Cornell Law School
The information on this page was provided by the law school.
Official Guide to LLM, Master’s, and Certificate Programs
Cornell Law School provides students with a rigorous and vibrant intellectual community. For the past 90 years, the law school has offered the Master of Laws (LLM) program to students holding a non-US first degree in law. Cornell Law’s ties to the international community are rooted in a complex and diverse program with students who wish to increase their understanding of American legal principles or to develop their knowledge of specialized areas of the law. The flexible degree requirements, committed faculty, and benefits of attending an Ivy League university make Cornell Law an intelligent choice for students pursuing graduate legal studies.
Graduate Programs/Areas of Specialization
Our general LLM is a one-year, full-time program beginning in the fall semester in Ithaca, New York. The flexibility of the curriculum means that there are no specific courses required for the LLM degree aside from Introduction to the American Legal System. While a specialization is not required, students commonly focus on:
- American/US Law and Legal System
- Corporate Law and Financial Regulation
- Criminal Law and Litigation
- Employment and Labor Law
- Environmental and Health Law
- Human Rights Law
- Intellectual Property
- International and Comparative Law
- Jurisprudence and Legal Theory
- Tax and Estate Planning
While there are some courses designed specifically for the LLM program, students are free to choose courses from the regular law school curriculum, including some first-year courses and clinical offerings. There is a thesis option for LLM students who wish to pursue advanced scholarly work. Many Cornell LLM graduates sit for the New York State Bar Examination following receipt of their general LLM degree. More information regarding the general LLM program can be found on the Cornell Law School website.
JSD-Advanced Degree Program
The Doctor of the Science of Law (JSD) degree program at Cornell Law School is designed for students who hold a first degree in law as well as an LLM (or its equivalent) and want to pursue an academic career. JSD students conduct original research into specific legal topics of individual interest.
Applications to the JSD program are welcomed from applicants who have completed LLM-level work. Except in unusual circumstances, however, students are admitted to the JSD program only after earning an LLM degree at Cornell Law School. More information regarding the JSD program can be found on the Cornell Law School website.
Law School Enrollment
While situated on a large university campus (approximately 25,000 students), Cornell Law School is proud to have a small student body. With just over 100 LLM students and about 600 JD students, Cornell Law is a close-knit community.
This allows for a collegial and supportive law school experience combined with the resources and opportunities afforded by the larger university community. The Cornell Law School mission has been international in scope and purpose since its founding in 1887. Graduates are trained to succeed in a rapidly evolving transnational environment. The faculty’s teaching and research is internationally respected and the student body is drawn from around the globe.
The Cornell Experience
Cornell Law School is housed in Myron Taylor Hall, one of the signature complexes on Cornell University’s beautiful campus. The university itself, the youngest of the Ivy League universities, is perched on a sprawling campus that overlooks the city of Ithaca and Cayuga Lake and is nestled in the Finger Lakes region of New York State.
LLM students and their families are integrated into the law school community throughout the program. Students are encouraged to participate in any of the over 45 student groups at the law school including the LLM Student Association.
LLM students are also part of the larger Cornell University graduate student community and are welcome to use the various resources available throughout the university. From the Big Red Barn Graduate Student Center to the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly to the Office of Global Learning, LLM students can become involved and gain assistance from a variety of resources.
Our students value our unique location in Ithaca, New York. For years, Ithaca has been known for offering small-town life with the cultural qualities of a larger metropolitan area. From hiking to wine tasting, water sports to theater, Ithaca is the perfect mixture of natural, outdoor experiences combined with creative, innovative people. For more information, go to visitithaca.com.
Cornell University operates on-campus graduate and professional student housing facilities, including housing for families. Private houses, apartments, and cooperatives are within easy walking distance of the Law School.
Working with a dedicated career advisor, LLM students receive support in designing an individual job-search strategy. One-on-one counseling appointments assist with researching job opportunities, networking with alumni, building résumés and cover letters, and developing interview skills.
Cornell Law School cosponsors the International Student Interview Program (ISIP), typically hosted annually at the end of January in New York City. This program provides foreign-trained lawyers the opportunity to interview with U.S. and foreign employers. LLM students interested in public service have the opportunity to attend the Equal Justice Works Conference in October and the Public Interest Legal Career Fair in February.
Tuition and Financial Aid
Pursuing a legal degree is an investment in your future. To prepare for this investment, it is important to make sure that you are financially ready to take on the costs associated with attendance. Tuition for the LLM program is $77,508 for the 2023-2024 academic year.
Cornell Law provides a limited number of financial awards to LLM students based on merit. More information regarding scholarships and financial aid may be found at Tuition and Financial Aid.
Application Information and Deadlines
Applications for our general LLM and JSD programs are accepted online through LSAC. Each year the general LLM application opens in September and is due by December 15. The JSD application opens in January and is due by May 1.
We strongly advise that you register with LSAC at least six weeks before the relevant application deadline and ensure that application materials and supporting documentation are received by LSAC at least four weeks before the deadline.
Graduate Legal Studies
L46 Hughes Hall
Cornell University Law School
Ithaca NY 14853-4901