Eligibility Requirements

Legal Education

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.
  4. Completed the basic four year undergraduate law study in a Japanese university.

English Language Proficiency

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.

Applicants whose native language is not English are required to submit either a TOEFL or IELTS score, the results of which must be from an examination taken within two years of the date of the LLM application and meet the following minimum requirements:

TOEFL: A cumulative score of at least 104 on one administration of the examination. We do not accept MyBest™ Scores.

IELTS: A cumulative score of at least 7.5 and sub scores of at least 7.0 on each of the four parts of the examination

*Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, exclusively for applications for the LLM starting Autumn 2021, the TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition will be accepted.  However, the IELTS Indicator, TOEFL ITP Plus, and Duolingo will not accepted. 

For those candidates whose native language is not English, but English has been a primary language of communication and schooling for you since childhood; or you were enrolled for at least one academic year in full-time status in a course of study at an accredited English-medium post-secondary institution in one of the following countries or territories within the past ten years: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Hong Kong, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Singapore, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom, the United States you will have the opportunity to indicate this on your application if you do not intend to submit a TOEFL or IELTS. 

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.

Every year there are applicants who do not have backgrounds which meet our English proficiency requirements 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. Students in the LLM Program without TOEFL or IELTS scores are not given additional time on Law School examinations.