USA Scholarships For International LL.M. Students

Scholarships to Pay for Your LL.M. in the USA

The United States remains a top destination for lawyers from around the world seeking LL.M. degrees. However, with many of the world’s top law schools clustered there, an LL.M. in the USA does not come cheap. Annual tuition fees alone can be upwards of $77,000 at leading LL.M. programs like Harvard Law. 

The good news is that many law schools offer generous financial aid packages to prospective LL.M. students to help offset the cost of study, which includes housing, food, books, supplies and travel expenses. That can easily add another $40,000 to the cost of a top-flight LL.M program. 

Scholarship awards can be fiercely competitive, because law schools’ budgets are often limited – but LL.M. students can indeed access a variety of scholarships. Below, we share advice from some of America’s top law schools on finding and bagging a competitive financial aid package. 

Start early and do your research

The search for scholarships should begin well in advance of your start date for the LL.M. program. Begin researching scholarship opportunities at least a year before applying to schools. 

“We have specific deadlines in April and October for the fall and spring semesters, respectively. Since we review applications and offer scholarships on a rolling basis, submitting your application early gives you the best chance for priority consideration for financial support,” says Jacqueline Querubin, enrollment marketing manager at Boston University (BU) School of Law. 

Many law schools, non-profit foundations and government agencies offer scholarships for international students pursuing LL.M. programs in the USA. Websites like our own LL.M. Scholarship Search, as well as and, are good resources to find a wide range of scholarships. 

Leverage law-school resources

The financial aid at law schools ranges from scholarships to assistantships (money in exchange for work like teaching or research) and fellowships (finance awarded based on merit without requiring work). Explore the financial aid pages of your target law schools’ websites to learn about available opportunities. 

Additionally, reach out to the admissions or financial aid offices for guidance on scholarship applications and eligibility criteria. Some law schools automatically consider applicants for merit-based scholarships, while others require separate applications.

“At the University of Houston (UH) Law Center, we consider all accepted students for scholarship money. If a student receives scholarship money, they might also be eligible for the in-state waiver. Together, this can reduce their tuition by about one-third,” says Karen Jones, UH Law Center’s executive director of global and graduate programs.

However, she adds that at the masters level in the USA, scholarship dollars can be limited, underscoring the competitive nature of these financial awards. 

Tailor your applications

With that in mind, carefully review the eligibility criteria and tailor your scholarship application materials accordingly. Highlight your academic achievements, professional experiences, leadership roles and extracurricular activities that demonstrate your potential as a future legal scholar. 

“Of course, high grades during first law degree studies and all university transcripts will often help. But, don’t be discouraged if you don’t have top grades. As long as your performance in your first law program was relatively strong, you still have a chance of getting some scholarship money,” says Jones. 

Also, be sure to articulate your career goals and how the scholarship will support your academic and professional aspirations. 

Explore external funding sources

Beyond law-school-specific scholarships, international LL.M. students should explore external funding sources such as government-sponsored scholarships, private foundations, non-profit organizations and professional associations. Examples include the Fulbright Foreign Student Program, which provides grants for overseas graduate students in the USA.

“While we aim to offer as many scholarships as possible, our funds are limited, so we encourage students to explore various other sources of financial assistance to support their studies,” says Querubin at BU Law. 

“A great place to start is the AccessLex scholarship databank, which contains information on over 800 scholarships and writing competitions related to law schools,” she adds. “Additionally, there are numerous grants and scholarships available from external sources, such as EducationUSA.” 

Also, many countries offer scholarships for their citizens to study abroad, so investigate opportunities provided by your home country’s government.

Network and seek recommendations

Networking can also play a crucial role in uncovering scholarship opportunities. Connect with current LL.M. students, alumni, faculty members and work colleagues who may have insights or recommendations. Professional associations and legal societies may also offer scholarships or grants to support LL.M. students.

Demonstrate financial need

Some scholarships prioritize candidates with demonstrated financial need. If applicable, be prepared to provide documentation of your financial circumstances, including bank statements, income tax returns and proof of assets. Emphasize any challenges or barriers you face in financing your LL.M. degree to strengthen your case for need-based scholarships.

Polish your application essays

Scholarship applications often require essays or personal statements where you can showcase your academic interests, career objectives and personal background. Take the time to craft compelling and well-articulated essays that highlight your unique qualities, experiences and motivations. 

“Anything that suggests you are ready for the rigors of a LL.M. program and supports your desire to pursue the program at the school applied to can help establish a strong connection that could lead to snagging the few available LL.M.-level scholarship dollars,” says Jones at UH Law Center. 

Also, seek feedback from mentors and advisors to refine your essays and make them stand out. 

Stay organized and persistent

Lastly, managing multiple scholarship applications can be overwhelming, so stay organized by creating a spreadsheet to track deadlines, requirements and submission-status. Be proactive in following up on application submissions and communicating with scholarship providers. Remember that persistence is key, and don’t be discouraged by rejections; keep applying and exploring new opportunities.


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