The Master of Laws-Legal Institutions Degree Program


Most master's level students at the Law School are enrolled in the  Master of Laws-Legal Institutions degree program, a course-based master's in law for students with law degrees from universities outside the United States.

The LLM-Legal Institutions  degree is the program for those who want to learn about American law and common law analysis. Students take courses at the Law School and can also take courses from other departments at the University. This master's program is a one-year (9 month) program that provides an excellent opportunity for taking a range of courses in U.S. and international law.  Quick information about the LLM-Legal Institutions program is given here:

Fall and spring entry

The deadlines for application are March 15 for fall entry. and October 15 for spring entry.

Requires 24 credits. It is a rigorous program composed of graduate level coursework with a small research component.

Can be completed in one academic year (September-May, or January-May followed by September-December, in the case of spring entry). Students can extend the program through the summer or the following fall semester, if desired.

Two required courses (totaling 6 credits) - these are designed specifically for Legal Institutions students. The required courses provide an overview of American law and skills in legal analysis, reading cases, and writing a legal research paper.

Elective courses are chosen from the JD curriculum and some may also be chosen from other University departments and schools (such as the Business School). Great flexibility in designing individualized programs

Each student has a faculty advisor.

LLM-Legal Institutions graduates may qualify to take a bar exam in the United States.

A TOEFL score of 100 (Internet-based) or 600 (paper-based) and higher is desired.  Students with lower TOEFL scores may be considered for admission in some cases. In those cases, the student may be required to take a 3 credit English class.  In the fall semester, a specialized Legal English class is offered specifically for LLM-LI students. The English class does not count towards the 24 required credits.  There is a fee for the class.

The Graduate Admissions Committee prefers the TOEFL score (TOEFL Website).  However, we will accept the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) score as alternative to the TOEFL.   The score on the IELTS should be 7.0 or higher

The LLM-Legal Institutions program is also used as the initial course-based master's program by a small number of students from civil code countries who wish to pursue the research-based degrees at the UW Law School (the LLM (Master of Laws) and SJD (Doctor of Juridical Science) programs).

The LLM-Legal Institutions program is a course-based program and does not substitute for the Law School's research-based LLM program as a requirement for entry into the Law School's SJD program.

Application is done online. 

If you have questions about the LLM-Legal Institutions  program, you may find the answers on our Frequently Asked Questions page.

If you are interested in the LLM-Legal Institutions master's program, please read the Requirements of the program carefully.


If you have questions, please contact the Graduate Programs Office at the University of Wisconsin Law School:

telephone: (608) 262-9120
fax: (608) 265-2253

A past Legal Sources class, after their visit to
the Dane County Courthouse and observation of a jury trial

The MLI entering class from about five years ago,
after their visit to
the Dane County Courthourse and observation of a jury trial.

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