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 equips international students with a fundamental understanding of American law and culture as they enter the global legal market. Many of our 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 students have access to the core curriculum of the Law School, and may choose to concentrate their studies in a variety of specializations by taking advanced courses offered in the J.D. program.


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

They then develop a deeper understanding of American law by attending classes alongside our J.D. candidates in a wide selection of courses. Students focus their efforts in a field of personal and professional interest, working with their counselor to choose courses from among any of the featured programs of study or to tailor a program custom-designed for their own unique interests.

Many LL.M. students consult their LL.M. program advisor and study with their peers for the bar exam. Bar exam eligibility is not guaranteed by completion of LL.M. program. Students seeking to sit for the bar will be responsible to choose courses to meet requirements of individual states. Recommended course offerings will be available for select states upon admission.

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 April 1.
  • 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?
$63,090 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

Aviles-Brazil Fellowship

Notre Dame Law School will award the Aviles-Brazil Fellowship to a qualified applicant pursuing its general LL.M. The recipient will receive a fellowship to study at Notre Dame Law School. As the United States’ oldest Roman Catholic Law School, students of diverse backgrounds are encouraged to cultivate both the life of the mind and the wisdom of the heart and to pursue their studies with a passion for the truth. The intent of the Aviles-Brazil Fellowship is to form lawyers who will be a part of the authentic development of the rule of law in Brazil.

Applicants must be a resident of Brazil, possess a Bachelor of Laws from a Brazilian university or a J.D. from an American law school, score at least 100 on the TOEFL, and submit a personal statement addressing interest in the LL.M. and the Aviles-Brazil Fellowship. Interested students should apply before April 1, 2020 to the general LL.M. online through the LSAC online application system (www.lsac.org).

The average Notre Dame Law School student expense budget for the 2020-21 academic year includes:

Expense Cost
LL.M. Tuition: $62,590
Fees: $500
Room and Board: $10,350*
Books and Supplies: $1,750*
Personal Expenses: $6,340*
Transportation Expenses: $2,700*
Total: $84,230

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