LL.M. Degree Requirements

LL.M. students attend classes full-time for one nine-month academic year, commencing in mid-August with a Fall semester of 15 weeks. The LL.M. Program begins 10 days prior to the start of classes with a short introductory course, American Law in a Global Context, designed exclusively for LL.M. students who do not hold a prior U.S. law degree. Following final examinations and Winter Break in December, classes resume in early January for the second and final 15-week semester, which concludes with law school Commencement in mid-May.

Twenty-two (22) units of credit, over two semesters, are required to obtain the LL.M. degree. Students may enroll in a minimum of eight (8) and a maximum of fourteen (14) units per semester. Aside from the introductory course for students who do not hold a prior U.S. law degree, there are no required courses for the LL.M. degree. LL.M. students create their own program of study from our rich selection of advanced course offerings, and take these classes alongside the law school's Juris Doctor (J.D.) students. Prospective students should bear in mind that, due to curriculum scheduling and faculty availability, not every class listed is taught each year. This is most often true in the case of specialized seminars. The final schedule of classes becomes available shortly before the enrollment process begins in June.

English Requirements & Resources

  • English Requirements

    Students in the LL.M. Program must be able to read and discuss in class difficult technical material. Those with serious language limitations will have difficulties coping with a new cultural, social, and academic environment, especially if they are enrolled in a discipline like law, which requires a very high level of English reading and writing proficiency.

    For this reason, the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is required of foreign applicants seeking admission to the program from nations in which English is not the primary language of instruction. A TOEFL score of 590 on the paper-based test, 243 on the computer-based test, or 96 on the Internet-based test is the minimum score accepted by the University's Graduate Division. The Law School usually admits only applicants whose TOEFL scores are well above the minimum range required by the University. In general we expect a score of 600 on the paper-based test, 250 on the computer-based test, or 100 on the Internet-based test, although an outstanding applicant with a slightly lower test score will not be disqualified on this basis.

    If you possess a law degree from an institution at which the primary language of instruction is English, you are not required to submit a TOEFL score with your application. Please ensure that the academic transcripts you submit verify that your degree was obtained from an English-speaking institution.

    The TOEFL is offered daily at test centers throughout the world. When you take the examination, it is important that you indicate School Code No. 4837, Dept. 03, to ensure that your score is sent to UCLA School of Law. Information about the examination should be available at your own university, and can also be found on the TOEFL website.

  • English Language Resources

    Law & Communication Intensive

    UCLA offers incoming LL.M. students an exciting opportunity to strengthen their English skills and prepare for law school before the regular academic year begins. The four-week Law & Communication Intensive (LCI) features a Law School English course taught by experts from UCLA Extension's American Language Center, and a U.S. Constitutional Law course taught by Professor Peter Reich, one of UCLA's most experienced instructors.

    The program is ideal for students who would like to make their workload during the school year more manageable, especially those who plan to take a U.S. bar exam. The Constitutional Law course, designed specifically for international students, will count toward the 22 units required to earn the LL.M. degree. It will also satisfy a course requirement for foreign-educated attorneys seeking to qualify for the New York and/or California bar exams.

    And while bolstering English skills and learning U.S. law are important aspects of the program, opportunities to explore southern California and network with LL.M. classmates will also abound! Each week, students will embark on a trip to visit a local landmark and practice their conversational English. Excursions include a tour of Catalina Island, a trial observation at a Los Angeles County courthouse, and a Dodgers baseball game.

    The LCI is designed for international students who have not previously studied, lived, or worked in an English-speaking environment. In particular, we hope that those whose native language is not Latin-based (and therefore quite different from English) will find that four weeks of language instruction and early immersion in U.S. law will build confidence and lead to a successful LL.M. year. Students granted admission to the LL.M. Program will receive instructions on how to enroll in the LCI.

    American Language Center

    The American Language Center (ALC) at UCLA Extension is a good place to start for information about programs or courses geared towards English language instruction, course offerings, and enrollment eligibility during the academic year. ALC offers intensive English language courses for international and local participants seeking to improve their English through enrollment in a variety of full-time, part-time, and alternative programs. Costs and fees for these offerings will vary based on the program or course selections that students may choose.

    The Academic Intensive English Program (AIEP) is a full-time program offered on a quarterly basis during the fall, winter, spring, and summer, or – alternatively – on short-term bases during the summer for condensed, six-week periods. Please contact the American Language Center directly in order to obtain more information regarding course meeting times and dates during each of these periods. Note that you’ll need to review and monitor the scheduled meeting times for the fall, winter, and spring offerings to ensure that they do not conflict with your law studies. AIEP sessions typically include five 50-minute classes per day, Monday through Thursday, and three sessions on Friday for a total of 23 50-minute sessions per week.

    The Intensive English Communication Program (IECP) is offered on a quarterly basis during the fall, winter, spring, and summer, or – alternatively – on short-term bases spanning three-, four-, or eight-week periods. Please contact ALC directly for course meeting times and dates for each period. IECP sessions generally include five 50-minute sessions per day, Monday through Thursday, for a total of 20 50-minute sessions per week.

    The American Culture & Communication (ACC) Course is offered on a quarterly basis for short-term periods spanning three or four weeks at a time. ACC is offered on a part-time basis and includes three 50-minute sessions during the morning (mornings only) daily during the week. For more information regarding the course format, enrollment, and more, you can contact ALC or UCLA Extension at alc@uclaextension.edu.

    If you enroll in one of ALC’s programs, you would also be eligible to participate in the Language Partners Program, in which ALC students are paired with UCLA students studying foreign languages or English-speaking adults in the local community for free conversation exchanges. These conversations take place once or twice per week and allow participants to practice English conversation under the expectation that they will contribute an equal amount of conversation in the ALC students’ native language (to help the partners improve their proficiency in that language). For more details on this program, requirements, eligibility, and more, please email the ALC Academic Advisor.

    Dashew Center

    The Dashew Center for International Students & Scholars (DCISS) offers an American Culture & Conversation Program (AC&C), which is free of charge to enrolled UCLA students. While AC&C is not an English grammar class, nor is it designed as an ESL course, the program enables international students to learn more about American culture while improving their English language conversation. AC&C aims to facilitate speedy integration into US and UCLA life for international students and scholars. The program – which runs for a period of between six and eight weeks – is offered at intermediate and advanced English proficiency levels, which participants may self-designate, as there are no placement tests. The AC&C website also offers additional resources to help students improve their English.

    Dashew’s Language Exchange program enables students and scholars at UCLA to request to be paired with a native speaker of the language they are learning to have one-on-one conversations, held at their convenience. This allows participants to practice and learn a language while also assisting/teaching others to learn their own native language in a collaborative and reciprocity-based format. Participation in the Language Exchange program is also free of charge and open to anyone. Contact intlprograms@saonet.ucla.edu with any questions about the program or or for more details on how and when to apply.

    Graduate Writing Center

    UCLA’s Graduate Writing Center (GWC) provides a variety of workshops and programs throughout the year to assist graduate and professional students with general writing matters as well as more specialized and targeted writing issues. The goal of the GWC is to help increase students’ skill level, confidence, and independence as writers, as well as to help them become effective writers and communicators in their academic and/or professional fields. Students may arrange individual writing consultations by appointment at no cost. To schedule an appointment, students should use the online reservation portal. The GWC also provides several writing resources, including tips on writing specifically for law and for ESL students.

    UCLA Extension

    UCLA Extension offers a variety of English as a Second Language (ESL) courses ranging from Advanced English as a Second Language to Writing and Grammar for Professional Purposes. These offerings are designed to help students improve their English ability based on their specific needs and are available on a part-time basis. The majority of these courses are offered through the UCLA Extension Center office in Westwood, though they occasionally may hold courses elsewhere on campus or have online courses. You can search for courses by course title or browse through a select set of preexisting courses and certificates provided by UCLA Extension. You can contact UCLA Extension’s Registration Office at (310) 825-9971 or enroll@uclaextension.edu for more information regarding current ESL offerings. Note that registration fees will apply in order to enroll in any of these courses.

    UCLA Summer ESL Program

    Although they are not typically available during the regular academic year, UCLA Summer ELS Program course offerings include a variety of courses to aid students in improving their pronunciation, fluency, writing skills, and more in English. The UCLA Registrar also indicates which ESL courses may be available during various academic quarters based on your selections for term and subject area.

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