University of Wisconsin–Madison

LL.M. & S.J.D.

Research-based Degree Programs Overview

The University of Wisconsin Law School's research-based degree programs are strictly designed for those who have received a basic law degree from an American law school, or an equivalent degree (e.g., LL.B.) from a university outside the United States.

The research-based degree programs do not require any coursework and mainly involve research and writing, along with mandatory attendance at seminars and workshops. The LL.M. and S.J.D. degrees are primarily of value to those planning on a career as a legal scholar or researcher.

Students are expected to complete the LL.M. and S.J.D. degree in 4 years total. There is no direct entry into the S.J.D. program.


Deadline for Fall 2019: March 1, 2019

To apply for the LL.M./S.J.D. degree program, an applicant should submit the following to the Graduate Programs Office:

  • LL.M./S.J.D. application
  • Personal Statement- up to 2 pages, double-spaced, explaining why you are interested in the LL.M./S.J.D. program
  • Resume
  • Research Proposal- provide a brief summary of your planned research proposal in at least 6 pages, double-spaced
  • $60 non-refundable application fee
  • Letters of recommendation- two letters are required, three are preferred. Letters of recommendation should be from individuals who can attest to your skills and abilities in an academic or professional capacity.
  • Official transcripts- from all higher education institutions attended (undergraduate, law school, etc.)
  • TOEFL or IELTS score (see below)

Applicants should email their application, personal statement, resume, and research proposal in PDF format as attachments to the Graduate Programs Office at

Application fee should be paid by check or money order and pay to the order of "University of Wisconsin Law School". Application fee, letters of recommendation, and official transcripts should be mailed to the Graduate Programs Office using the following address:

University of Wisconsin Law School
Attn: Graduate Programs Office
975 Bascom Mall, Room 3222
Madison, WI 53706-1399 USA

English Language Proficiency Test Requirement

All applicants are required to take an English Language Proficiency Test whose first language is not English to adequately demonstrate English competency as a part of the application process.

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
    • A score of 92 or higher is recommended
    • You should have your TOEFL scores electronically sent to the University of Wisconsin Law School by using the institutional code C130  
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
    • A score of 7.0 or higher is recommended
    • If you are applying with the paper application, the University of Wisconsin Law School only accepts IELTS results delivered to our IELTS Results Service E-Delivery account by the IELTS test center. No paper Test Report Forms will be accepted and an institution code for IELTS is NOT required. Please contact the test center directly where you took the IELTS test and request that your test scores be sent to the following E-Delivery account using the IELTS system. All IELTS centers worldwide are able to send scores electronically to our institution. 
      • You must provide the following information to the test center where you took the test when requesting your scores:
        E-Delivery Account Name: University of Wisconsin Law School
        Address (associated with E-Delivery account): 975 Bascom Mall, Madison, WI 53706

Applicants with TOEFL or IELTS scores below the recommended score are still encouraged to apply.  

Wisconsin Residency

If you are claiming Wisconsin residency, complete the Record of Residence form and submit with your application.


Applicants who are admitted to the LL.M./S.J.D. degree program, will have an advisor selected for them by the Graduate Programs Committee based on research proposal topic. 

Financial Aid

Applicants are encouraged to seek funding and financial aid from additional sources. The University of Wisconsin Law School has some financial aid available to LL.M./S.J.D. students. Requests for financial aid can be made on the LL.M./S.J.D. application when applying. Applicants will be notified if they are to receive financial aid via email, shortly after they are admitted.

Contact Us



Mailing Address

University of Wisconsin Law School
Attn: Graduate Programs Office
975 Bascom Mall
Madison, WI 53706

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