Indoor group photo of LLM students with faculty and staff.
LL.M. in U.S. Legal Studies
Important Dates

January 12, 2015
First Day of
LL.M.-U.S. Legal Classes

November 1, 2014
Application Deadline for Spring Semester

January 20, 2015
First Day of
Law School Classes

Individualized attention, integration with US law students, an extensive and flexible program of study, reasonable costs, and an outstanding faculty and location: these are just a few aspects of the LL.M. Program in U.S. Legal Studies that foreign law graduates can expect from the UConn Law.

The U.S. Legal Studies LL.M. Program at UConn Law accepts only a small number of highly qualified foreign law graduates each year—normally a class of between (20) and (30) students. This ensures that all admitted candidates receive individualized attention from both the faculty and staff throughout their stay. Virtually all classes are taken with J.D. students and the Law School offers among the best student-faculty ratios of any law school in the United States (11:1) as well as a dedicated staff focusing specifically on the needs of international students. 

Choosing from the approximately 150 courses offered annually, international students can design their own program of study or, if they wish, obtain a certificate of specialization in Energy and Environmental Regulation, International Human Rights, Intellectual Property, Insurance Law, or Tax Law. Our faculty includes recognized experts in all these fields, but perhaps more importantly, many of them also have significant experience teaching at law schools throughout the world, which further demonstrates the Law School’s commitment to the international law student.

Flexibility and reasonable costs are hallmarks of our LL.M. program. The course of study may be pursued over two or, with permission, three semesters, and admitted students may start in either the fall (late August) or spring (January) semesters. As a state-supported institution our program fees are among the lowest of any top-tier law school in the United States. LL.M. students who obtain good grades may also apply to our J.D. program without having to take the LSAT, and if accepted, can transfer most of their LL.M. credits to their J.D. program. Additional information about LL.M.-J.D. transfer can be found here. The Law School has also established a new S.J.D. program for a small, select group of LL.M. graduates who wish to spend several years on in-depth scholarly research and writing. Additional information about the S.J.D. program can be found on the admissions section of the UConn Law website.

UConn Law is located in Hartford, Connecticut in the historic New England region, just two hours from both New York and Boston. Hartford is the capital of the insurance industry in the United States and the Law School’s location provides access to some of the largest financial services firms in the world. Cultural and recreational activities also abound, whether in greater Hartford or further afield, including numerous museums and performing art centers. The extraordinary beauty and history of New England will be on your doorstep, including small villages, pristine beaches, and major mountain ranges, all of which are easily accessible from Hartford. The Law School itself is located in the residential West End of Hartford, on a lovely gothic-style campus that is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

The International Programs Office invites you to explore the website for more information. Application information can be found in the How to Apply section. For further inquiries or information on visiting our campus, please contact gradstudies@law.uconn.edu or call 1-860-570-5392. We promise you quick responses to your questions and a warm welcome upon your arrival.

The LL.M. program in U.S. Legal Studies may be pursued on a full-time basis over two consecutive semesters, beginning in the fall term which starts in late August and in the spring term which starts in mid January. The program can be completed in two or, with permission, three semesters.  LL.M. candidates are required to complete courses in U.S. Law and Legal Institutions and Legal Writing, and at least 20 additional credit hours, for a minimum of 24 credits. As described below, 2-3 of these credits should satisfy the mandatory writing requirement. LL.M. candidates are required to maintain a C+ average, and obtain a minimum grade of C+ on the writing requirement. In consultation with the faculty, LL.M. students design a course of study in their areas of interest. A major purpose of the U.S. Legal Studies program is enabling students to explore a range of subject areas as well as concentrating in a particular field of law. This flexibility encourages students to study new legal areas for the first time, as well as to further their specialization in particular subjects.  To encourage students to take advantage of a diverse faculty with different backgrounds and teaching styles, LL.M. students may not take more than one course a semester from the same professor without approval of the LL.M. Director or their designee.

Writing Requirement

LL.M. students must satisfy a 2-3 credit writing requirement as part of their degree program. The paper must be on a topic approved by the director of graduate programs, and written on a graded basis. There are several ways the writing requirement can be fulfilled:

  • Writing a thesis, as described below,
  • In conjunction with a class that requires a substantial paper (minimum 20 page length),
  • With the permission of the instructor at the beginning of the course, substituting a substantial paper for an examination,
  • As a special research project of not less than two credits supervised by a full-time or adjunct faculty member,*
  • Writing a piece certified to be published or nearly publishable by the faculty advisor of the Connecticut Law Review, the Connecticut Journal of International Law, the Connecticut Public Interest Law Journal, or the Connecticut Insurance Law Journal

*If you are planning to sit for a Bar Exam in the US and are interested in independent study, please review the Bar Exam requirements to make sure independent study would be considered eligible credit.

Thesis

LL.M. students may, at their option, write a thesis for 3 credits that satisfies the writing requirement. A thesis is a substantial paper that is of publishable or near publishable quality, and involves supervised drafts. LL.M. students must write a thesis if they wish to be considered for honors. A thesis can be written in two ways:

  • As part of a 3 credit course with permission of the instructor, who acts as the thesis advisor,
  • As a special 3 credit research project supervised by a full-time faculty member.*

*If you are planning to sit for a Bar Exam in the US and are interested in independent study, please review the Bar Exam requirements to make sure independent study would be considered eligible credit.

Honors Designation

LL.M. students are eligible to graduate with honors under the following conditions:

  • Obtain a minimum 3.3 grade point average,
  • Write a thesis and obtain a grade of A or A- as determined by the faculty advisor, and
  • The thesis must also be submitted to a 3-member faculty panel composed of the thesis advisor, the director of the Program and a faculty member chosen jointly by the student and the advisor. The panel would not alter the faculty advisor's grade, but would make the final determination whether the thesis was of honors quality. The panel serves as a screening process to help ensure a level of uniformity in determining what constitutes an honors thesis.

All courses are open to LL.M. candidates as well as J.D. candidates. LL.M. candidates may select courses from among the many US and International Law courses offered as part of the Law School's extensive curriculum. Only a few courses have required prerequisites. LL.M. candidates may also participate in the various legal clinics at the Law School. These include the Asylum and Human Rights Clinic, Tax Clinic, Mediation Clinic, and Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship Law Clinic.

Certificates of Specialization

As part of the LL.M. in U.S. Legal Studies degree, students may obtain a certificate of specialization in five areas:

Students should announce their intention to seek a certification at the beginning of their academic year and contact the professor for the specific certificate program to ascertain any application requirements. To be awarded the certificate, students must fulfill the credit requirements in their area of specialization, complete their writing requirement in that area, and achieve a minimum of a B average in all of the certificate coursework including the writing requirement. The required courses in U.S. Law and Legal Institutions and Legal Research and Writing do not count towards the certificate credit requirement. Students may be required to take the entry-level course in their certification area, depending upon their prior preparation and experience. This course would count towards the credit minimum.

Note that students do not need to choose an area of specialization; this is only an option to allow students who wish to specialize to draw upon particular strengths within the School of Law.

Thank you for your interest in applying. Each year the LL.M. in U.S. Legal Studies at the University of Connecticut School of Law greets a small number of international students selected from a competitive pool of applicants from around the world. Connecticut offers a broad selection of courses — more than 150 — in U.S. law, international law, and comparative law.

Eligibility to Apply

To apply for admission to the LL.M. Program in U.S. Legal Studies, applicants are generally required to hold or expect to receive a degree from a recognized law faculty outside the United States before matriculating in the LL.M. program at UConn School of Law. Two exceptions apply:

First, when a student is enrolled in a program in a foreign university leading to the equivalent of two integrated law degrees in the United States (e.g., a bachelors and masters in law, or a masters and doctorate in law), UConn School of Law may permit the student to enroll in the LL.M. program.  This enrollment can take place in the fourth or fifth year of a five-year program equivalent to a bachelors and masters in law, or, in the case of an integrated masters-PhD program in law, when all the courses equivalent to earning the masters are completed at the home university.  In such cases, the LLM will be awarded upon completion of the degree requirements here at UConn Law School. 

Second, when a student has received a first degree in a subject area outside of law and has completed or is pursuing a graduate degree in law at foreign law faculty, UConn School of Law may permit the student to enroll in the LL.M. program simultaneously with the completion of the graduate degree in law at the foreign law faculty. In such circumstances, however, UConn School of Law will not award the LLM degree until it has received confirmation from the student’s home university that the student has received the graduate degree in law from the foreign law faculty.   

The admissions committee considers the applicant's academic performance, intellectual curiosity and professional experience. The School of Law admits approximately 20 LL.M. candidates each year; the number of applications and expressions of interest significantly exceed that number. Consequently, admission is selective and limited to those who demonstrate academic excellence.

Applying through Law School Admission Council (LSAC)

Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply through LSAC. To learn more about LSAC, please review the full description of LSAC services. If you encounter problems during the application process, please contact our office for assistance.

Applying through E-mail

For applicants who do not wish to use LSAC, please e-mail all required documents to gradstudies@law.uconn.edu.

Application Documents

A complete application file consists of:

  1. A completed application form.
  2. A writing sample in English.
  3. A (non-refundable) check (in American dollars), travelers check or international money order payable to "The University of Connecticut School of Law" in the amount of $40 (US) for the application processing fee.
  4. Final law school transcript from the applicant's degree-granting institution. The law degree should be the equivalent of the J.D. or LL.B. degree; correspondence course degrees will not be considered for admission.
  5. Personal statement describing educational background, reasons for enrolling in the LL.M. program for U.S. Legal Studies, planned course of study and career goals.
  6. Two (2) letters of recommendation, either present or former law professors or supervisors of your legal work, which the recommender must send electronically. You can download a copy of the recommendation form here.
  7. Financial Declaration Form, and an
  8. Official TOEFL/IELTS test score.  Our university code is 3915.
Proof of English Language Proficiency

Unless the applicant qualifies for an exemption as outlined below, any international applicant who earned his or her first law degree outside the U.S. must obtain a minimum TOEFL IBT® score of 85 or a minimum IELTS score of 6.5, in order to be considered for admission to the LL.M. Programs at the UConn Law.  However, if the applicant meets this required minimum but does not attain a score of 90 or higher on the TOEFL IBT® or 7.0 or higher on the IELTS, the applicant must further substantiate proficiency in English through additional evidence of English language skills. This substantiation must include, but is not limited to, a strong writing sample in conjunction with an interview with an Admissions representative, conducted in-person, by phone, or online (using Skype or similar service).

If the applicant’s TOEFL IBT®/IELTS score is lower than the required minima of 85 on the TOEFL IBT® or 6.5 on the IELTS (or if the applicant is unable to substantiate proficiency in English through additional evidence as defined in the prior paragraph), the applicant may nevertheless be considered for conditional admission. Such conditional admission would require the applicant to successfully complete an ESL program in the U.S. that is satisfactory to the Admissions Committee plus then obtain a new TOEFL IBT® score of at least 85 or a new IELTS score of at least 6.5 before being permitted to undertake the LL.M. Program.

The applicant may, however, be exempt from submitting a TOEFL IBT® or IELTS score if:

  • the applicant earned a law degree from a recognized institution of higher learning at which the primary language of instruction was English;
  • the applicant earned a prior academic degree from an accredited institution of higher learning in the United States;
  • the applicant has resided and worked speaking English in an English-speaking country for not less than two years prior to the date of application; or
  • the applicant’s native language is English.

Please note that any international applicant claiming exemption from the TOEFL IBT®/IELTS requirement must submit a written request with his or her application for admission that includes an explanation of the applicant’s proficiency in English along with original documentation supporting the requested exemption on the basis of one or more of the above categories.  Exemptions are not automatic and require the approval of the Admissions Committee.

In all instances, regardless of TOEFL IBT® or IELTS score or requested exemption, the Admissions Committee reserves the right to deny an application and to require a writing sample and an online, phone, or in-person interview as a condition for consideration of any application.

Deadlines

Applications are considered on a rolling basis.  All international student applications should generally be received by June 1 for Fall enrollment, or November 15th for Spring enrollment. Applications received before these dates will be given priority consideration. Admission decisions will generally be made within several weeks of when a full application is received.  Application forms are available for download and must be submitted electronically.

LL.M. students who obtain good grades may also apply to our J.D. program without having to take the LSAT, and if accepted, can transfer most of their L.LM. credits to their J.D. program.

1. International LL.M. students who have a minimum grade point average (GPA) equivalent to 3.3/B+ and who have completed two semesters worth of work in our LL.M. programs may apply as a transfer student to the J.D. program under the regular J.D. transfer process. This process is limited to international students in one of our LL.M. programs; LL.M. students at other schools are not eligible.

2. These students will not have to take the LSAT, though they should complete all other aspects of the transfer application process which can be found on our web site. When possible, the J.D. Admissions Committee will utilize material from the applicant's LL.M. file, including transcripts from foreign law schools and TOEFL scores.

3. LL.M. students applying to the transfer program will need to take a minimum of one required first year (J.D.) course on a graded basis (not pass-fail) in their first two semesters and also submit two letters of recommendation from the UConn Law faculty, one of which must come from the professor teaching the required first year course.

4. LL.M. students who apply will be notified if they have been accepted into the J.D. program after grades have been received for at least two academic semesters within the LL.M. program.  This should allow adequate time to review the application after receipt of the second semester’s grades and still provide sufficient time to obtain any necessary visa approval.

5.  Once accepted into the J.D. program, LL.M. graduates will be able to transfer credits for most courses taken at the Law School, provided that the examination in such courses was conducted on "substantially the same terms" as J.D. students.  For example, credits in courses with proctored exams can only be transferred if the student completed the exam under the same conditions as J.D. students (i.e., they received no extra time in writing the examination).  The four credits for the required U.S. Law & Legal Institutions and Legal Research and Writing courses do not transfer.  Some required first year courses for J.D. students may be offered over two semesters (for example, Civil Procedure I and II); LL.M. students who enroll in these courses must take them for a grade and complete both semesters in order to receive transfer credit.  While credit earned for the LL.M. writing requirement (a research paper or thesis) can transfer, the LL.M. paper will not satisfy the J.D. Upperclass Writing Requirement.

6. J.D. Admissions will require LL.M. students to have a minimum TOEFL score of 100/250/ 600 (Internet/Computer/Written) either when applying to the LL.M. program, or prior to admission to the J.D. program.  This requirement can be waived under appropriate circumstances.  Subject to the discretion of the J.D. Admissions Committee, LL.M. students whose language of instruction was English in their foreign law program will generally be exempt from the TOEFL requirement.

7. LL.M. students must complete their LL.M. program before beginning their J.D. studies.

8. The application deadline is July 1st.