Columbia University School of Law

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Official Guide to LLM, Master’s, and Certificate Programs


Cherry blossom trees bloom above a courtyard, where students study and socialize

Renowned for its intellectual rigor and high professional standards, Columbia Law School is steadfastly committed to providing the best legal education in the country. Columbia offers three graduate degree programs for those who already hold a first degree in law (or higher):

Law School Enrollment

  • Total law school enrollment: 1,600 (approximate)
  • Total LLM enrollment: 330 (approximate) in both the LLM and Executive LLM Programs combined
  • Full-time: All LLM Program students
  • Part-time: None
  • Hybrid (Full- and Part-time): All Executive LLM Program students

Master of Laws (LLM Program)

Students smile in a classroom settingFor over 100 years, Columbia’s LLM Program has embraced an interdisciplinary approach to legal studies, offering a broad curriculum across legal and other disciplines that demands and deepens analytical thought. Each year, we enroll a diverse class of graduate students whose experience spans all areas of the legal profession—including private practice, academia, the judiciary, public service, human rights advocacy, and NGOs. As an LL.M. student, you will form study groups with these accomplished scholars who are as intellectually curious as you are; participate in clinics, moot courts, journals, and pro bono work alongside driven peers; and build lifelong friendships and connections through student organizations at the Law School and across the greater Columbia University campus.

Columbia offers a general LLM degree, giving students the freedom to select their courses from the Law School’s incredibly rich curriculum. The Office of Graduate Degree Programs advisors work closely with our faculty and other administrative departments to ensure that each LLM student’s year at Columbia is rich and rewarding — both personally and intellectually. We help our students design an individual program of study to meet their academic and professional goals — whether to broaden their general preparation; specialize in a particular field; or expand their knowledge to new areas of law.

Executive Master of Laws in Global Business Law (Executive LLM Program)

The Columbia Executive Master of Laws (LLM) in Global Business Law is an agile and ambitious program for accomplished lawyers with sophisticated international practice experience.

The intensive program, completed in only six months, is designed to minimize time away from home and work with a combination of online and in-person classes.

At Columbia Law School, what we teach is informed by what’s happening in the world. The forces changing global business require expert legal professionals as innovative as the products and services offered by their clients.

Learn from the world’s top corporate law faculty in small classes, gain an expert foundation in U.S. business law, and acquire the professional skills you need to stay nimble and innovative.

Executive Experience and Support

Our Leadership and Management  series rounds out the Executive LL.M. experience and will provide you with competencies necessary to thrive in the evolving practice of global business law.

Your transition to campus should be stress free. We help with course materials, meals, and housing.

2023 Program Dates

  • April 23 - May 3, 2023: Introduction to American Law and Required U.S> Law Degree Course (Online, Part Time)
  • May 19, 2023: Summer Residency Orientation
  • May 22 - Aug 11, 2023: On-Campus Summer Residency (check our website for the curriculum and course list)
  • August 18 - September 27, 2023: Two Final Required Courses (Online, Part Time)
  • Dates subject to change

Admission Standards, Application Procedure, and Application Components

LLM: Strong preference is given to applicants who have had at least one year of work experience after earning their first law degree. As the LLM is a full-time program of study, students are not permitted to maintain full-time, off-campus employment while enrolled in the program.

ELLM: Applicants must have a minimum of five years of work experience post-first law degree graduation. Students may maintain full-time employment during the online portions of the program. The summer residency requires full-time attendance.

DUAL LLM/ELLM: You can apply for consideration for both programs using the Dual Application for the LLM and ELLM. You are only required to pay one application fee. Applying to both programs does not affect your ability to be admitted to either. Decisions are made independently by different offices. If you are admitted to both programs, you must choose only one to accept

Applicants to the LLM and Executive LLM must hold a first degree in law.

  • Online application available: September 1, 2022
  • Application deadline: December 18, 2022
  • Application fee: $85
  • Letters of recommendation: 2 required, preferably 1 from a law school professor and 1 from a work supervisor
  • Transcripts: required for all postsecondary institutions attended, whether or not you earned a degree
  • TOEFL minimum requirement: 105 (26 minimum on reading and listening sections and 24 minimum on speaking and writing sections)
  • Tuition and mandatory fees: LLM and Executive LLM

Financial Aid

Columbia Law School has a financial aid program to support candidates in our graduate degree programs. Financial assistance for Columbia Law’s graduate degree programs, when awarded, may consist of partial waivers of tuition, institutional loans, or a combination of the two.

Columbia Law School is not able to fund all applicants who request financial assistance and is rarely, if ever, able to provide full waivers of tuition. As such, we expect that applicants will share in the cost of our graduate degree programs and will actively seek other sources of funding for their studies throughout the application process. We urge applicants who will require any level of financial assistance to begin seeking independent sources of funding as soon as they begin contemplating an LLM degree abroad, as some external sources of funding (such as Fulbright) may require you to apply up to a year in advance of applying.


Columbia Law has University-managed apartments for enrolled students, and most choose to live on campus or in the neighborhood immediately surrounding campus. Housing options include dormitory rooms, studio apartments, one- and two-bedroom apartments, and apartment shares (two or three students in each apartment). Most but not all of these units are furnished. For students who wish to live off campus, the University maintains an office that assists students in obtaining housing in buildings owned and operated by landlords other than Columbia.

Executive LLM students have a variety of housing options from which they may choose, including campus housing sublets, off-campus sublets, and short-term corporate rentals.

Student Services and Organizations

Students descend a staircase that leads into a courtyardLLM student life at Columbia Law is enriched by our numerous co-curricular activities and organizations. Our academic centers and programs host weekly lectures, roundtable discussions, and conferences, and also serve as catalysts for scholarly work and student involvement on issues and activities in the law. Our 14 student law journals are among the leading scholarly publications in their fields. With over 90 student organizations, ranging from professional interest organizations to social organizations, almost all of our students are active in at least one group. Beyond the walls of the Law School, our students also participate in the many University-wide groups, events, and intramural sports teams.

Career Services

Through its global network, Columbia Law provides students with exceptional and exclusive opportunities for internships, fellowships, and postgraduate careers. Our alumni work in areas as diverse as private law firms, the judiciary, nonprofit organizations, startup companies, universities, and government agencies. Columbia students will find an array of comprehensive and individualized services enabling them to pursue fulfilling careers in both the private and public sectors. Whether you are about to graduate or are a seasoned alumnus considering a new career path, Columbia Law School’s Office of Career Services and Professional Development (OCS), Social Justice Initiatives (SJI), and Office of Judicial Clerkships (OJC) are ready to help you explore and prepare for the myriad opportunities available.

LLM Blog

For firsthand accounts of life as an LLM student — the next best thing to being here! — we encourage you to read our blog, The Columbia LL.M. Experience

Doctor of the Science of Law (JSD Program)

The Doctor of the Science of Law (JSD) Program provides opportunity and encouragement for distinguished scholarship through advanced seminars and colloquia, facilities for independent research, and the advice and guidance of members of the Faculty of Law.

The JSD degree is awarded to persons who have completed an approved program of study, research and writing with distinction. To earn the degree, candidates are required to submit a dissertation and to pass an oral defense of the dissertation within six years of enrollment in the program. The dissertation can take the form of a unified work or a set of three articles.

Admission Standards, Application Procedure, and Application Components

To be eligible for admission to the JSD program, applicants must hold either a Columbia Law J.D. or an LL.M. (or be in the process of obtaining an LL.M.). An LL.M. degree earned through correspondence coursework or distance learning does not suffice for admission. The admissions process prioritizes applicants who are completing or have completed their LL.M. at Columbia Law, but candidates with exceptional credentials from another institution might be admitted.

Admission for the J.S.D. degree is normally restricted to applicants who are interested in a career in law teaching. You must present evidence of impressive achievements in undergraduate law study or in subsequent scholarly or professional activities, with special emphasis on your capacity for innovative legal research and writing.

  • Online application available: September 1, 2022
  • Application deadline: February 1, 2023
  • Application fee: $85
  • Letters of recommendation: 3 required
  • Transcripts: required for all postsecondary institutions attended, whether or not you earned a degree
  • TOEFL minimum requirement: 105 (26 minimum on reading and listening sections and 24 minimum on speaking and writing sections)
  • Advisory Committee
  • Dissertation Proposal 
  • Scholarly Writing Sample
  • Tuition and mandatory fees: Waived for J.S.D. students while in residence at Columbia

Columbia University in the City of New York

Located in New York City—a world capital of law, culture, media, advocacy, and finance—Columbia Law School is the perfect place to hone your skills. Every day, leading legal practitioners visit the Law School to engage students in challenging discussions. In addition, by studying in a global metropolis, your classroom extends beyond Columbia’s gates and across the five boroughs of New York City. A short subway ride transports you from Columbia’s UN General Assembly-style lecture halls to the actual United Nations, and the same MetroCard swipe connects you to offices of those in Columbia Law’s powerful alumni network.

Contact Information

Please contact the Office of Graduate Degree Programs if there is anything we can do to assist you.

Phone: 212.854.2655

Contact Information

435 West 116th Street,
New York, NY 10027,
United States