LLM in International Human Rights FAQs

Admissions and Financial Aid

What do you look for in applicants to the IHR program? 
Above all, we seek applicants with a strong commitment to International Human Rights, as evidenced by previous coursework or study, work experience or volunteer activities related to International Human Rights, and/or publications.  In addition, we also look for applicants with a good academic record, strong letters of recommendation.
Finally, applicants should have strong English language skills; we look for a score of 100 or better on the TOEFL or 7.5 or better on the IELTS test.  Applicants with scores below these thresholds may be admitted conditioned on the completion of our summer English language program, Legal English and Foundations (LEAF). 

Can I apply to both the IHR and General LLM programs?
Yes, we will accept applications to multiple programs.  Be advised that we will compare the content of both applications, so be consistent with the information that you provide.

I am a current Northwestern JD student. Can I apply/transfer to the JD-LLM-IHR program?
Yes, current Northwestern JD students may apply to the joint degree program at any time during their studies.  Interested students should complete the application for the LLM in International Human Rights Program and submit at least one letter of recommendation from a Northwestern Law Professor and a copy of their JD transcript.  Please contact Mary Beth Busby, Director of Graduate and International Program Admissions, for more information.

When are admission decisions made? What about scholarships?
The Admissions Committee will begin reviewing completed applications after January 1.  Decisions will be sent on a rolling basis from that point forward.
There is a separate process for scholarship awards.  The application will be sent after the offer of admission has been made.  Scholarship award notifications are typically sent in early February.

Program Structure and Curriculum

How many students are in the LLM in International Human Rights (IHR) program? 
The LLM IHR Program enrolls 10-12 students each year.  Our small size helps create a very close-knit and collaborative environment.  Students in the program may also take courses from the JD curriculum, so will have the opportunity to connect with students in the in the JD and LLM programs during their time on campus.

What clinical opportunities are available to students in the LLM IHR Program?
Students in the LLM IHR program may participate in the Center for International Human Rights (CIHR) during one or both semesters of their LLM studies.  The CIHR gives students the opportunity to work on many facets of international human rights and international criminal, including providing advocacy before international tribunals and human rights bodies such as the ICC and The U.N.’s International Court of Justice in The Hague.

Professional Opportunities

Does the completion of the LLM in International Human Rights enable graduates to sit for the New York bar exam?
The structure of the LLM IHR program does not give students the bandwidth to take the necessary coursework to qualify to sit for the New York Bar Exam.  Graduates do qualify for other bar exams in the US, including California and Washington D.C.  A comprehensive guide to state bar exams and eligibility requirements can be found on the American Bar Association  website . 

Where do LLM IHR graduates work?
IHR LLM graduates have gone on to work in a wide range of human rights positions across the globe. Employers of Northwestern IHR LLM graduates include the following:
  • United Nations Development Program (Addis Ababa)
  • UNICEF regional office (Nepal)
  • Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC)
  • Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism, McGill University
  • Human Rights Defence Programme at the Netherlands Helsinki Committee. (Amsterdam)
  • Greenpeace International (Amsterdam)
  • USAid (Mayanmar)