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Study LLM in USA: Complete Course Guide for International Students

Sayantani Barman Sayantani Barman
Study Abroad Expert

LLM (Master of Laws) in USA is a globally recognized postgraduate degree. This one year course program allows international students to know more about legal studies. In 203 colleges of the USA, LLM is offered to international students. Average course duration for LLM in USA is 9-10months. LLM in USA is offered in various specialized fields like taxation, commercial law, social justice, human rights, environmental law, criminology and others. Average tuition fees for LLM in USA vary between $12000 and $70000.

Benefits of Studying LLM in USA

  • USA legal studies indulges in Socratic Method to improve the argumentative dialogue among the students.
  • Through the academic year, the students get opportunities for pro bono work due to high requirements in legal clinics.
  • Career opportunities like Diplomat or Policy advisor, the law graduates get opportunities to negotiate treaties and maintain international relations.
  • In 1st January, 2019 American Bar shared the report of steady growth in active lawyer to 12.4% (highest since 2010)
  • Legal profession in USA warmly welcomes female lawyers. In 2019, there was a hike in 5% (as compared to a decade) in numbers of female lawyers practicing in legal clinics.
  • Law firms in USA celebrate diversity. Only 20% minorities among the associates are found in 2009 where as in 2018 the number raised to 24%. 
  • International graduates can practice law without any kind of discrimination in these law firms.
  • Entry level salaries in the legal firms range between $58000 and $70000.

Top Ranking universities in USA with Specialization Offering LLM 

USA is a land of famous law schools that introduce the students with the USA legal policies. The different specializations in law will encourage the students to choose the right pathway for careers. In the table below, details on specialization and ranking are as follow 

UniversitiesRanking (QS)SpecializationTotal tuition fees
Harvard Law School 1Business Law, Law Science and Technology, Criminal Justice$65875
Stanford Law School 5Environmental law and policy, international economic law, business and policy$62175
New York University School of Law10Taxation, International Taxation, International Business Regulation, Litigation, and Arbitration$66036
University of California, Berkeley Law 8Energy and Clean technology, International Law, Public Interest and Social Justice$63362
Columbia University9Gender and Sexuality, Law and Liberty, Public Integrity, Global Governance$72360
Georgetown University Law Centre 17Global health law, national security law, technology$62244
University of Pennsylvania30Criminal law, intellectual property and technology law, women leadership and law$70,748
University of California, Los Angeles school of law23Critical Race studies, Media, Entertainment and Technology Law and Policy, International and Comparative Law$66,571
Northwestern Pritzker School of Law  50Appellate law, civil litigation and dispute resolution,$69,580
University of Chicago11Labor law, Economics and law, international law$ 66,651

Admission Process for the Best Law Schools to Study LLM in USA 

International law graduates can work in a satisfying work environment. In the law schools of USA, the students get opportunity to work as pro bono to get acquainted with the legal issues. Requirements for admission process for LLM in USA is given below

UniversitiesApplication Deadline and Application FeeUG GPADocuments
Harvard Law SchoolDecember 1, 2019; Fee- $853.52 LOR; SOP; CV; Writing Samples
Stanford Law School December 1,2019; $12533LOR; SOP; Updated CV; Writing Samples
New York University School of LawDecember 20, 2019; $853.53LOR; SOP; CV; Work Experience Certificate; Writing Samples
University of California, Berkeley Law December 18,2019; $8032LOR;SOP; CV; Writing Sample
Columbia UniversityDecember 18,2019; $852.672LORs; SOP; CV; Work Experience Certificate; Writing Samples
Georgetown University Law CentreFebruary 21, 2020; $9032LORs; SOP; CV; Work Experience Certificate; Writing Samples,
University of PennsylvaniaDecember 16, 2019; $85No such cut off2LOR; SOP; CV; Writing Samples
University of California, Los Angeles school of lawFebruary 1; $8532LORs; SOP; CV; Writing Samples
Northwestern Pritzker School of LawJune 15; $7531LOR; SOP; CV; Writing Samples
University of ChicagoFebruary 1; $853.5More than 4LOR;CV; SOP; Writing Samples

*GRE/GMAT score is not required to study LLM in USA

IELTS/TOEFL (ELP) Requirements for LLM in USA

As most of the international students are natives of non-English speaking nations, English Language Proficiency scores are required mandatorily for the admission process to LLM in USA. A detailed ELP score requirement is given below

UniversitiesEnglish Language Proficiency Score
Harvard Law SchoolTOEFL- 100 (with a minimum of 25 in each subsection)
Stanford Law SchoolTOEFL-100
New York University School of LawTOEFL-100 (with a minimum of 26 in each section) IELTS-7.5 (with a minimum of 7 in each band)
University of California, Berkeley LawTOEFL-100 IELTS-7
Columbia UniversityTOEFL- 105 (with a minimum of 26 in listening and reading sections and 24 in writing and speaking sections; IELTS- Not Acceptable
Georgetown University Law CentreTOEFL- 100 (with a minimum of 25 in each subsection) IELTS- 7.5(with 7 in each band)
University of PennsylvaniaTOEFL-100(with a minimum of 23 in each section)
IELTS-7(with a minimum of 7 in each section)
University of California, Los Angeles school of lawTOEFL-86
Northwestern Pritzker School of LawTOEFL-100 IELTS-7.5
University of ChicagoTOEFL-104 IELTS- 7.5

Documents Required for LLM Admission in USA

The international students require a list of documents for admission process in the law schools to study LLM in the USA. The list includes

  • Acceptance letter from the recognized university
  • 3years bachelor degree in law before applying for master’s program
  • Transcripts of all academic degree secured by the applicants from the previously attended universities
  • Valid Passport or ID card
  • Recent Passport size photographs
  • GPA score or GRE score card
  • Language Proficiency certificates
  • Updated CV with work experience
  • Letter of Recommendations from the person under whom the applicant has work experience
  • Personal Statement or SOP is required to explain the significance of course for the applicant and its benefits in future
  • Academic reference from professor or who has taught the applicant

Cost of Attendance for the International Students to Study LLM in USA 

USA has been an expensive country to sustain livelihood. International students who wish to pursue LLM in USA can get a superficial idea from the table given below about the cost of attendance for LLM in USA across universities.


In the above mentioned table an overview is given for the cost of attendance for LLM in USA. New York University School of Law, Columbia University, University of Chicago and Stanford Law School are the ones with a total structure more than $100000. The major reason for such high cost is due to their locations across the cities. Average monthly cost of living in these cities varies between $3500 and $4000. International students can also avail the option of staying outside the campus.

Scholarships in USA for international students

Due to high tuition fees, the international students opt for scholarships in the USA to waive off the cost. Though LLM in the USA is a 9-10months course program, the students require scholarships for easy completion of course. The commonly availed scholarship in USA  and its amount is given below 

UniversitiesName of the scholarshipAmount
Harvard Law SchoolInlaks Shivdasani FoundationFull tuition fees; living expenses; travel allowance
Stanford Law SchoolFulbright scholarship Tuition fees and travel allowance
New York University School of LawHauser Global Scholars Program$25,000
University of California, Berkeley LawFulbright Scholarship$20,000 to $40,000
Columbia UniversityJagdish Bhagwati FellowshipFull or partial tuition fee
Georgetown University Law CentreGeneral Merit ScholarshipsVary
University of PennsylvaniaPenn Law Merit Scholarships$5,000 to $40,000
University of California, Los Angeles school of lawUCLA Law Distinguished Scholars ProgramPartial tuition fees
Northwestern Pritzker School of Law Dean’s ScholarshipPartial tuition fees
University of ChicagoMerit based scholarship$15,000 and $20,000

Documents required for Visa Interview 

The USA has different types of visa. F1 is used for those who want to pursue academics in universities in the USA. The US study visa is issued post submission of the following documents:  

  • University Acceptance Letter
  • All academic documents (Transcripts)
  • Migration, provisional and character certificates
  • Birth Certificate
  • Original I-20 signed and approved by both the University authority and candidate
  • Language Proficiency certificate
  • GRE scorecard
  • 2 letters of recommendation
  • Resume
  • Sponsorship letter from sponsor
  • Relationship certificate with sponsor
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Financial Proof
  • Last 6-month’s bank transaction and balance certificate
  • Assets valuation
  • Pay SEVIS fee before VISA interview
  • Bring SEVIS paid receipt during visa interview

Once these documents have been submitted, the applicant will be invited for an interview process. Visa will be issued only if the applicant has cleared their visa interview.

Job Prospects for LLM in USA 

The graduates of LLM from USA can try for Optional Practical Training (OPT). At least 6 months before completion of degree, the LLM students should apply for this training. Maximum duration for OPT is 12months. The job can be contractual basis, paid or unpaid. After completion of the OPT, graduates can apply for a H1B visa to start working under a US employer. Every year 65000 H1B visas are being issued for the foreign nationals. Other than USA, there is a high demand for law graduates in Canada. The job markets for law graduates in Canada are not only concentrated to the law firms, but can also work as legal advisors in banking as well as administrative sectors.

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