West Virginia University College of Law
The information on this page was provided by the law school.
Official Guide to LLM, Master’s, and Certificate Programs
The West Virginia University College of Law, established in 1878, is the oldest professional school at West Virginia University. With a focus on justice, ethics, and professionalism, WVU Law offers premier law degree and dual-degree programs, and practice-ready experiences through law clinics and externships, guided by professors who are accomplished attorneys and distinguished legal scholars.
Our vibrant culture of excellence fosters diversity and respect, ensuring a balanced and supportive academic community within one of the nation’s leading public research universities. WVU Law prepares top lawyers and dedicated leaders for careers that span public service, private practice, government, and business.
Located in Morgantown, the College of Law is approximately 75 miles south of Pittsburgh; 200 miles from Baltimore, Cleveland, and Washington, DC; and 300 miles from Cincinnati and Philadelphia.
WVU Law has been a member of the AALS since 1914 and was fully approved by the ABA in 1923. The college has had a chapter of the Order of the Coif since 1925.
LLM in Forensic Justice—Online
Recent developments have demonstrated that a solid grounding in the scientific method and forensic evidence is critical for any attorney, especially for those practicing criminal law, from the more than 300 DNA-based exonerations that have taken place since the early 1990s, to the uncovering of numerous scandals in forensic laboratories across the country, to Congressional recommendations made by the National Academy of Sciences in 2009.
The WVU College of Law, in partnership with the WVU Department of Forensic and Investigative Science, is proud to be a pioneer in the criminal justice field by offering the country’s first and only graduate law degree program in Forensic Justice. While many American law schools offer upper-level courses in areas such as expert testimony and forensic evidence, no other ABA-approved US law school currently offers an LLM in forensic justice.
The LLM curriculum benefits from the forensic and investigative science expertise at WVU, while allowing LLM candidates the opportunity to combine breadth (that is, exposure to a wide range of forensic methods) with depth (the opportunity to conduct original, independent research in a narrower area of interest).
By offering this LLM online, WVU Law is providing a flexible, convenient, and comfortable way for busy attorneys to further develop their expertise and skills, advance their careers, and help their clients.
LLM in Energy and Sustainable Development Law
Energy is the foundation of our nation’s future, both economically and environmentally. West Virginia is at the center of energy production for the country. There is no better place to learn about the intersecting laws and policies governing all of the country’s energy resources than at WVU Law.
While many law schools provide opportunities to learn energy or environmental law, WVU Law is committed to providing students opportunities to learn the full range of energy, environmental, and sustainable development law through its Center for Energy and Sustainable Development and through its other resources in the area.
WVU Law provides a broad and deep offering of courses, experiential learning opportunities, and practical training for every part of the energy sector. Our broad spectrum of courses allows our students to prepare to be lawyers serving energy companies, investors, utilities, manufacturing companies, lawmakers, policymakers, regulators, land use professionals, and environmental organizations.
Dual Degree JD/LLM
The JD/LLM is a fast-track program that can be completed in three-and-a-half years instead of the traditional four years (which also means saving a semester’s tuition).
By completing the additional courses required to earn an LLM (Master of Laws) degree, students will have an additional level of expertise when entering the job market.
JD/LLM Application Instructions
WVU Law students can apply for the program at the end of their 2L year (approximately May 1). Applications must be received by June 15.
Students in the program will graduate with their JD in May, can sit for the bar exam in July, and will finish their LLM requirements in the fall.
JD/LLM students are required to complete their JD with an emphasis on Energy and Sustainable Development Law. Following completion and conferral of the JD degree and after completing the requirements for the Energy and Sustainable Development emphasis, students must complete an additional 14 credits of coursework that qualify for the LLM in Energy and Sustainable Development Law. The dual-degree program will include the LLM Seminar and a relevant clinical experience, externship, or other experiential learning opportunity.
Students from other law schools can apply for the program starting on February 1 each year. Applications to the JD/LLM program must be received by June 15.
Students that are admitted to the JD/LLM program will apply to attend WVU Law as visiting students for their entire 3L year. Visiting student applicants should list their plan to pursue the JD/LLM in Energy and Sustainable Development Law as their primary reason for seeking admission as a visiting student. An application to attend WVU Law as a visiting student will not be considered without a letter from the applicant’s dean (or equivalent) authorizing the student’s attendance at WVU Law and stating that the home school will agree to transfer credits earned at WVU Law.
Visiting students must complete the coursework for the Energy and Sustainable Development Law Concentration in their 3L year while attending WVU Law. Some courses taken at a student’s home institution may be approved to satisfy some concentration requirements. Visiting students must take a minimum of nine credit hours in qualifying courses while visiting at WVU Law.
LLM Admission Requirements
The minimum admission requirements for LLM programs are
- a JD from an American Bar Association-accredited school or equivalent, as determined by the WVU College of Law in accordance with ABA guidelines.
- a grade-point average of at least a 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) or other demonstrated indicia of likelihood of success.
- a demonstrated interest in or commitment to the fields of (1) energy and/or sustainable development; or (2) the fields of science, forensic evidence, and law.
Applicants may include newly graduated JD students, professionals returning for study after years of practice, or qualified international students on a case-by-case basis.
- Priority application deadline: May 1
- Final application deadline: July 1
- Completed and signed electronic application for admission (via LSAC)
- Personal statement
- Current résumé or curriculum vitae
- 2 letters of recommendation—if law school graduation occurred within the last five years it is strongly recommended to include a recommendation from a law professor
- Official law school transcripts
WVU Law is housed in a 162,000-square-foot building on Law School Hill overlooking the WVU football stadium. A vibrant learning community, the college’s facilities include eight classrooms, three courtrooms, meeting rooms, a distance-learning center, career services, and a bookstore/café. Ample parking is available by permit for all law students.
A recent $26-million expansion and renovation added new classrooms, a third courtroom, conference rooms, a multipurpose event hall, a rooftop garden, and a separate wing for law clinics. The renovation also includes state-of-the-art library upgrades and new facilities for the Academic Excellence Center, Student Services Center, West Virginia Law Review, and student organizations.
The George R. Farmer Jr. Law Library is the largest law library in West Virginia. It is comprehensive in scope with a collection of more than 169,000 volumes and more than 20 legal databases.
The Marlyn E. Lugar Courtroom, named for a prominent former professor and West Virginia jurist, is used for legal education, guest lectures, and moot court competitions, as well as by the West Virginia Supreme Court and even the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Other educational facilities include eight classrooms, a mini-courtroom, offices for the law clinics, and the John W. Fisher II Courtroom.
As members of a distinguished land-grant university community, law students can take full advantage of WVU facilities. This includes other campus libraries, the Mountainlair Student Center, and the Student Recreation Center.
The Center for Energy and Sustainable Development is an energy and environmental public policy and research organization at WVU Law. Founded in 2011, the center focuses on promoting practices that will balance the continuing demand for energy resources—and the associated economic benefits—alongside the need to reduce the environmental impact of developing the earth’s natural resources. It hosts two important events each year: The National Energy Conference and the National Energy and Sustainability Moot Court Competition.
The Center for Law and Public Service promotes public service by providing opportunities for students to engage in public interest law, fostering dialogue about current legal services and policy issues, and encouraging students to become leaders who seek creative solutions toward achieving equal access to justice in society. The center provides multiple avenues for student public service opportunities, including the Public Service Externship program, the Pro Bono program, and the Public Interest Advocates summer and postgraduate fellowship programs.
The majority of WVU Law students live in off-campus private housing. The WVU Office of Student Life assists students by providing information about off-campus housing options. Visit the WVU Division of Student Life website for more information. Online LLM students can continue living and working in their current communities, with only short visits to Morgantown.
WVU Law students come from a variety of backgrounds and hold a variety of interests that contribute to a high-quality law school experience in and out of the classroom. The college has 30 student organizations. The Student Bar Association is the student government of the school. Founded in 1894, the West Virginia Law Review is the fourth oldest student-governed law review in the nation and selects members on the basis of performance during their first year in law school and in a writing competition. A competitive moot court program is conducted at the law school, and the student Moot Court Board hosts the annual National Energy and Sustainability Moot Court Competition.
The Meredith Career Services Center at WVU Law provides career counseling, professional development workshops, interview programs, and job-search strategy sessions as part of a comprehensive career services program. The goals of the Career Services Center are to educate students about possible careers in the law, encourage them to identify and set career goals, and assist them in achieving those goals.
Although WVU’s reasonable tuition and fees are an excellent value, the College of Law recognizes that many students may not be able to afford the full cost of a legal education without financial assistance. Funds are available in the form of tuition waivers, scholarships, and federal student loans. Even if the student has not been accepted to the College of Law, he or she should apply for financial aid by October 1. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be completed in order to receive any financial assistance, including all need-based scholarships. Students must complete the FAFSA each year in order to be considered for financial aid. WVU Law participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program for veterans.