The University of Wisconsin Law School's LL.M. program is strictly a research and writing one designed for those who have already received a basic law degree from an American law school or an equivalent degree (e.g., LL.B.) from a university outside the U.S. The LL.M. is primarily of value to those planning on a career as a legal scholar or researcher.
No course work is required (although students must register to get program credit for their research); in fact, degree candidates are actively discouraged from enrolling in courses. Applicants should already have a sufficient education in the field of research to pursue a serious scholarly project
The University of Wisconsin Law School's LL.M. Program is research-based and designed to be completed within two years.
· No regular (classroom) courses are taken in the LL.M. program. Students must register for a non-classroom course called "Directed Research" (Law 990) each semester and pay tuition based on the Law School tuition schedule.
· We have one specialized LL.M. program, the Master of Laws-Legal Institutions, specifically for those whose first degree in law was from a university outside the U.S.
· Because our LL.M. degree is research-based and not course-based, completion of the LL.M. degree at our law school will not qualify you to take a bar exam. If you are interested in taking a bar exam, see the information about our Master of Laws-Legal Institutions degree.
· Applicants to the LL.M. program may seek Fall (August) admission. The deadline for receiving the application for the research-based programs is March 1 for Fall entry.
· Students must satisfy the required physical presence residence requirement. This is done by enrolling as a full-time law student in Law 990 (12 credits each semester) and doing research in Madison for two regular semesters (i.e., fall and spring). Students entering the LL.M. program who were in the LL.M.-LI program should note that the LL.M. program is a distinct program with its own residence requirement that must be satisfied.
· The actual time of completion of the program may vary, depending on the research problem.
Eligibility to apply to the LL.M. Program
Those who have a J.D. degree from a U.S. law school are eligible to apply directly to the LL.M. program.
For those who have a basic law degree from a university outside the U.S., especially from a civil code country, and who do not already have a master's degree in law from an American university, our Graduate Programs Committee recommends the successful completion of our course-based Master of Laws-Legal Institutions program before applying to our LL.M. program.
The LL.M.-Legal Institutions program provides the necessary foundation in course work and writing a research paper. The deadline for application for the LL.M.-Legal Institutions program is March 15 for Fall entry.
Requirements of the LL.M. Program
Be sure to read carefully the requirements for the LL.M. program.
Applying to the LL.M. Program
To apply for the LL.M. program, an applicant should submit electronically:
· A completed LLM/SJD application. The document may be filled in online and saved as a pdf or printed and scanned in as a pdf.
· If you are claiming Wisconsin residency please complete a Record of Residence form. This form should be printed out and then scanned in and emailed with your application. The Record of Residence form does not need to be completed if you answered "No" to Question 16 on the application.
· A research proposal--A brief summary of your proposed research project is a critical part of the application process, but it need not be detailed (at least 6 pages, double-spaced). Our experience is that it is helpful to have a general indication of the applicant's interest so that we can involve one or more members of the faculty who share this interest in the review process, and be assured that the research will have the active interest and involvement of a faculty member who will then serve as the students’ advisor. The specific focus of the research will most likely be altered or refined through the initial collaboration of the student and his or her advisor. Submit as a pdf.
· A personal statement--a statement that tells us why you are interested in the LLM/SJD program (up to 2 double-spaced pages). Submit as a pdf.
· A current resume, submitted as a pdf.
· Three original letters of reference from persons who can, in detail, assess your past performance and your potential as both teacher and scholar. The letters should be on letterhead and should have a waiver attached. Waivers for recommendation letters are required for each recommendation letter. Complete and sign a waiver for each letter of recommendation and give to each writer of a recommendation letter to include with the letter.
· Official transcripts from all higher education institutions you attended (undergraduate, law school, and any others).
· Application fee of $56.00.
· Official copy of TOEFL (or IELTS) score.
For more information about how to apply, please review the application process website. Once all the applications are complete the Graduate Programs Committee will meet to review and decide which applicants will be admitted.
Costs of the LL.M. Program; Financial Assistance
Information about cost of the program is found at Tuition and Living Expenses.
Applying for financial assistance (new and continuing
See information at
The Graduate Programs office handles
admissions, application inquiries, and any questions you may have about the
Phone: +1 (608) 262-9120
University of Wisconsin Law School
Attn: Graduate Programs
975 Bascom Mall, Room 3222
Madison, WI 53706
Monday through Friday - 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Graduate Programs Office Staff:
Ms. Ashley Spink
Admission and Enrollment Manager
Mr. Jason Smith
Graduate Programs Coordinator
Ms. Wenjie Hu
Associate Outreach Staff