Learn more and watch a video about our LLM Professional Track Program.
Berkeley Law is one of the premier law schools in the United States. We offer a superb education in both established and emerging fields of law, and our LLM students are taught by distinguished professors who are also cutting-edge scholars.
Berkeley’s location in the San Francisco Bay Area, just north of Silicon Valley, provides an unparalleled opportunity to study at one of the world’s leading institutions of legal education and research in one of the most vibrant areas of the world. Our Intellectual Property program was the first of its kind and has been nationally recognized for over a decade. We were legal pioneers of the Green Movement, creating the nation’s first Environmental Law program. Our Business Law and International Law programs and research centers are among the best in the world.
We are committed to top-tier education and scholarship, and to using our substantial intellectual capital to help solve real-world problems in order to create a more just society. We are distinguished by the extraordinary degree to which our students and faculty partner with people beyond the school to identify challenges, create alliances, solve problems, and spark change—in Berkeley and around the world.
LLM Programs and Certificates of Specialization
Berkeley Law provides four paths to earn the LLM degree:
- Traditional track—a nine-month academic year
- Professional track—spans two in-residence summer terms
- Hybrid option—includes one in-residence summer term and an online component
- Thesis track—a nine-month academic year
LLM Traditional Track
Our traditional track takes place over a full nine-month academic year, August through May, with two semesters. Each student completes mandatory courses in Fundamentals of US Law and Legal Research and Writing, and then may customize their studies by choosing from the full range of law school offerings. Students take approximately three to four courses each semester. Students may focus their studies to earn Certificates of Specialization and/or to meet the requirements to sit for the California or New York Bar Examinations. Beyond just getting their degrees, traditional track LLM students also have the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of activities that take place during the standard academic year, such as Berkeley Law centers and clinics, Student-Initiated Legal Services Projects, journals, and field placements. Students take classes with students in the JD degree program.
LLM Professional Track
Berkeley Law’s professional track is offered over two consecutive summer semesters. Students complete mandatory courses in Fundamentals of US Law and Legal Research and Writing, and then may customize their studies by choosing from a curated subset of Berkeley Law’s most popular courses. Courses in the professional track are intensive, each three weeks in duration with more hours of class time per week. Because of the intensive format, students complete one to two courses every three weeks. Students may focus their studies to earn Certificates of Specialization and/or to meet the requirements to sit for the California Bar Examination. Students study exclusively with other LLM students and are taught by the same faculty that teaches during the academic year.
LLM Hybrid Option
Berkeley Law’s LLM hybrid option offers the option of completing an LLM degree with just one summer visit to Berkeley. In this part-in-residence and part-online format, students complete two courses online in the spring semester (January to May): Fundamentals of US Law and Intellectual Property. Students then come to Berkeley for one summer semester (May to August) and take courses of their choosing. Students complete their studies online in the fall semester (September to December) with a one-unit online course and a capstone writing project. The hybrid option is geared toward those who cannot take nine months away from work and personal commitments. Students may focus their studies to earn Certificates of Specialization and/or to meet the requirements to sit for the California Bar Examination. Students study exclusively with other LLM students and are taught by the same faculty that teaches during the academic year.
LLM Thesis Track
The Berkeley Law LLM thesis track takes place over one standard academic year, August through May. As part of their degree requirements, thesis students complete eight units of independent study that represent the work they complete on their thesis. Students complete mandatory courses in Fundamentals of US Law, Legal Research and Writing, and Legal Scholarship. With remaining units, students can choose from the full range of law school offerings (courses to be approved by the student’s thesis advisor). Students may focus their studies to earn Certificates of Specialization and/or to meet the requirements to sit for the California Bar Examination. The thesis track is designed for those who want the LLM degree but know they want to devote a substantial portion of their time to a substantial research and writing project—a thesis—supervised by a tenured faculty member. It is appropriate for students considering academic or government careers, those interested in researching a particular subject in depth, or those who’d like to work closely with a particular faculty member.
Law School Enrollment
- Traditional track: 240
- Professional track: 200 (includes both new and returning students)
- Hybrid option: 40
- Thesis track: 5
Berkeley Law Building, the Cal Campus, and the Berkeley Community
The law school comprises three adjoining buildings with classrooms, seminar rooms, auditoriums, the law library, a lounge, a reception room, a café, dining and study areas, and offices. The ground floor includes state-of-the-art classrooms, a full service café, and a large commons area that opens onto an outdoor courtyard, which can be used for studying and socializing. The second floor boasts an elegant roof garden with native vegetation, bench and table seating, and stunning views of the East Bay, San Francisco and San Francisco Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Marin Headlands. The two lower levels house the law library’s renowned collection in efficient, compact shelving, and four glass-enclosed reading rooms that are bathed in natural light.
Berkeley Law is part of the world-renowned University of California, Berkeley (Cal) campus, the crown jewel of the University of California state university system. The Cal campus occupies a beautiful 1,232-acre space bordered by wooded rolling hills and surrounded by the vibrant city of Berkeley, known for its intellectual, social, and political engagement. With its multinational population, rich diversity of arts, and sense of political adventure, Berkeley reflects and influences the rest of the country. Yet, it remains an intimate city of friendly tree-lined neighborhoods, gourmet restaurants, quaint coffeehouses and bookstores, and expansive parks and open spaces. A short trip across San Francisco Bay lies San Francisco, home to internationally recognized landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge, museums, the opera, ballet, symphony, and a multitude of restaurants. The mild climate of the Bay Area makes outdoor activities enjoyable year-round.
Berkeley Law Library is one of the finest law collections in the world. Its extensive holdings include the Robbins Religious and Civil Law Collection with titles in ecclesiastical, civil, comparative, and international law, and extensive collections of foreign, comparative, human rights, and environmental law titles. The law library is also a depository for US, UN, and EU documents and is linked to the university system’s holdings of more than seven million volumes. The law library provides online databases, three computer labs, four spacious reading rooms, and photocopying services. Wireless access is available throughout the law school complex and Berkeley campus.
The University of California, Berkeley Housing Office offers apartments, rental listings, residence halls, and student family apartments. The University of California, Berkeley International House accommodates students from the United States and abroad in a residence hall setting.
For more information about housing, please visit Housing for LLM Students.
Berkeley Law offers selective merit- or citizenship-based scholarships, which are awarded to outstanding admitted LLM students each year. Recipients are selected after admission decisions are made. For the most current information about scholarships and how to apply, please visit Scholarships.
Because Berkeley Law has very limited funding to award to LLM students, students are primarily responsible for financing their LLM degrees. We strongly suggest that applicants investigate financing options and secure funding before attending the program. International students should explore funding opportunities in their home countries. For a nonexhaustive list of possible funding sources, please visit Berkeley Law Financial Aid.
Berkeley Law’s Advanced Degree Programs Office staffs two attorney-counselors dedicated to the professional development needs of LLM students. Each counselor has practiced law and can offer real-world insights into various career paths.
Professional development services provided to Berkeley Law LLM students include
- individual appointments with advisors;
- targeted career planning, including advice on how to search and secure job opportunities;
- programs and workshops tailored for LLM students, including résumé writing, interviewing skills, business etiquette and networking, and legal practice areas;
- networking events to help LLM students build and cultivate professional networks;
- LLM job fair preparation;
- résumé review; and
- F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT) (traditional and thesis track only).
For more information, visit Berkeley Law LLM Program Professional Development.