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Frequent LL.M. Questions

How can I obtain an application for admission?

You may use the following options:

How many applications do you receive for the LL.M. program?

We usually receive between 1,000 – 1,200 applications for the 75-85 seats in the program.

What are your application deadlines?

  • LL.M. Decision: February 1 (All application materials due, for a decision by early April). To be considered for academic fellowships, all application materials must be received by January 10.
  • J.S.D. Decision: May 1 (All application materials due)

Why use the LSAC LL.M. Credential Assembly Service?

All prospective students applying to the Cornell Law School LL.M. or J.S.D. programs should use the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) LL.M. Credential Assembly Service. To register, visit the LSAC website at www.lsac.org/llm. All applicants are strongly advised to register for the LL.M. Credential Assembly Service four to six weeks in advance of their first application deadline. It is recommended that application materials which must be mailed to LSAC be received at least two weeks before the application deadline.

The LL.M. Credential Assembly Service simplifies the application process by centralizing the collection of application materials, and distributing them in an electronic report to all law schools to which an applicant applies. Applicants, particularly those applying to multiple law schools, benefit from using this service by submitting the required application materials only once to LSAC. Cornell's receipt of the required materials electronically from LSAC allows for quicker and more efficient processing for all applicants.

Is the LL.M. program only for International students?

This program primarily attracts foreign lawyers with a first degree in law who would like to increase their understanding of American legal principles or to hone their skills in specialized areas. From this popular LL.M. program, we enroll 75-85 students.

What are the differences between the LL.M. and J.S.D. programs?

The LL.M. program is a one year program intended for students with a first degree in law. The J.S.D. degree program is a two year graduate program intended for candidates who possess an LL.M. degree and wish to pursue a graduate degree.

Most successful J.S.D. applicants possess an LL.M. degree from Cornell Law School, but such a degree is not a requirement.

Is the LSAT required for the LL.M. application process?

No. The only standardized test that may be required for the LL.M. application is the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language).

Is the TOEFL required for admission?

If so, what are the TOEFL codes for ETS?

For applicants whose native language is not English, proficiency in English is also required, as demonstrated by the application as a whole and performance on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

The TOEFL is offered frequently throughout the world. Information on times and places and an application form can be obtained from:

The Educational Testing Service
Princeton, NJ 08541, U.S.A.
Phone: (609) 921-9000

Our institution code is 2098, department code 03. To have your TOEFL score report sent to the LSAC LL.M. Credential Assembly Service you must have ETS send your TOEFL score to LSAC using the institution code number 8395.

What is the minimum recommended score for the TOEFL examination?

A minimum overall TOEFL score of 550 (paper-based), 213 (computer-based), or 79 (Internet-based) is required to be considered for admission. The official score report must be received prior to the applicable deadline for an application to be considered.

Accepted applicants whose TOEFL scores are between 550 and 600 (paper-based), between 213 and 250 (computer-based, or between 79 and 100 (Internet-based)) must take the English placement test given at Cornell during registration week.

If the placement score indicates that you need additional formal training in English, a course will be required during the first semester.

When may the TOEFL exam requirement be waived?

Applicants who have received their law degrees from an English-speaking institution or if English is the applicant’s native language, are not required to sit for the TOEFL.

Careers

What access do LL.M. students have to the Career Services Office?

Cornell Law School has a career advisor in the Graduate Legal Studies Program Office who dedicates his time to facilitating interviewing opportunities for employers who would like to interview LL.M. degree candidates— usually large firms that hire an LL.M. graduate for a one- or two-year internship.

The majority of LL.M. graduates return to their home country to teach, practice law, govern, or pursue other options. J.S.D. students typically pursue academic opportunities in their home countries.

Re-Application Process

What materials does the re-applicant need to submit with new application?

Applicants who are denied admission may reapply to Cornell Law in a subsequent year. The Admissions Committee will review your entire application, but will also focus on any significant changes since your prior application.

To reapply for admission you should submit an entirely new application, including an updated statement of purpose, new recommendation forms and so on. The LL.M. Admissions Office keeps old applications in storage for one year. Therefore if it will be a hardship for you to submit new transcripts or recommendation forms as part of your new application, you may use those submitted with last year's application. To do so, email the LL.M. Admissions Office and tell us exactly which transcripts and recommendation forms from last year's application you would like to use for your new application. We will consider the materials you specify to be part of your admissions file. Because we keep old admissions files for only one year, we unfortunately cannot honor requests to retrieve any transcripts or recommendation forms from applications that are over one year old.

Please note that unless you tell us in writing to reactivate your transcripts or recommendations, we will assume that you will submit a new set. While the LL.M. Admissions Office will do its best to assist with your reapplication, it is ultimately the applicant’s responsibility to assure that his or her file is complete.

Are deferrals granted?

One-year deferrals may be granted on a case-by-case basis.

Historically, the Committee has granted a deferral for compelling reasons, such as the inability to secure a visa or financial hardship.

Is Financial Aid available to LLM students?

We provide a small number of fellowship awards to LL.M. candidates. These awards are primarily based on academic promise, as evidenced by past academic performance, but also take other factors into account. All of your application materials must be received by January 10 to be considered for these fellowships.

How is my curriculum designed as an LLM student?

Cornell’s curriculum (pdf) gives you a lot of freedom to design a course of study.

  • Students can choose from more than 120 courses and seminars.
  • Students can enroll in first-year courses, more advanced electives, or special courses designed for non-U.S. degree-holders.

Does the completion of the LLM program enable the graduate to sit for the New York State bar exam?

Yes. Students intending to sit for the New York State bar examination must complete a minimum of 20 credit hours in professional law subjects, including courses in basic American law.

Can a LL.M. student transfer to the J.D. degree program?

Yes. Current Cornell LL.M. students must submit a transfer application no later than April 1st. The transfer procedures and requirements will, in general, be the same as those applied to J.D. students at other law schools who seek to transfer into our J.D. program (including the requirement of a LSAT score). However, at least one letter of recommendation should be from a Cornell Law faculty member who has taught you.

If there is room in the J.D. program, the Admissions Committee will admit students when their grades in our LL.M. program, along with all other aspects of their application materials, clearly demonstrate the potential to be outstanding J.D. students. This is a very high standard and can be met only in extraordinary circumstances.

LL.M. students accepted into the J.D. program as transfer students will be eligible to apply up to 24 of the credits obtained in pursuit of their LL.M. degree toward their J.D. degree requirements. LL.M. students who decide to transfer to the J.D. program will lose their eligibility to receive their pending LL.M. degree. Students need to complete at least four semesters at Cornell while enrolled as a J.D. student.

In general, financial aid in the form of law school grants will not be available to students transferring from the school’s LL.M. program to our J.D. program. However, in extraordinary circumstances, the Admissions Committee may make exceptions to this policy in individual cases.