LL.M. in American Law Program (for Non-U.S. Lawyers)

Thank you for your interest in the LL.M. in American Law Program. We look forward to hearing from you.



Eligibility to Apply

Candidates to the LL.M. in American Law Program must hold a first degree in law, or its equivalent, from an accredited or comparably recognized law school or law faculty outside the United States. Admission is highly competitive and depends to a great extent on the demonstration of outstanding ability in previous law studies.   While work experience is not required, it is highly valued.

Back to Top

Application Instructions

Candidates for admission may either apply via the Boston Univerity online application or via the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC). Applicants should NOT apply using both methods, as it may cause significant delays in application processing and admissions decisions. If you have any questions, please contact the admissions office.

Applicants using the LSAC electronic application must use the LSAC Credential Assembly Service. Applicants using the Boston University online application may also elect to use the LSAC Credential Assembly Service. Applicants who do not use the LSAC Credential Assembly Service must submit items by mail directly to the LL.M. Admissions Office.

The following items are required supporting materials to complete the application for admission:

  1. Completed Application for Admission form
    Applicants are strongly encouraged to utilize one of the online application options.  However, applicants who are unable to use the online application may request a paper application form to submit by mail. To request a paper application, please contact bullm@bu.edu.
  2. Application Fee
    Payment of a nonrefundable application fee of U.S. $80 must accompany the application. Online applications may pay this fee only by credit card. Other applicants may pay this fee in the form of a money order or check drawn on a U.S. bank and made payable to Boston University.
  3. Official, Sealed Academic Records
    Complete official transcripts or notarized, full-sized copies of all colleges, universities, or graduate schools from which you have received a degree must be submitted along with an official certification of the law degree received. You should fill out the identifying information at the top of the transcript request form included in the application materials and send it (or a copy of it) to the registrar’s office of each college or university you have attended. Schools should mail official transcripts to you to be submitted, unopened, with the application. (If this procedure is against school policy, you should indicate on the application form that your school is mailing the transcripts directly to us.) The official transcript or an accompanying report must contain your class standing, if given, together with a description of the school’s grading system. All transcripts or other academic records must be official documents bearing the registrar’s signature and/or the institution’s seal. If these records are not in English, a certified English translation must be submitted together with the originals or copies. We recommend that international applicants register with LSAC's LL.M. Credential Assembly Service. For more information, visit www.lsac.org/llm or read below.
  4. Two Letters of Recommendation
    You must submit two letters of recommendation from individuals who are well acquainted with your academic or professional abilities. At least one must be from a former law professor. The other should be from a law professor, a law school administrator, or an employment supervisor. You should fill out the top section of the recommendation form and ask each recommender to complete the bottom section of the form and enclose it with the recommendation letter in an envelope, seal the envelope, sign it across the seal and return it to you to be submitted, unopened, with the other application materials. (If a recommender prefers, she or he may mail the recommendation directly to us, and you should indicate on the application form that the recommender is doing so.)
  5. Personal Statement of Interest
    A carefully worded and detailed personal statement of interest is an important part of your application. You should discuss your personal and professional reasons for pursuing the LL.M. degree. You should also include an explanation of your study interests and their relation to your previous study, employment experiences and professional goals.
  6. International Student Data Form
    Foreign students are required to complete the International Student Data Form and provide the appropriate financial declaration and documentation, as described in the form. While these documents are formally required after academic admission, your official immigration documents may be expedited by submitting all materials with your initial application. To issue your immigration documents, we need to receive official financial documentation from you demonstrating the availability of funds to cover estimated tuition and living expenses for the academic year. Tuition and expenses for the 2014-2015 academic year will not be released until February 2013. To estimate these costs prior to their release, we suggest adding 5% to the 2013-2014 tuition and living expenses for graduate students. If you will be bringing your spouse and/or children, or if you'll be attending the CELOP Legal English Summer Program, additional funds will be required. Visit CELOP's website to view the program's fees and expenses.
  7. Curriculum Vitae
    Please include your curriculum vitae as a separate item, not as a substitute for your personal statement.
  8. Law School Admissions Test
    If you have taken the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), you must list on the application form each time you took the test and the sores you received. (We do not require GRE or other standardized test results.).  The LSAT test is not required of foreign-trained applicants.
  9. Proof of English language proficiency
    (applicants whose native language is not English)
    Applicants whose first language is not English must take either the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), IELTS ( International English Language Testing System) or ILEC (International Legal English Certificate) exam to demonstrate their English competence. LL.M. students must have a high degree of proficiency in speaking, reading, writing and listening in the English language. You should take one of these exams as early as possible, preferably eight months or more before your anticipated admission.

    TOEFL. If taking the TOEFL exam, you must demonstrate proficiency in English by achieving a minimum score of 600 (paper-based) or 250 (computer-based) or 100 (internet-based). If you have taken the new internet-based test, your scores on the individual sections should at a minimum be 25 (reading), 25 (listening), 25 (writing) and 25 (speaking). You must arrange for an official report of your TOEFL scores to be sent to us from the Educational Testing Service (ETS). When submitting score report requests, please use 9627 as the “Institution Code”. The code will be named “Boston University School of Law LL.M. Programs”. Please enter Department Code 03 (for law schools). You also must indicate that your scores should be sent to:

    Boston University School of Law

    LL.M. Admissions Office
    765 Commonwealth Avenue
    Boston, MA 02215

    IELTS. If taking the IELTS exam, you must achieve a minimum score of 7.0. To send your scores to Boston University School of Law, enter the Law School's name and address (provided above) on the IELTS application form.

    ILEC. If taking the ILEC exam, please visit the Verification of Results site, fill in the provided form, and then click the submit button to have your official ILEC scores sent directly to the LL.M. Admissions Office at Boston University School of Law. If taking the ILEC exam, you must demonstrate proficiency in English by achieving a minimum score of B2. Candidates who receive a score under B2 may still apply to the program, but may be asked to attend an intensive English language program prior to the commencement of law school studies.

    Note: Applicants whose native language is not English may ask us to waive the requirement to take an English language proficiency examination if: a) they have received their first degree in law from a college or university in a country where both the language of instruction and the only primary language is English; or b) they have completed at least two years of post-secondary school education in the United States. Applicants must submit a request for waiver with their application citing their specific circumstances for exemption. The law school retains discretion to approve or deny any waiver request.

Back to Top

Extended LL.M. Application Instructions

Prospective students with impressive qualifications but who lack the required level of English language proficiency to begin their LL.M. studies on a full-time basis may be eligible for BU Law’s three-semester “Extended LL.M.” option. Under this arrangement, students begin their LL.M. studies with the six-week summer Pre-LL.M. Legal English Program at CELOP. The fall semester then consists of an English language class at CELOP, for which no degree credit would be awarded, as well as the two required courses in the American Law Program, for which students receive credit toward the LL.M. degree. For the first semester, Extended LL.M. students pay for each CELOP course and each LL.M. course on a per credit basis. During the second semester, students enroll in a full-time course load (ten credits or more) and pay the full-time tuition rate. During the third semester, students may register for a full-time course of study, or if eligible, a part-time course of study. Students are eligible to enroll on a part-time basis if they can complete their degree requirements through less than a full-time program of study (i.e., less than ten credits) by the end of that semester, and they have advanced authorization from the ISSO. To apply directly to this program option, applicants must submit all of the documents listed above and:

  1. Complete the supplemental Extended LL.M. Application Form and email it to bullm@bu.edu BEFORE submitting your application to the American Law Program;
  2. Explain in your personal statement why you are best suited for this enrollment option.

Back to Top

Application Deadlines
LL.M. in Intellectual Property  
Fall 2014 Semester Enrollment April 15, 2014
LL.M. in American Law  
Fall 2014 Semester Enrollment April 15, 2014
LL.M. in Banking & Financial Law
Fall 2014 Semester Enrollment  
Domestic Students July 31, 2014
International Students April 15, 2014
Spring 2014 Semester Enrollment  
Domestic Students November 30, 2013
International Students October 31, 2014
LL.M. in Taxation  
Fall 2014 Semester Enrollment  
Domestic Students July 31, 2014
International Students April 15, 2014
Spring 2014 Semester Enrollment  
Domestic Students November 30, 2013
International Students October 31, 2013
Applications received after those dates are reviewed on a space available basis.


Note Regarding TOEFL scores: We understand that some students are unable to get a TOEFL test date before our application deadline. We will gladly accept applications before the TOEFL scores are available, and make final decisions once we receive the TOEFL scores.

Back to Top


The program Director and/or Assistant Director interviews all qualified applicants by phone (or in person, if practical). The Office of Graduate and International Programs will notify applicants of the time and date of scheduled interviews.

Back to Top

Admissions Decisions

We make admissions decisions on a rolling basis. Although the official deadline is April 15th, priority will be given to applications completed prior to this date. Upon notification of acceptance, a nonrefundable deposit of US $500.00 is required to hold your place in the class. If the deposit is not paid within the specified time, the acceptance will be canceled.

Back to Top

Information for International Applicants

LSAC Credential Assembly Service

We strongly recommend (but do not require) that international applicants register with the LL.M. Credential Assembly Service provided by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). This service collects and authenticates the academic records, letters of recommendation, and English proficiency scores of international lawyers who are applying for admission to U.S. LL.M. programs, and sends reports to participating LL.M. programs to which these lawyers have applied. Because applicants will need to obtain only one set of official academic transcripts in order to make them available for all applications to participating law schools, the service should save them time and money.

Back to Top

Passport and Visa Information

International applicants who are currently in the United States must submit copies of all current visa documents. Applicants who are accepted for admission will ordinarily be issued the Form I-20 (needed to secure the F-1 student visa) directly from Boston University. For additional information concerning passport or visa requirements, international applicants should contact

International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO)
888 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts 02215
Phone 617.353.3565
fax: 617.358.1170
E-mail isso@bu.edu

Back to Top

Center for English Language Orientation Program (CELOP)

The Boston University Center for English Language and Orientation Programs (CELOP) offers a number of intensive language courses, including six-, nine-, and twelve-week summer “Legal English” programs for international students who have been admitted to an LL.M. program. We encourage all LL.M. candidates who received their first degrees in law from countries other than the United States, Canada, or the United Kingdom to seek early preparation for their studies by attending a CELOP summer program. CELOP also offers programs in the fall which may be taken on a part-time basis (see Three-Semester LL.M./CELOP Program below). In certain cases, we may offer full-time admission on the condition that the applicant successfully completes one of the CELOP summer programs before fall enrollment. Students should be aware that participation in a CELOP program will increase their expenses. For more information on CELOP programs, visit CELOP.

Back to Top

Bar Admission

It is generally expected that international students enrolled in LL.M. programs in the United States will return to their home countries after they complete their studies. Most states in the United States will allow only individuals who have earned a Juris Doctor degree from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association to take their bar examinations. However, New York and a few other states do allow some lawyers from abroad who have received LL.M. degrees from Boston University to take bar examinations. Each of the fifty states of the United States has its own criteria and procedures for admitting lawyers to practice, and these criteria and procedures change from time to time. It is essential that a foreign lawyer who wishes to practice in this country directly contact the lawyer-licensing authority in the state or jurisdiction in which he or she expects to be located. Individuals can also request a copy of the Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements from

The National Conference of Bar Examiners
ABA Order Fulfillment Department
750 North Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, Illinois 60611
Phone 312.988.5522

Bar admissions information is also available at the American Bar Association.

Back to Top

Transfer to J.D. Program for Foreign-Trained LL.M. Candidates

Students enrolled in the LL.M. in American Law Program may apply to the J.D. program as transfer students during the spring semester of their LL.M. year and -- if they are admitted -- may receive up to 30 credits for their LL.M. studies towards the J.D. degree, consistent with American Bar Association standards. This means they may be able to complete the J.D. program with two additional years of study. Transfer students who matriculate into the J.D. program need to complete all the requirements of the J.D. program. Transfer applicants need to take the LSAT and will be judged in comparison to all other J.D. transfer candidates. Candidates should not expect preferential treatment by the J.D. Admissions Committee simply by virtue of attending the LL.M. program at BU Law. Admission is not guaranteed.  For fall semester transfer candidates, application forms and fees are due to the Office of J.D. Admissions by June 1 and completed files with all supporting documentation are due by August 1.  LL.M. students may take the LSAT as late as June for fall enrollment.  

Back to Top

Administrative Policies Relating to Federal Guidelines

Equal Opportunity Policy

Boston University prohibits discrimination against any individual on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, marital, parental, or veteran status. This policy extends to all rights, privileges, programs and activities, including admissions, financial assistance, employment, housing, athletics and educational programs. Boston University recognizes that nondiscrimination does not ensure that equal opportunity is a reality. The University therefore will continue to take affirmative action to promote equal opportunity for all students, applicants and employees. Inquiries regarding the application of this policy should be addressed to:

Assistant Vice President for Human Resources
25 Buick Street
Boston, MA 02215
Phone 617.353.4477

Back to Top

Contact Us

Please direct all correspondence, inquiries and application materials to:

Boston University School of Lawapply
LL.M. Admissions Office
765 Commonwealth Avenue, Suite 1534
Boston, MA 02215
Phone 617.353.5323
Fax 617.358.2720
E-mail bullm@bu.edu

Back to Top