LL.M. at Notre Dame

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The LL.M. at Notre Dame provides an opportunity to study the legal system of the United States in a traditional U.S. law school environment. It also offers students an opportunity to enhance their legal education. It equips international students with a fundamental understanding of American law and culture as they enter the global legal market. It allows students from the U.S. to deepen their knowledge of an area of law they have already studied, or to specialize in a new area of law. Many of our international students choose to take the New York bar exam, others use their education to teach outside the United States, and a select number of post-J.D. students use the Notre Dame LL.M. opportunity to develop a specialty.

"It's not just amazing fuel for the mind. Notre Dame provided a very unexpected and overwhelming sense of belonging. You find people here who are passionate, who want to make an impact." – Fernanda Gianesella Bertolaccini '19 LL.M.

Notre Dame Law School values the diversity that international LL.M. students bring to the law school community. International students are fully integrated into the Law School’s curriculum and culture as they attend classes and take part in student activities with their U.S. classmates.


All LL.M. students have access to Notre Dame Law School’s core curriculum and take classes with J.D. students.

Internationally educated students take two courses specially designed to ensure they will have a solid foundation for understanding the U.S. legal system:

  • Introduction to American Legal System
  • LL.M. Legal Research and Writing

Students in the LL.M. at Notre Dame program may choose to concentrate their studies in a specialized area. The program has four defined concentrations that students may follow to deepen their expertise in a particular area of the law.

Students in the LL.M. at Notre Dame program also have the option of creating a custom-designed concentration tailored to their own unique interests. The Law School’s wide selection of courses and J.D. programs of study are available to all LL.M. students.

Bar exam eligibility is not guaranteed by completion of LL.M. program. Students that are interested in sitting for a bar examination in the United States are encouraged to evaluate how the requirements to sit for the bar fit with a concentration’s requirements or their chosen course of study. Students should consult with the Career Development Office, and evaluate their course of study in a particular concentration in that light with Dr. Felicia Caponigri, Director of International and Graduate Programs, as soon as possible after beginning the LL.M. at Notre Dame. Please note that requirements to sit for the bar exam differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

Length of Program

The LL.M. program begins in the fall, lasts two full semesters and is available in two locations: Indiana and London.

Grading and Transfer Policy

LL.M. students are subject to the same grading curve and academic policies as regular JD students.

Select students in the LL.M. program with exceptional academic performance may be eligible to apply as transfer students to Notre Dame Law School’s J.D. program.

Graduation Requirements

  • Required: 24 credit hours

General Requirements to Apply

  • The application period begins September 1 and applications must be received no later than March 15.
  • Applicants must complete the online application found on the Law School Admission Council’s website.
  • A Juris Doctor from an A.B.A. approved American law school or a Bachelor's Degree in Law from an accredited college or university 
  • The University of Notre Dame is an eminent Catholic university. Consistent with the Catholic mission of the University, Notre Dame Law School aims to educate a "Different Kind of Lawyer": one who realizes that the practice of law is not an end in itself but a vocation - a means by which we as lawyers can be of service to God and to humankind. Our Catholic faith also moves us to be open and welcoming to people of all viewpoints and all religious traditions. In 500-1000 words, please address your interest in Notre Dame in relation to its mission, drawing on your background, experiences, personal character, and/or career aspirations.
  • Personal Statement addressing your specific interest in the LL.M. program
  • Resume 
  • Three Letters of Recommendation 
  • English Language Proficiency 
  • Application fee

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Frequently Asked Questions

How many students are in the LL.M. program?
We seek to build a class of 15 to 20 students each year.

How many credits does it take to complete and LL.M.?
24 credits (including two required courses). All students must take Introduction to the American Legal System and LL.M. Research, Writing, and Analysis.

How long does it take to complete the LL.M.?
Two academic semesters.

How much does the LL.M. cost?
$65,936 in tuition and fees. Books and living expenses are additional costs and they may vary from student to student.

Can I transfer to the J.D. program from the LL.M. program?
Notre Dame LL.M. students who successfully complete the program may apply as a transfer to the school’s J.D. program.

Do you require the TOEFL or IELTS?
Yes, unless the applicant has graduated from an English speaking university or college. We require a TOEFL of 100 or an IELTS of 7.0.

Does the school provide any financial assistance to LL.M. students?
Students should be prepared to fund their own education through personal and/or external resources. Limited scholarship funding from Notre Dame Law School may be available, and each applicant will be considered based on their academic and professional accomplishments. There is no separate application for merit scholarship from ND Law School. A special scholarship may be available to applicants from Brazil. (Please see below for additional details.)

Is there career placement assistance for LL.M. students?
Yes, the school’s Career Development office works with LL.M. students seeking employment, including advice on preparing resumes, cover letters and how to handle interviews.

If I am a foreign educated student, can I take a bar exam after I earn my LL.M?
Yes, Notre Dame LL.M. graduates are eligible to sit for some state’s bar exam. We encourage students to review the requirements listed on state bar examiner’s websites and to discuss their plans in advance with our Student Services Director.

Tuition, Fees and Financial Aid

Students are encouraged to seek financial aid opportunities from domestic and international sources. Students demonstrating exceptional academic strength will be considered for merit based scholarships.

Scholarship with Special Applications Processes

FUNED Mexico Scholarship

Under the Notre Dame Law School/FUNED Scholarship, Notre Dame Law School will award a fellowship of $10,000 to a select number of qualified applicants who are graduates of Mexican colleges and universities and pursuing its LL.M. programs. Interested students should apply to Notre Dame Law School and follow the application steps described on the FUNED website. If you have questions, contact Jean Marc Brissau.

Fulbright-Notre Dame LL.M. Student Award

The Fulbright Commission and Notre Dame Law School are offering an opportunity for an Irish student to travel to the U.S. to study for an LL.M. The LL.M. at Notre Dame allows students to study the legal system of the United States in a traditional U.S. law school environment.

In partnership with the Fulbright Commission, Notre Dame Law School seeks mission-driven students who view the practice of law as a service to others and who wish to discover their unique roles in furthering the cause of justice in legal fields.

More information is available at the Fulbright Commission website.

The average Notre Dame Law School student expense budget for the 2022-23 academic year includes:

Expense Cost
LL.M. Tuition: $65,436
Fees: $500
Room and Board: $10,350*
Books and Supplies: $1,750*
Personal Expenses: $6,710*
Transportation Expenses: $2,700*
Total: $87,446

*Actual costs vary based on housing accommodations, travel costs, and personal expenses.