The Basic Features of the LLM Program
The Law School offers both a Master of Laws (LLM) and Master of Comparative Law (MCompL). While nearly all students elect to receive the LLM, the MCompL will be awarded at the student's option. The requirements for both degrees are the same.
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. Most, however, also add offerings in areas like constitutional law, legal theory, law and economics, and comparative law to round out their academic experience. Other than an optional LLM writing course and two optional substantive courses designed specifically for LLM students in contracts and constitutional law, there are no courses in the curriculum just for LLM students. Most LLM students will have all of their classes with students in the JD program.
In recent years virtually all of the students admitted to the LL.M. program have been graduates of foreign law schools. This is a reflection not of a bias in favor of foreign law school graduates but rather a judgment by the Graduate Studies Committee that the Law School's small size and lack of graduate programs specializing in specific substantive areas make it unsuitable for most American law school graduates thinking of a second degree. Exceptions may be made for American law graduates whose research interests strongly correlate with those of a member of the faculty, and for whom graduate studies at this law school seem to be particularly appropriate.
The LLM degree is awarded to students who have successfully completed 27 course hours (generally nine courses) over three quarters while maintaining a grade point average of 170. 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.
It is a full-time course of study and students may only start in the Autumn Quarter (September).