Ohio Northern University—Claude W. Pettit College of Law

The information on this page was provided by the law school.

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


Founded in 1871, Ohio Northern University is a private university offering a diverse, dynamic learning community with rigorous professional programs in partnership with the arts and sciences. Its 3,500 students study for graduate and undergraduate degrees in five colleges: Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Business Administration, Pharmacy, and Law. Located in the small college town of Ada, in Northwest Ohio, it is located within easy driving distance of Columbus, Toledo, Dayton, and Fort Wayne, Indiana.

The College of Law

Established in 1885, the college has enjoyed a rich and distinguished history, producing many prominent lawyers, judges, professors, diplomats, and elected government officials. Its diverse faculty and administration are committed to the promotion of intellectual discipline and integrity in the study of law. There are approximately 260 law students enrolled, including 30 pursuing the LLM degree. More details are available on the law school website.

LLM Programs/Areas of Specialization

The task of establishing and supporting the rule of law and democratic governance is as important today as it has ever been. Whether a country is overcoming authoritarian rule, rebuilding after ethnic conflict, or reestablishing a functional state, the challenges of maintaining or enhancing the rule of law and reinforcing democratic structures continue.

The LLM in Democratic Governance and Rule of Law program at Ohio Northern University has built a strong record of successfully educating lawyers from transitional states, as well as American lawyers and law students who share their passion for making a difference in the world today. This unique program has equipped lawyers from over 40 different countries with new skills to promote and sustain democratic and legal institutions. Both concurrent JD/LLM and post-JD LLM students have shared classes with these international students and completed externships in the United States and abroad with a wide variety of development and law reform organizations.

  • LLM for Lawyers from Transitional Countries
    • Unique, internationally recognized program
    • Rigorous, focused curriculum
    • Significant scholarship support
    • 10-month residence at ONU
  • Concurrent JD/LLM in Three Years for Highly Motivated Students
    • Receive both degrees in three years
    • Summer externships in the United States and abroad
    • Core JD curriculum and highly focused democratic governance and law reform courses
    • Significant tuition scholarships for the JD portion available
  • Post-JD LLM for American Lawyers Interested in a Career in International Development and Law Reform
    • Study and live with international LLM students
    • Unique, highly focused course of study
    • Concluding overseas summer externship placement

The Course of Study

The LLM in Democratic Governance and Rule of Law at Ohio Northern University is distinguished by its prescribed curriculum of courses expressly designed for broader understanding of issues confronting transitional states and the best approaches for dealing with them. The program offers unique courses developed after consultation with international leaders in law and governance reform, and taught by experienced faculty who are actively engaged in this field.

Courses Required for All LLM Students
  • Comparative Administrative Law
  • Comparative Constitutional Law
  • Competitiveness and Corruption
  • International Criminal Law/International Law of Terrorism (alternate years)
  • Legal Issues in Transitional Democracies—Public Law
  • Rule of Law Seminar
Additional Courses Required for International Students
  • Introduction to American Legal System
  • Legal Issues in Transitional Democracies—Private Law
Additional Courses Required for Concurrent and Post-JD Students
  • International Law
  • International Law of Human Rights
  • International and Comparative Law of Non-Governmental Organizations
  • Domestic Externship (concurrent students only)
  • International Externship

Qualifications and Application Process

International LLM Students

The program for international students is limited to 15–20 students each year. We try to have a diverse group of lawyers representing transitional states with different legal and governmental cultures. They spend their year at ONU living and studying together with the other LLM and JD students.

  • Qualifications: International students must have received their basic law degree and have at least two years of professional experience. Priority is given to those engaged in governance and law reform activities or those who have evidenced a strong commitment to reform efforts. English language fluency as measured by the appropriate TOEFL or IELTS score must be demonstrated. Please see the website for specific requirements.
  • Financial Assistance: ONU provides partial to full tuition grants to a limited number of international students. We encourage all applicants to pursue funding from national and international sources and work with accepted applicants in these efforts.
  • How to Apply: Applicants may apply through LSAC or directly to Ohio Northern University for no fee. To apply directly, instructions, application forms, and deadlines can be found online at the LLM website. You may submit a copy of your CV to llm@onu.edu for a preliminary review and evaluation of your qualifications for our program.
Concurrent JD/LLM Students

The concurrent JD/LLM program is limited to a select number of students in each JD class. Students enter the program their first year in law school and receive both degrees at the end of their third year. They take classes with the international LLM students from their first year and have the opportunity to share many activities with the three classes of international students. The concurrent students must complete two summer externships, the first with a law reform or development organization in the United States and the second one with a similar group overseas. They must also complete the required LLM classes, including January-term courses during their second and third years.

  • Qualifications: Students must be accepted into the JD program at the ONU College of Law before being considered for the concurrent degree program. Selection is competitive and based on the evidenced commitment of the student to pursuing a career in international development and law reform. Her or his international background, experience, or interests, and any special attributes—such as foreign language fluency, living abroad, or professional activities—are also given careful consideration.
  • Financial Assistance: Because of the competitive nature of the program, most of the concurrent students receive significant scholarship assistance for their three years of JD study. Other financial aid may be available for the LLM externships and January terms.
  • How to Apply: Those with interest in the concurrent JD/LLM program should first apply for admission to the JD program of the College of Law. Following acceptance, they will complete a short second application and personal statement for the LLM program in the summer before starting at ONU, or during the fall term. The application form and other details may be found on the Concurrent JD/LLM Program website.
Post-JD LLM Students

Those who have already earned a JD may be interested in the specialized LLM in Democratic Governance and Rule of Law to give them the opportunity to work in the development and law reform field. The course of study includes the required LLM courses described above and an overseas externship with a law reform or international development organization following the two semesters of coursework. The LLM degree is granted upon successful completion of the externship.

  • Qualifications: Applicants must be graduates of an accredited law school with a strong interest in pursuing a career in international development and law reform. Her or his international background, experience, or interests, and any special attributes—such as foreign language fluency, living abroad, or professional activities—are also given careful consideration.
  • Financial Assistance: Students accepted to the LLM program are eligible for graduate education loans to finance their study. The College of Law provides a scholarship for the six credit hours of externship for those who have successfully completed the required coursework during the academic year.
  • How to Apply: Applicants may apply through LSAC or directly to Ohio Northern University for no fee. To apply directly, instructions, application forms, and deadlines can be found online at the LLM website, submit two letters of recommendation, and provide an official transcript of their JD record.

Additional Information

Additional information is available on the LLM website and from the program staff at llm@onu.edu. We look forward to hearing from you and sharing our excitement about this challenging program.

Brian Anderson
Assistant Director and Assistant Professor of Law
Democratic Governance and Rule of Law LLM
Ohio Northern University College of Law
525 South Main Street
Ada, OH 45810

Phone: 419.772.3580
Fax: 419.772.3583
Email: llm@onu.edu

Pre-LLM English and Legal Study Program

Ohio Northern University’s Pre-LLM English and Legal Study Program is a 10-month certificate program for international lawyers who want to improve their academic English skills before beginning an LLM program at an American university. It is specially designed for those who anticipate taking an American bar exam upon completion of their LLM program.

Students will develop both legal English skills and academic skills for US law studies, and will also study topics in American law and legal writing. This experience will help participants acclimate to the American law school environment before they begin their LLM programs at other universities.

In addition to improving students’ academic English skills, the curriculum is designed to introduce students to the rigors of American standardized testing environments, including familiarizing students with bar exam-style testing. The Pre-LLM Program requires a TOEFL IBT of at least 60 or an IELTS of 5.5.

Contact Information

525 South Main Street,
Ada, OH 45810-1599,
United States
Phone: 419.772.3580