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College of Law

Florida State University

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an LL.M. Program?
The FSU LL.M. program is a master’s degree program aimed to provide specialized legal training for people who hold a first degree in law (JD or LLB or equivalent). It is designed to allow students to have more flexibility in creating a curriculum that matches their interest and experiences. Students benefit not only from working with FSU’s outstanding faculty and students, but also by establishing professional relationships with other LL.M. students from around the world.

How long does it take to earn an LL.M. degree?
All LL.M. programs require the successful completion of 24 credit hours. Full-time students are expected to complete the program within one calendar year while part-time students must complete the program within three calendar years. It should be noted that international students must be full-time students in any of the LL.M. programs.

How many LL.M. programs does the law school have?
We offer three LL.M. programs: LL.M. in American Law for Foreign Lawyers, LL.M.  in Business Law and LL.M. in Environmental Law and Policy.

Who is eligible for admission?
Our LL.M. programs accept both domestic and international students, except the LL.M. in American Law for Foreign Lawyers program is only open to foreign law graduates. Applicants must have completed a basic law degree from a recognized college, university or law school outside the United States. Students must have excellent academic records and strong professional and/or academic recommendations. Professional experience and demonstrated leadership skills will also be taken into account in admissions’ decisions.

Florida State University College of Law seeks to include students from a diverse group of countries and experiences.

How do I apply?
Students are encouraged to apply online through LSAC. If students encounter any problems, students can contact us for further support.

Visit the specific LL.M. Admission Procedures page for full admission details and to apply online.

When is the deadline?
The application deadline is July 15.

How much does an LL.M. program cost?
The estimated tuition and fees for the 2018-2019 academic year are $32,524.32 (24 credits). Students from Latin America and the Caribbean nations may qualify for a nominal scholarship and the same reduced tuition as in-state J.D. students, which is $16,514.32 for 24 credits. Find more detailed information on the Tuition & Expenses for LL.M. Programs page.

Are there any scholarships available?
Yes, merit-based scholarships are offered. All applications are considered for the merit-based scholarships. Students who are from Latin America or the Caribbean may qualify for in-state tuition and an additional scholarship.

Applicants are also encouraged to seek financial assistance through their governments or other outside sources. For more information about financial aid, visit the Organization of American States (OAS) website.  

Are the LL.M. courses separate from the J.D. courses?
No, LL.M. and J.D. students take the same courses, except for an LL.M. Legal Writing and Research course, and an Introduction to America Law course.

What are the degree requirements?
To earn the LL.M. degree, students must successfully complete 24 units of credit (generally two semesters' study) in residence at the Florida State University College of Law. LL.M. students must also complete a non-credit, one-week orientation prior to the beginning of the fall semester. Students must complete all required courses (if any). There are few required courses, and thus each student’s program is developed to suit the needs and goals of the individual. Students satisfy their requirements over two semesters by choosing courses and seminars from among those offered in the J.D. program. An LL.M. thesis is not required for the degree, but an option to complete such a thesis is available upon discussion with academic advisor.

Do I have to take the LSAT?
No. The LSAT is not required for admission to the LL.M. programs.

When is the admissions decision made?
The Admissions Committee will consider admissions applications as soon as a file is complete. Applicants will be notified immediately upon a decision by the committee.

How will my performance in the LL.M. program be evaluated?
In general, courses are graded by a separate exam or written paper in each course. Grades for most courses are, however, based on a single, final examination or paper for each course. The format of law school evaluation varies. While many professors give written essay-type exams, others give objective question exams or a combination of the two formats. Seminar courses require a written paper.

Will I need a computer?
Florida State Law has been recognized as one of the "most wired" law schools in the country. We are proud of the law school's cutting edge technology that enhances our classroom teaching and provides students with exciting and innovative research capability. 

To be able to take full advantage of these technological capabilities, all entering students, including LL.M. students, are required to have laptop computers. Students have wireless web access within the law school buildings as well as free internet dial-up access, web-based email, the BlackBoard Course Management System and free access to many web-based legal research resources. For more information, see the law school's Laptop Requirements page.

For International Students

What type of visa do I need; how long will it take?
LL.M. students in the United States generally require F-1 visas or J-1 student visas. Because the process to receive a visa may take from 30 to 90 days, admitted students should begin the student visa application process upon acceptance into the program to ensure that the visa will be issued in time for beginning the program in mid-August. For more information, please contact the FSU Center for Global Engagement.

Will this degree allow me to take the bar examination or practice law in the United States?
The Florida State LL.M. degrees may permit a graduate foreign lawyers to take the bar examination in some jurisdictions, particularly New York, District of Columbia, Georgia, California, Texas, Washington State and Wisconsin. Students may tailor their curriculum to meet the course requirements and credit hours necessary for qualification to take the bar examination in the aforementioned jurisdictions. The LL.M. Program provides applicants a guidebook for preparing to apply to these states’ bars. For further information, visit the state bar examination website for foreign lawyers for the New York State Board of Law Examiners, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals on Admissions, the State Bar of Georgia, the State Bar of California, the Texas Board of Law Examiners, the  Washington State Bar Association and the State Bar of Wisconsin.

Each U.S. state in the United States has a Board of Law Examiners which sets the specific requirements for bar admission in that state. Most have requirements for foreign lawyers beyond an LL.M. degree. Students should check with the Board of Law Examiners of the state where they wish to take the bar to see if they are eligible. For complete information about the requirements for bar admission in particular states, refer to the Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements published by the National Conference of Bar Examiners.

Graduates holding an LL.M degree without a J.D. generally cannot sit for the Florida Bar Exam.

Do I need to take an English language proficiency test?
International students whose native language is not English and did not receive a bachelor's degree or graduate degree from a regionally accredited institution within the United States are required to take either the TOEFL or the IELTS and have official scores submitted to the College of Law or LSAC as part of the application.

Find more information on the English Language Proficiency page.

Does Florida State University grant conditional admissions?
Students who otherwise have records meriting acceptance to an LL.M. program, but cannot demonstrate necessary English proficiency may be granted conditional admission. Such admission is contingent upon submission of a minimum TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score of 80 on the internet-based exam. You have one year from the beginning of the above term to meet this condition and be formally admitted into your degree program.

To help you achieve formal admission, the Center for Intensive English Studies (CIES) at Florida State University is available to help you improve your English language proficiency. If you have any questions, please email cies@admin.fsu.edu.

If I complete the LL.M., can I stay in the summer to work?
U.S. immigration regulations currently permit F-1 visa students who have been continuously enrolled in the LL.M. program for two semesters to apply for post-graduate optional practical training (OPT). The optional practical training permission allows F-1 students to remain in the U.S. for approximately one year to undertake law-related employment. Students with J-1 visa status are not eligible for the post-graduate optional practical training.

Can I transfer to the J.D. program?
Graduates of the LL.M. program whose first degree in law is from a non-U.S. college, university or law school, are eligible to apply to transfer to the College of Law J.D. program. Students can transfer up to 29 credits from their LL.M. degree to the J.D. program. Students will be evaluated based on their academic performance in their LL.M. studies. Visit the LL.M. to J.D. Transfer Program page for more details.