LL.M. at Notre Dame
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.
- Business and Tax Law
- Intellectual Property Law
- Fundamentals of American Private Law
- Real Estate Law and Environmental 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 the Office of International & Graduate Programs (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
- Required: 24 credit hours
General Requirements to Apply
- The application period begins November 1 and applications must be received no later than March 15. All supporting documents (letters of recommendations, personal statements, etc.) must be submitted by April 1.
- Applicants must complete the online application found on the Law School Admission Council website.
- A Juris Doctor (J.D.) from an ABA-approved U.S. law school or a Bachelor's Degree in Law (LL.B.) 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 interest in the LL.M. program
- Three Letters of Recommendation
- English Language Proficiency
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 an 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 student to the Law School’s J.D. program prior to graduating with their LL.M. degree.
Do you require the TOEFL or IELTS?
NDLS welcomes J.D. applications from citizens of other countries with sufficient English language proficiency as demonstrated by an English language proficiency exam. NDLS prefers that international applicants whose first language is not English take the TOEFL, but will also accept IELTS scores. Non-native English speakers who have been awarded a post-secondary degree (BA, MA, MBA, PhD, etc.) from a U.S. university are exempt from this requirement.
Applicants must attain a minimum score of 100 points on the internet-based TOEFL (Internet based or iBT) with minimum scores of 25 in each section. Students taking the IELTS must achieve an overall band score of 7.5 or higher. Scores must be no more than 2 years old from the start date of the term at NDLS (which falls in mid-August each year). The University of Notre Dame institution code is 1841.
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. 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.
Consistent with the missions of both the University of Notre Dame and Notre Dame Law School (NDLS), the NDLS LL.M. program seeks to enroll multi-dimensional students from around the world with a wide range of talents, backgrounds, experiences, accomplishments, and points of view. Academic ability, as reflected in scholastic performance, is important; however, the Law School considers a broad array of elements in addition to quantitative measures. Those involved in the admission process are mindful of the Law School's objective to produce lawyers who are competent, compassionate, and committed to serving their clients with integrity. The LL.M. at Notre Dame Admissions Committee thus employs a holistic review philosophy to create a class from a large number of highly qualified applicants.
NDLS begins accepting applications on November 1 for the class entering the following fall. As admission and scholarship decisions are made on a rolling basis, the Admissions Committee strongly recommends prospective applicants read the following directions closely and consider applying early in the application cycle.
Applications may be submitted beginning November 1; the application deadline is March 15. All supporting documents (letters of recommendations, personal statements, etc.) must be submitted by April 1.
An LL.M. application is composed of the following required documents:
- This application form
- A first degree in law and post-secondary transcripts
- LSAC CAS report
- Personal statement
- "Why NDLS" statement
- Three letters of recommendation
- English language proficiency examination
The following are optional or may be requested of a candidate by the Admissions Committee:
Students should answer all questions on the application form. If a question does not apply to a student - or if the student would prefer not to answer an optional question - the student may indicate as such.
First Degree in Law and Post-Secondary Transcripts
All applicants must have a first degree in law to apply for the LL.M. program at Notre Dame Law School. The first degree in law may either be a Juris Doctor from an ABA-approved U.S. law school, or a Juris Doctor, Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.), or comparable first degree in law from a law school or university outside of the United States.
Applicants must submit all post-secondary (Bachelors and advanced degrees) transcripts to LSAC so as to be included in the CAS report.
Students may address any concerns regarding their course work or grades in the Addendum section of the application.
Of special note, the Admissions Committee recognizes that many institutions implemented versions of pass/fail or credit/no credit grading systems for the academic terms affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Admissions Committee encourages applicants to provide further information regarding the grading practices at their institution for that semester via the Addendum section of the application.
LSAC Credential Assembly Service (CAS) Law School Report
Notre Dame Law School requires applicants to register with LSAC's Credential Assembly Service. Notre Dame's number for use of the service is 1841. An applicant's CAS report will include their LSAT scores, LSAT writing sections, all post-secondary transcripts, and letters of recommendation.
Please note that LSAC charges a one-time registration fee of $195 for this service and, additionally, $45 per law school to which the student applies. Applicants may find more information regarding the CAS report on LSAC's website.
Please do not send transcripts nor letters of recommendation directly to Notre Dame Law School unless specifically requested by the NDLS Office of Admissions.
The Admissions Committee gives considerable emphasis in its evaluation to the personal statement. The statement should provide the Admissions Committee with insights about the applicant and the applicant's interest in pursuing both a legal education and career. The most effective personal statements also typically provide further insight into the writer's personality, background, professional interests, or matters that are not fully present in other parts of the application. Applicants may wish to address how their background, experiences, personal character, and/or career aspirations align with the legal education that NDLS provides and how the LL.M. at Notre Dame Law School can assist the applicant in both professional and personal formation.
The personal statement must be the applicant's original work in the applicant's own words. It should not exceed four double spaced pages. This statement must be included with the rest of the application at the time of submission. The personal statement's header must include the applicant's name, LSAC account number, and be titled "Personal Statement."
"Why Notre Dame Law School?" Statement
Applicants must address their specific interest in Notre Dame Law School via the "Why Notre Dame Law School" statement. The prompt for this statement is as follows:
"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.
Please address your interest in Notre Dame Law School in relation to its mission, drawing on your background, experiences, personal character, and/or career aspirations."
The "Why Notre Dame Law School?" statement must be the applicant's own work in their own words. It should be no more than two double-spaced pages. This statement must be included with the rest of the application at the time of submission. The statement's header must include the applicant's name, LSAC account number, and be titled "Why NDLS Statement."
An applicant's resume should highlight their educational, work, leadership, and service experiences. The applicant may also wish to highlight honors, awards, or special skills. While there is no page limit for the resume, one to two pages is typical.
Three Letters of Recommendation
The Admissions Committee requires applicants to submit three letters of recommendation. Applicants may submit up to four if desired.
The applicant's letters of recommendation should come from individuals who can evaluate the applicant's candidacy related to their academic skills, professional abilities, and personal qualities. At least one letter should be from an individual who taught the applicant in law. We realize that some applicants, especially those who have been out of school for a number of years, may have difficulty meeting this request. In such cases, letters from employers/supervisors or others who have worked closely with the applicant are sufficient.
Applicants are required to use the LSAC Letter of Recommendation Service that is part of the Credential Assembly Service. LSAC will include these letters with the CAS report. Please note that LSAC will not release the CAS report until all initial recommenders have submitted their letters. LSAC will send further CAS reports if additional recommenders submit letters at a later time.
English Language Proficiency Examination
Applicants from non-English-speaking countries must take an English language proficiency test unless they have received a post-secondary degree (e.g., a B.A., M.A., MBA, Ph.D., LL.B., etc.) from a college or university whose language of instruction is English.
Applicants with an extraordinary ability for the English language (e.g., has worked as a translator, taught English, received a post-secondary degree from a college or university in an English-speaking country, etc.) are exempt from this requirement and may note any relevant details to their exemption in the Addendum section of the application.
The TOEFL iBT is the preferred test. The minimum score required for the TOEFL iBT is 100.
The minimum score required for the IELTS is 7.0 in the Academic Modules.
The minimum score required for C1 Advanced is 185 on the Cambridge English Scale.
The Admissions Committee prefers that an applicant sit for the test within one year of the time that they apply to the Law School.
Applicants must have copies of the official score report forwarded to LSAC directly from the testing service. Please do not send official score reports to Notre Dame Law School unless specifically requested.
If the applicant believes the Admissions Committee would benefit from additional information about their candidacy that is not specifically and/or fully expressed elsewhere in the application, the applicant is welcome to provide further notes via the Addendum. Examples of information typically provided in this section of the application include further information regarding
specific items on an applicant's resume or about the applicant's background, explanations of undergraduate grading policies, and further details regarding outside funding.
Applicants should double-space the Addendum. The Addendum' s header must include the applicant's name, LSAC account number, and be titled "Addendum."
The Admissions Committee may request an interview with selected either prior to or after submission of an application. Interviews may be conducted via telephone or Zoom. Applicants who are invited to interview will be contacted by the Admissions Committee with instructions.
If an applicant participated in an informational interview or attended a Notre Dame Law School recruiting event prior to submission of this application, the applicant should indicate so in the appropriate sections of the application form.
Due to the volume of applications, the Admissions Committee cannot consider requests by applicants for interviews.
While LL.M. at Notre Dame applicants may not be considered for scholarship assistance from Notre Dame Law School, the Law School has partnered with institutions to award scholarships to successful applicants. Please see the LL.M. page on the Law School's website for a description of these outside scholarship opportunities.