Short FAQs

Short FAQs

A series of short Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about LL.M. programs and LLM GUIDE

What is LLM GUIDE and how can it help me?

LLM GUIDE aims to provide the most comprehensive and up-to-date guide of Master of Laws (LL.M.) programs available on the internet. LLM GUIDE also publishes original content that we think will be of interest to prospective LL.M. students.

Finally, our website provides a forum where people can ask questions, discuss, and exchange information about topics related to LL.M. programs in a positive environment.

Please note that apart from the content available on the website, the LLM GUIDE staff are unable to provide advice or guidance about LL.M. programs.

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How do I request information from a university or law school using the LLM GUIDE website?

To order a prospectus or application forms from a university or law school, use the "Request Information" button at the top of each program listing.

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What is AppTracker, and how do I use it?

The  AppTracker tool lets you to track and display the status of your LL.M. applications online, and helps you connect with others interested in the same program(s). You can add a program to your personal AppTracker Watch List by clicking on the "Follow this school" button displayed on every program listing. You can view and edit your AppTracker status anytime in your account.

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I have questions or need advice about LLMs and LLM programs. Where can I seek answers?

We encourage you to browse and post messages on the LL.M. Discussion Board. Remember that there are many people out there with similar questions as you, or who would appreciate your advice and insight.

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How can I be sure whether or not an LL.M. program or law school is good or not?

It is important to determine a law school’s quality and reputation before beginning a course. One way to assess the quality of an LL.M. program is to consult the various published law school rankings. Students planning to study in the United States should make sure the university they want to apply for is approved by the American Bar Association (ABA). This is particularly important for students who intend to earn their degree through distance learning.

It is important to note that a law school’s ranking may not always reflect the quality of the LL.M. program, since law school rankings are often based on the quality of a school’s J.D. or LL.B degrees. This is true of ABA rankings, for example. But in many cases, if a school has a renowned J.D. or LL.B program, chances are it will also have at least a reasonably good (if not top-tier) LL.M. program.

School rankings should also be balanced with more personal considerations. Students may be well-advised to research whether certain law schools offer a special field of law (such as maritime law or bankruptcy law, for example), or investigate whether a law school has a good repuation for high-quality instruction. Another factor to consider is the professional affiliations of a law school, which may help provide useful contacts and job prospects upon completion of the degree.

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Where are the world’s top LL.M. programs? North America? Europe? Asia?

There are top LL.M. programs in all of these places (and elsewhere, too). While many publications and websites offer international rankings of other kinds of academic programs – such as MBAs – LL.M.s are generally rated on a national scale. For example, one can see listings of the top LL.M. programs or law schools for a certain country (such as the United States, Australia, or the United Kingdom), but published international rankings are still relatively scarce.

Besides, while it is wise to pay attention to international rankings of LL.M. programs, the decision about where to study can be heavily reliant on individual preferences and personal factors. It is therefore problematic to claim that LL.M. programs in a particular country or continent are "better" than in another.

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Do all LL.M. programs take one year?

Although there are some exceptions, most full-time LL.M. programs take one year. Some schools offer part-time LL.M.s or other postgraduate law degrees that can take two years or more to complete. Some US law schools also offer two-year LL.M. programs, which usually include one year of pre-LL.M. study in English or US law.

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Do I need a visa to study abroad? If so, how can I get one?

You might. It is a good idea to check well ahead of time with the government agency responsible for issuing visas in the country you wish to study in. For example, information about student visas for the United States can be found at the State Department webpage. Consult the Home Office webpage for information about visa requirements for the United Kingdom. Visa information for most countries is posted online, however, it is important make sure it comes from an official (government) source.

Sometimes the process of applying for a visa can take an unexpectedly long time. It is a good idea to get started with the process as soon as you have made your decision where to go for your LL.M..

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What are some standard admission requirements for LL.M. programs?

Most LL.M. programs will require applicants to already have a law degree (a LL.B. or equivalent). In addition, most schools will want to see a satisfactory, if not exemplary academic record and positive evaluations from law school. Most schools require applicants to submit academic transcripts, as well as letters of recommendation submitted by law school or university faculty. Successful applicants to English-speaking schools will also have to demonstrate English proficiency with adequate TOEFL or IELTS test scores and well-written application essays.

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When should I begin applying for LL.M. programs?

This depends on the programs you wish to apply for, and when you wish to begin the course. Most LL.M. programs have fixed deadlines for receiving applications. Needless to say, it is good to be aware of these dates, which are always posted on the LL.M. program websites or included in the mailed application material.

Perhaps a better question to ask yourself is how much time will you need to complete all of your application material. There are several things to consider here. Not only will applicants need to request academic transcripts and letters of recommendation well ahead of time, but they will also be asked have to compose an essay or personal statement for each program. Furthermore, some applicants will need time to adequately prepare for the TOEFL examination. Plan ahead and give yourself time to submit the best application possible.

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How much money will getting an LL.M. cost?

The total costs of LL.M. programs vary immensely. Tuition alone can range from as low as 4,000 USD (or lower) a year and as high as 50,000 USD (or higher) a year.

Add to tuition fees the significant cost of supplies (books, computer, etc.) and of living (rent, food, moving to a new place). Cost of living will also depend heavily on where you choose to study for your LL.M. Some postgraduate students – particularly those enrolled in full-time programs – also prefer to figure the salary and wages they will not be earning during their program into the total costs of studying.

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How can I pay for my LL.M? Where can I look for possible sources of funding?

Getting an LL.M. – like most forms of postgraduate education – is a very expensive endeavor. Many students cover their costs with a combination of various different sources of funding, including scholarships, grants, loans, internships, fellowships, employment, savings, and family assistance. For more information about sources of funding, please browse our Guide to Funding your LL.M.

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How good does my English have to be to enroll in an LL.M. program?

Of course, if you plan to study for an LL.M. at an institution that does not teach in English, you do not have too much to worry about. Many law schools, however, provide some if not all of their instruction in English. Most English-speaking schools have established ways of assessing an applicant’s English ability if they are not native speakers. The most common standard examination of English proficiency in the United States is the TOEFL. The IELTS is also a common exam in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.

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What is the TOEFL?

The TOEFL stands for the Test of English as a Foreign Language. It is a standardized examination that many non-native English-speaking applicants must take before applying to universities where English is the primary language of instruction. More information about the TOEFL can be found at www.ets.org/toefl/.

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How does LLM GUIDE determine the “most popular” LL.M. programs, and what factors influence an LL.M. program’s ranking by popularity in a given region?

The monthly rankings in the  Most Popular LL.M. Programs section are determined by the number of user page views per LL.M. program listing. Therefore, the "most popular" LL.M. programs are simply the programs that LLM GUIDE users have viewed most frequently. The number of user page views also determines the "popularity" of LL.M. programs in the geographic-based program searches.

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I have found an LL.M. program that I think should be added to LLM GUIDE. What should I do?

We do our best to stay current with all of our information. However, if you happen to notice any gaps in our coverage, a missing program, or outdated information, please do not hesitate to send us an email using our Contact Form. We greatly appreciate your help!

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Image: Suffolk Law Library by  Swampyank / Creative Commons (cropped, rotated)

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With so many law schools around the world, how do you find the right LL.M. program for you?

Why Should I do an LL.M.?
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