The nine-month general LLM program offers outstanding graduates of foreign law schools an opportunity to expand their knowledge of American law and legal processes, continue their studies in international law, and engage in comparative legal research.
Graduates of the program represent more than 50 countries and hold prominent positions in many areas of practice. They include attorneys, professors, judges, corporate counsel, consultants, human rights workers, bankers, and civil servants.
Students must take at least 20 law credit hours to earn the LLM degree. LLM students may take up to two co-listed Kellogg courses if space is available. Co-listed courses are Kellogg courses taught by Kellogg faculty and offered through the Law School.
LLM students are free to design their own program of study from the Law School's many upper-level courses and seminars, including commercial and corporate, international, constitutional, and human rights law.
A written thesis is not required, but students with well-defined topics may pursue individual research projects.
During their first semester in residence, students enroll in two mandatory courses. The Common Law Reasoning course, which focuses on the fundamental research, analysis, and drafting skills expected of U.S. trained lawyers, and American Jurisprudence, introducing students to the history and principal characteristics of the American public and private law systems. With the exception of these two courses, LLM students are completely integrated with American JD students.
For further information on planning your curriculum, see Plan Your Academic Career.
Applicants to the LLM degree program must hold a first degree in law from a university or college whose law degree requirements are comparable to Northwestern's. Students must also have a high level of English proficiency. Foreign applicants whose native language is not English must submit an official copy of their TOEFL score report. Refer to the links below for more information about applying.
The Law School awards several LLM fellowship grants based on merit and financial need; these generally cover only part of the tuition. Most applicants request financial assistance, and not all applicants who are in need will receive fellowships. All applicants therefore are encouraged to investigate other sources of support, including employers and government agencies, scholarship funds, and family and personal funds.
LLM students have a dedicated full-time Career Advisor in the Career Strategy Center. The LLM program does not prepare students for permanent employment in the United States, rather the Career Center will assist students who wish to seek internships, visiting or foreign attorney positions in the US as well as enhanced employment opportunities at home. We provide training and workshops on all aspects of a job search in the US including "Preparing a US-style Cover Letter and Resume", "Researching and Networking", "Interviewing". In addition, we allow students to develop their practical skills through a Mock Interview Program and Etiquette dinners.
Only some states permit foreign lawyers to take the bar examination, and each state has its own requirements as to prior legal education, coursework in a US LLM program, and other matters. As such, the LLM, LLM IHR, and LLM/Kellogg programs do not guarantee students that they will qualify to take the bar examination or practice law in the United States. Eligibility, however, has been extended in the past in the states of New York and California dependent on meeting some specific criteria. Please refer to the Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements.