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General LL.M. Program

The General LL.M. program allows you to tailor your own course of study based on your individual academic and career objectives while experiencing American law school culture.
“Cornell gave me the opportunity to grow professionally by learning from outstanding faculty and encouraging students to debate their ideas.”
Micaela Ossoi Maguina, LLM Graduate
Micaela Ossio silo

Why Cornell Law

General LL.M. students are fully integrated into the academic and student life of the law school. Our LL.M.s can enroll in courses with J.D. students and participate in virtually all student organizations. The LL.M. Association is a student organization specifically designed to plan programs and events, and represent the LL.M. student body. Outside of the law school, you can enjoy the advantages of the large Cornell University campus located in Ithaca, part of the Finger Lakes Region of New York State.

We typically enroll just over 100 students from a pool of more than 1,000 applicants. The Graduate Legal Studies (GLS) Office can help you design a program of study from more than 200 courses and seminars, including first-year courses, advanced electives, clinical offerings, or courses designed specifically for LL.M. students.

  • Connect with a close-knit student body and world-class scholars.
  • Experience a traditional American university campus.
  • Ithaca is a true college town in picturesque central New York — a stunning location.
events hosted each year at the Big Red Barn Graduate Center
student organizations across campus
acres on the Ithaca campus

Degree Requirements

The General LL.M. program requires the completion of 20 law credits during two semesters of full-time study.

Degree requirements include:

  • Completion of the two-credit Introduction to the American Legal System course;
  • One three-credit seminar with a substantial writing component that satisfies the writing requirement or Principles of American Legal Writing. This can be substituted with a three-credit paper supervised by a faculty member or a five-credit master’s thesis; and
  • An additional 15-16 credits fulfilled by choosing courses from Cornell Law School’s extensive curriculum, including most first-year and upper-level courses. You can also take courses in other divisions of the university.

Those planning to sit for the New York Bar exam must complete 24 credits of in-classroom Law School coursework, which must include:

  • A professional responsibility course;
  • A legal research, writing, and analysis course; and
  • Courses in core subjects covered by the New York State bar exam and the New York Law Exam.

Full details regarding the New York State Bar Requirements can be found on the Registrar’s webpage. These requirements are subject to change each academic year. Students who are interested in taking the New York State Bar Examination should submit an Online Request for Foreign Evaluation of Academic Credentials as soon as possible.

Clinical Program

Since the launch of its first clinic in 1960, Cornell Law School has helped students move beyond the classroom into the world of practice. Today, more than 20 clinics and practicum courses help Cornell Law students develop as client counselors, litigators, and transactional lawyers while serving the public interest locally and around the world.
See all Clinics
students talking in Hughes Hall


General LL.M. candidates are evaluated on a four-tier scale:

  • High Honors (HH): Appropriate for A+ to A course work
  • Honors (H): Appropriate for A- to B+ course work
  • Satisfactory (S): Appropriate for B to C- course work
  • Unsatisfactory (U): Appropriate for D+ or lower course work

There is no faculty policy regulating the proportion of HH, H, S, and U grades that faculty may give to LL.M. students. Merit points are currently not assigned to HH, H, S, and U grades.

General LL.M. students may, after consultation with a Graduate Legal Studies advisor, elect to be graded on the J.D. letter grade scale and curve. This election applies to the entire academic year and must be made by notifying the Law School Registrar within the first four weeks of the date fall semester classes begin.

Ithaca Campus

Graduate Legal Studies Team

Aimée Houghton
Associate Dean for Graduate Legal Studies

Jenny Hutcherson
Associate Director of Graduate Legal Studies Student Support

Lauren Wasson
Associate Director of Graduate Legal Studies Admissions

For all admissions questions, contact glsadmissions@cornell.edu.
For all other questions, contact gls@cornell.edu.

Contact Us

Office of Graduate Legal Studies
+1 (607) 255-5185
Cornell Law School
524 College Avenue
Ithaca, NY USA 14853-4901

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