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Academics and Careers

Academics

What are your strongest academic programs?

At Cornell Law we have many strong academic programs ranging from International Law to Corporate Law to Labor Law. The best way to find information about our academic programs is to visit our faculty profiles website and our curriculum website.

What is a typical First year Class like?

The First Year Class is divided into six sections of approximately 32 students.

During the Fall semester, you will have one class that will only include your section of 32 students. Your legal research and writing class will also be taught in a class of 32 students. Please visit here for more information about the First Year at Cornell Law.

Are there academic support programs?

Yes, there are both formal and informal academic support programs. During the First Year, students have the opportunity to work with an academic support counselor as well as upper-class students. Also, students have the opportunity to be assigned a faculty and/or a student mentor.

Cornell Law is a small legal community, so there are many opportunities for informal academic support. Students can easily interact with their classmates and faculty.

Are there opportunities to interact with faculty?

Yes. One of the cornerstones of the Cornell Law faculty is their accessibility to students.

What joint degree programs do you offer?

As the largest and most academically diverse Ivy League University, Cornell offers a robust number of joint degree programs. We currently offer the following joint degree programs:

  • J.D./Ph.D. Doctor of Philosophy
  • J.D./M.A. Master of Arts
  • J.D./M.S. Master of Science
  • J.D./D.M.A. Doctor of Musical Arts
  • J.D./D.V.M. Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
  • J.D./M.Arch Master of Architecture
  • J.D./M.A.T. Master of Teaching
  • J.D./M.B.A. Master of Business Administration
  • J.D./M.D. Doctor of Medicine
  • J.D./M.Eng. Master of Engineering
  • J.D./M.F.A. Master of Fine Arts
  • J.D./M.F.S. Master of Food Science
  • J.D./M.H.A. Master of Health Administration
  • J.D./M.I.L.R. Master of Industrial and Labor Relations
  • J.D.M.L.A. Master of Landscape Architecture
  • J.D./M.M.H. Master of Hospitality Management
  • J.D./M.P.A. Master of Public Administration
  • J.D./M.P.S. Master of Professional Studies
  • J.D./M.R.P. Master of Regional Planning

Do I have to apply to the joint degree programs separately?

Yes. Read more.

Which application forms do I use?

You use our law school application and the application for each respective program.

Each program within the joint degree has separate admission procedures and separate applications. You must be admitted to both programs separately, before you can enter the joint degree.

Do I have to take the GRE or GMAT?

The requirements vary for each respective degree program. Read more.

Do you have any clinical programs?

Yes. Cornell Law students enjoy a number of cutting-edge clinical programs, including:

  • Advanced International Human Rights Clinic
  • Capital Punishment Clinic: Post-Conviction Litigation
  • Capital Appellate Clinic
  • Child Advocacy Clinics 1 & 2 
  • Criminal Defense Trial Clinic
  • E-Government Clinic 1 & 2
  • International Human Rights Clinic
  • Labor Law Clinic
  • Land Use, Development and Natural Resources Protection Clinic
  • Real Estate Litigation Clinic
  • Prosecution Trial Clinic
  • Public Interest Clinics 1, 2, & 3 
  • Securities Law Clinic 1, 2 & 3
  • US Attorney’s Office Clinic 1 & 2
  • Water Law in Theory and Practice 1
  • Wrongful Conviction and Actual Innocence

Do I have to specialize in any one area?

No. You may choose to tailor your schedule of classes, following your first year, toward your interests and career goals. We offer the following concentrations:

  • Advocacy
  • Public Interest
  • Business Law and Regulation
  • General Practice

What are your study abroad opportunities?

Cornell Law students may apply to spend a semester abroad during the Spring semester of their second year of law school, or during the Fall semester of their third year. Cornell Law School currently has study abroad agreements with twelve partner schools. It is also possible for a student to design an individual “term away” at a foreign law faculty.

Partner Schools:

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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 800 – 1,000 applications for the 55-60 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 15 (All application materials due)

Is the LLM 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 55-60 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 LLM application process?

No. The only standardized test that may be required for the LLM 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’s Career Office has a professional 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.

Past and Prospective Careers

What is Cornell Law's job placement rate and where do most graduates end up working?

Cornell Law has robust job placement rate and our students secure top positions across the entire country. The employment statistics for recent classes can be found here.

Is there any help for students who want to pursue Public Interest work?

Cornell Law has a deep commitment to helping students work for the public interest. The Assistant Dean for Public Service, Karen Comstock, dedicates all of her time to offering students a wealth of information about how to successfully pursue public interest employment.

Our Public Interest Low Income Protection Plan is one of the most supportive loan-forgiveness programs in the nation. Cornell Law established this loan repayment assistance program for graduates who prefer employment in low-income public interest or public sector jobs to more lucrative private law practice positions. Qualifying graduates apply only a certain percentage of their annual incomes to repay the law school educational loans. The difference in the loan is provided by a grant issued by Cornell Law School during each year a graduate is in the program. More information and a PDF copy of the plan can be obtained by clicking here (pdf).

Students who wish to work with public interest organizations during the summer may be eligible for Public Interest Fellowship grants. The grants are made possible through a combination of creative fundraising activities organized by the student Public Interest Law Union and funds from the law school. By combining these summer Public Interest Fellowships and work-study funding, full time grants of $4,000.00 are awarded to students.

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