cumulative score of at least 104 on the examination

IELTS: A cumulative score of at least 7.0 and sub scores of at least 7.0 on each of the four parts of the examination

There is no flexibility with these minimum score requirements. This means that if an application has TOEFL or IELTS scores below the minimum requirements, that application will be rejected without further review. Candidates may submit applications that do not meet the score requirements but they should indicate on their applications when they expect to take subsequent language tests.  The Committee does not offer conditional admission under any circumstances.

Every year there are a few applicants who do not have backgrounds which meet our English proficiency requirements (items 1-3 above) and who do not want to take the TOEFL or IELTS exams. Instead, they want to submit descriptions of their experience with English. Those applicants should attach to their application personal statements an explanation of their English language ability. Individual members of the Graduate Studies Committee who review those applications will then decide to what extent they will take those explanations into account in their decisions on those applications. Applicants who decide to use this method of establishing their English proficiency should understand that they will not receive a separate decision from the Committee on whether they met the English proficiency requirement.