General LLM FAQs

Program Structure and Curriculum

How big is your LLM program? What is the profile of a traditional LLM student?
Please visit our LLM Class Profile page to see a snapshot of our most recent LLM class.
When does the program start?
The LLM Program begins with a mandatory orientation week that takes place in late August.  Classes begin the following week -- usually in late August or early September. Please see the Academic Calendar for exact program start and end dates.
What courses can LLM students take?
LLM 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 either American Jurisprudence, American Legal Studies: Civil Procedure, or American Legal Studies: Constitutional Law, which introduce students to the history and principal characteristics of the American public and private law systems. Apart from these courses, LLM students are completely integrated with American JD students.
Visit the LLM Curriculum webpage for more information about academic offerings.
Do you offer certificates?
While the LLM program for International Students does not offer certificates, candidates are welcome to design their program to focus on specific legal area(s) or general studies. Applicants who are interested in specializing in specific subjects may be interested in applying to the Tax Program or LLM in International Human Rights program.
What academic support is available for LLM students?
The Law School has a Director of International Programs who serves as the primary academic advisor for every member of the LLM population. Our dedicated International Programs Office also hosts a variety of cocurricular workshops and events to support your academic success at the Law School. The IP Team developed the ACE Program, which provides comprehensive support for our international students.
Are credits from the LLM Program transferrable to Northwestern’s JD Program?
No.  Northwestern Law does not accept any LLM credits, whether from Northwestern or another law school, for the JD Program.  However, Northwestern does offer the Two-Year Program for International Lawyers.  Students who are admitted to the program receive one year of credit for their foreign law degree. Two-Year JD students must complete the required coursework for JD students during their first year. The second year is spent taking elective courses. Two-Year JD students are completely integrated with students in our regular JD program. Graduates of the Two-Year JD program receive a juris doctor degree from Northwestern Law. Please note that the LSAT is required for the Two-Year JD Program.  

Please refer to the Two-Year JD FAQs for more admissions information for the Two-Year JD Program.

Professional Opportunities

Do you offer career services for LLMs?
Absolutely. The Law School's Career Strategy Center has a dedicated LLM career advisor can assist you in developing your individual job search strategy. Other career programming includes resume reviews, US-style interview practice, and networking opportunities.

Visit the Career Strategy webpage for more information about career services for LLM students.
Does the completion of the LLM program enable graduates to sit for the bar exam?
Only some states allow 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. For many students, admission to one or more states is possible if the appropriate courses and the bar examination are completed. As such, the LLM and LLM IHR programs do not guarantee students that they will qualify to take the bar examination or to 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 at

Tuition and Financial Aid

What is the cost of the LLM Program?
Tuition for the Degree Programs for International Students is listed on the Tuition and Financial Aid webpage. Tuition increases should be expected each year.
In addition to tuition, the Law School charges the following non-refundable fees:
  • Application fee: $75 (General LLM and Tax LLM)
  • Deposit: $750 (required of admitted applicants who accept a space in the entering class)

Do you have scholarships? How do I apply?
A limited number of fellowships are awarded to all LLM students each year. Once an applicant is admitted to the LLM or Tax Program, the Admissions Committee will automatically consider the applicant for a scholarship award and he or she will be provided with a follow-up scholarship decision shortly thereafter.

Applicants who are admitted to the LLM-IHR program must complete a scholarship application. More details about the application will be supplied to admitted students shortly after receiving an offer of admission.

Are loans available to LLM students? 
International students may opt to finance a portion of their education at Northwestern Law through a private loan.  Students may borrow up to the total cost of attendance, minus personal contributions.  Please contact the applicable lender if you have specific questions about their loan program and contact the Chicago Office of Financial Aid if you have general questions about the loan process.  
Can I work during the LLM program?
There are no teaching or research fellowships for graduate students at the law school, and Department of Homeland Securities regulations may prohibit students from seeking outside employment during their studies. The Degree Programs for International Students demand time-consuming study and research, and experience has shown that it is difficult for students to complete the academic work if they are employed. Students with questions about employment should discuss them with the program director of the Degree Programs for International Students.