Our LL.M. program requires two semesters of study and a minimum of 24 credit hours of course work. The LL.M. is designed to provide lawyers trained outside of the United States with a high-level understanding of the U.S. legal system that will enhance their legal career.
Select LL.M. students may elect in their second semester to apply to extend their LL.M. for an additional semester. Some LL.M. students interested in studying for a U.S. bar exam select this option. Foreign-trained LL.M. students are required to take the following three courses:
- Introduction to the U.S. Legal Systems — This course provides students with an overview of the U.S. legal system, and occurs in an intensive format during the first two weeks of the LL.M. students’ semester in August.
- Legal Analysis Writing and Research for LL.M. Students — This course instructs students in American legal analysis and discourse. The course helps students develop skills in three fundamental areas of United States legal practice: (1) common law legal analysis, (2) case law research, and (3) effective communication of legal analysis.
- One case analysis course from the following list:
Transfers to the J.D. Program
We allow select LL.M. candidates to transfer to the J.D. program. Criteria for transferring to the J.D. program is set by the Dean of Admissions and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Important factors are excellent English language skills and strong performance in classes taken at Penn State Law. LL.M. candidates interested in this path should work closely with the Penn State Law faculty advisors to choose courses and build their academic program accordingly. Students admitted into the Penn State LL.M. degree program Spring 2014 semester, or after, that apply to and are accepted into the Penn State Law J.D. degree program, may not earn both the LL.M degree and the J.D. degree. These students may count their LL. M. credits toward the J.D. degree. Students may not apply for transfer earlier or later than immediately after two semesters of LL.M. study. Students who extend the LL.M. degree for a third semester may not subsequently apply to transfer to the J.D. program. Applicants for transfer into the J.D. program are expected to have a minimum grade-point average of 3.67 after completion of two semesters. Factors other than the LL.M. grade-point average are also considered in reviewing applicants. For a complete description of program requirements, please see the LL.M. Academic Handbook.