JD-LLM Joint Degree in Taxation

The Joint Degree in Taxation Program allows both Northwestern and non-Northwestern JD students to obtain both the JD and LLM Tax degrees in less than the eight semesters of study necessary if each degree is earned sequentially. Under the program, students can apply up to 14 units of credit earned while enrolled in the Tax Program to both the JD and the LLM Tax degrees. Students typically complete one half of the requirements for the LLM Tax degree during the fall semester of their third year and then complete the requirements for the LLM Tax degree on either a full-time or a part-time basis following receipt of the JD degree.

One of the benefits of the structure of Northwestern Law's LLM Tax curriculum is that joint-degree students are exposed to the four foundational areas of the modern tax law during the fall semester of their third year. Thus, even if they do not complete the LLM requirements, they will have completed a course of study that will provide them with the breadth of coverage necessary to enter the practice of tax law. In addition, they will have received the type of in-depth exposure to tax issues that is only available through study at the LLM level.

The deadline for applications for the Joint Degree in Taxation Program for both Northwestern and non-Northwestern JD students is May 1.


Northwestern Joint Degree Tax Students

Curricular Requirements
Joint degree students must complete a minimum of 95 units of credit to receive the JD and LLM Tax degrees. Students must satisfy all of the requirements for both of the degrees. The benefit of the Joint Degree program is that students may count 14 units from the completion of courses in the LLM program toward the unit requirements for the JD degree. Northwestern JD students may apply for admission to the Tax Program either as part of the JD application process or, once enrolled as a Northwestern student, by filing a separate application directly with the Tax Program.

Listed below are typical scenarios through which Northwestern JD students can obtain both the JD and LLM Tax degrees:

  • Seven semester approach: Students enroll in the four required LLM courses and in two elective tax courses in the fall semester of their third year in the same manner as post-JD students enrolled in the Tax Program, completing half of the LLM course requirements. Students complete their JD degree requirements during the spring semester of their third year.

Students then return to Northwestern following receipt of their JD degrees to complete the LLM requirements. Students may do so either on a part-time basis by taking one or more elective courses as early as the fall semester following receipt of their JD degrees and the advanced required courses in any subsequent spring semester or on a full-time basis in the spring semester following receipt of their JD degrees.

  • Six semester approach: Following their first or second year of law school, students enroll in summer courses that will permit them to accumulate at least 70 units prior to the beginning of their third year. Students then enroll in the required and elective courses offered by the Tax Program to complete the necessary 24 units to satisfy the requirements for the LLM Tax degree and the remaining requirements for the JD degree.

Tuition
In order to receive both the JD and LLM Tax degrees, students will be charged tuition equal to three years of tuition at the JD rate plus one-half of the annual tuition at the LLM Tax rate. The tuition charge for both degrees applies regardless of how and when students satisfy the requirements for the two degrees.

  • Seven semester approach: Students who return to Northwestern to complete the LLM degree requirements under the seven semester approach described above on a full-time basis following receipt of their JD degree will be charged one-half of the annual tuition for the LLM Tax degree when they return to complete the additional semester of coursework. Students who return to Northwestern to complete the LLM Tax degree requirements under the seven semester approach described above on a part-time basis following receipt of their JD degree will be charged the tuition for the LLM Tax degree on a per-course basis as they enroll in additional courses.
  • Six semester approach: Students who complete the JD and LLM Tax degree requirements under the six semester approach described above will be charged the additional tuition for the LLM Tax degree during the spring semester of their third year at the then prevailing LLM tuition rate.

For more information and to view current tuition rates, visit Tuition Rates and Expenses.


Non-Northwestern Joint Degree Tax Students

The Joint Degree program is also open to students from other institutions. Students interested in the Joint Degree program apply for admission to the Tax Program during their second year of law school. Non-Northwestern JD students are responsible for determining the extent to which units earned at Northwestern while enrolled in the Tax Program may be used to satisfy the JD requirements of their home institutions.

Curricular Requirements
To obtain the LLM Tax degree, non-Northwestern JD students in the Joint Degree program must satisfy all of the requirements for the LLM Tax degree.

Listed below are typical scenarios in which non-Northwestern JD students can obtain the LLM Tax degree.

  • In the fall semester of their third year, students enroll in the four required LLM courses and in two elective tax courses in the same manner as post-JD students enrolled in the Tax Program, completing half of the LLM course requirements. Students complete their JD degree requirements during the spring semester of their third year either by remaining at Northwestern as a visiting student during the spring semester or by returning to their home institutions.

Students then return to Northwestern following receipt of their JD degrees to complete the LLM requirements. Students may do so either on a part-time basis by taking one or more elective courses as early as the fall semester following receipt of their JD degrees and the advanced required courses in any subsequent spring semester or on a full-time basis in the spring semester following receipt of their JD degrees.

  • Students who expect to graduate from their home institutions in December of their third year enroll in courses in the Tax Program in both the fall and spring semesters in the same manner as post-JD students enrolled in the Tax Program.
  • Students who would normally graduate from their home institutions at the conclusion of the spring semester of their third year enroll in courses in the Tax Program in both the fall and spring semesters of their third year in the same manner as post-JD students enrolled in the Tax Program. Students then complete their JD degree requirements by returning to their home institutions for the fall semester of what would be a fourth year of law school. Northwestern will award the LLM Tax degree upon successful completion of the JD degree by the student's home institution.

Although a student's home institution may accept all 24 units earned in the Tax Program in fulfillment of the school's JD requirements, Northwestern will not award the LLM Tax degree unless the student has accumulated at least 10 units of credit from either Northwestern or the student's home institution beyond the number of credits necessary to obtain the JD degree from the home institution.

Tuition
In order to receive the LLM Tax degree, non-Northwestern JD students will be charged tuition equal to the annual tuition at the LLM Tax rate if enrolled full-time for one academic year. Third-year students who attend Northwestern for only the fall semester to complete one-half of the LLM requirements will be charged one-half of the annual tuition at the LLM Tax rate. Third-year students who remain at Northwestern as visiting students for the spring semester of their third year to complete the requirements for their JD degree will be charged one-half of the annual tuition at the JD rate.

Students who return to Northwestern to complete the LLM Tax degree requirements on a full-time basis following receipt of their JD degree will be charged one-half of the annual tuition at the LLM Tax rate when they return to complete the additional semester of coursework. Students who return to Northwestern to complete the LLM Tax degree requirements on a part-time basis following receipt of their JD degree will be charged the tuition for the LLM Tax degree on a per-course basis as they enroll in additional courses.

For more information and to view current tuition rates, visit Tuition Rates and Expenses.

Related Links

Tax Faculty | Curriculum | Course Schedule (pdf) | Required Courses | Elective Courses