Tax Program FAQs

Admissions and Financial Aid

What do you look for in a tax applicant?
We take a very holistic approach to the admissions process and consider many factors, including: overall JD GPA, GPA in tax courses, participation in tax-related activities, such as VITA and the Tax Law Society, work experience, including law-related internships, and overall commitment to the area of tax law. We do understand that some applicants may have taken their first tax class during their 3L and may not have a strong tax background. Candidates in this position should use the personal statement to discuss their interest in tax and our LLM Program. 

How do I apply?
All applications must be submitted through the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) online application service. Application instructions and a link to the online application can be found on the apply page

When are application deadlines?
Applicants can apply through LSAC starting September 1, 2023. Applications for the Tax Program are due by June 1, 2024. 

When are decisions made?
Decisions are made on a rolling basis, beginning in early November. Once the review process has started, we are typically able to render a decision within four weeks of an application becoming complete. Because we do admit on a rolling basis, it is advantageous to apply early. 

What kind of financial assistance does the law school provide?
All admitted applicants are automatically under consideration for a scholarship award; no additional form or application is required. Scholarship award notifications will be sent on a rolling basis beginning on January 15, 2024. More information about our specific scholarships can be found on on the Tax Program webpage.

Students may also apply for federal and private loans to cover the total cost of attendance, including tuition, books, living expenses and student fees. There are funding options for both U.S. citizens and international students. More information can be found on the Chicago Office of Financial Aid website.

Program Structure and Curriculum 

What can I expect in terms of the curriculum as a student in the Tax Program?
The Tax Program at Northwestern is rigorous and well-rounded. Students in the program must take eight required courses (16 credits): two semesters each of the following areas of tax: corporate, international, partnership and property. To complete the degree, students need an additional four courses (8 credits) may choose from more than 20 elective courses offered each year.
May I specialize in a specific area of tax?
Yes; students may earn a certificate in four areas of tax: corporate tax, international tax, tax controversy (litigation) or wealth transfer and legacy planning. A specialization is optional and requires a minimum of 10 credit hours of study in a particular area.
What are typical class sizes?
The overall size of the Tax Program is quite small, with 40-45 total students.  The entire cohort will take the required courses together.  However, because there are so many elective courses, those courses range in size from 5-25.
What support services do students receive? 
Each student is assigned a faculty mentor. Faculty mentors will meet with their advisees individually and in groups. In addition, in the fall incoming students are matched with an alum for the to help them adjust to the rigorous demands of the Tax Program. The Assistant Director of the Tax Program provides additional academic counseling and support. Students in the Tax Program also have a dedicated Career advisor who assists in all aspects of the job search. Finally, students also have access to the law school Student Services Office

Where do graduates of the Tax Program find employment after graduation?
Because Northwestern is a national law school, our graduates are able to find employment in legal markets across the United States and abroad. Chicago is a strong market for tax jobs and our LLM graduates have a dominant presence in this market due to the program’s reputation and our extensive program connections and alumni base here. However, it's important to note that Northwestern Tax LLM students can focus their career search on any city in the country.

We host programs during the year to explain the scope of opportunities available to Tax LLM graduates, and we focus on preparing students for success in their job search. Our Tax LLM Career Advisor focuses on individualized career counseling to help students find employment that meets their career and geographic goals. 

Northwestern Tax LLM students may participate in on-campus recruiting events, including interviews and information sessions. The school also participates in the TARE job fair in Washington D.C. More information about these events can be found on the Tax LLM Career Strategy webpage.