Frequently Asked Questions


Can I schedule a visit to WCL?

Yes! We relish the opportunity to meet one-on-one with prospective and admitted students. Program staff can schedule a time to meet with you to answer questions about the program and life in DC, take a tour of the law school building, sit in on a class, or speak with a faculty member in your field of specialization. Visits are available Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. To schedule a visit, email lawandgov@wcl.american.edu. The Program also hosts information sessions both online and in the DC area on a regular basis. Check the events calendar for upcoming information sessions.

What can I expect from life in DC?

Our location and diverse student body create possibilities from the first day you pass through our doors. Washington, D.C. is one of the most dynamic and diverse cities in the world. All three branches of government, international organizations, think-tanks, lobby groups, multinational corporations and firms, and public interest and non-governmental organizations all call Washington, D.C. "home."

How can I contact the program?

The most direct way to contact us is to email lawandgov@wcl.american.edu or to call 202-207-4268. You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter. During business hours, staff members are online to chat with you.

What areas can I specialize in and what are the requirements to earn a specialization?

The LL.M. in Law and Government offers three areas of concentration and thirteen areas of specialization as well as a New York Bar Track. Students who wish to pursue a concentration or specialization must earn at least 12 credits that have been approved for their specialization. With the approval of the Associate Director, externship and independent study credits may be counted towards the 12 credits. Students have the option to create an individualized specialization with the permission of the Associate Director.

When do all of my admissions materials need to be submitted?

For admission to the fall semester, U.S. students must submit all materials by June 1st. To be considered for spring admission, U.S. students must submit all materials by November 1st. To ensure the student has time to obtain a visa, international students must submit all materials by May 1st for fall admission and October 1st for spring admission. Complete application instructions are available under "How to Apply".

What are the GPA requirements for admission?

The LL.M. in Law and Government does not have a minimum GPA requirement for admission. This is because we assess each candidate based on his or her merit, not in comparison to other applicants. Other factors such as specific school grading curves, international institution grading scales, experience, recommendation letters, personal statements, and post LL.M.-goals are also taken into serious consideration. The Program does want to see a solid academic record that would ensure a student's success in the program.

I have submitted my application, how long will it take to receive a decision?

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis until the application deadline. Applications are reviewed as soon as all materials have been received. Admissions decisions are typically made within two to four weeks after the application is complete.

How long will it take to complete the LL.M.?

The LL.M. in Law and Government is a 24 credit program. Students who attend the program full-time complete the degree in one academic year or two semesters. Students who chose to attend as part-time students may take longer to complete the program, generally about 2 years. Students must be enrolled in consecutive semesters or must obtain an approved leave of absence from the Associate Director. Failure to seek approval in advance of a leave of absence may result in dismissal from the Program.

What are the requirements to attend the program part-time?

No special petition is required to switch from part-time to full-time or vice versa. Students often will switch between programs based on their work or personal life schedules. Students are expected to be enrolled in consecutive semesters. Approval for leaves of absence must be obtained in advance by the Associate Director. Failure to seek approval in advance of a leave of absence may result in dismissal from the Program.

Will transfer credits apply to the 24 credit requirement?

The Program cannot accept any transfer credits from other institutions. All credits toward the 24 credit degree requirement must be taken in residence at American University Washington College of Law. Up to 7 credits from pre-approved Summer Institute courses may be used towards the degree if taken for academic credit. Please contact the Program for more information regarding the Summer Institutes.

Can I work during the LL.M. program?

Yes, many students work during the LL.M. Program. Usually students who work during the LL.M. are enrolled as part-time students. In some cases, students have gained employment during their LL.M. studies. In these cases, the students can switch to part-time. Students may also apply for Dean's Fellowships. These research assistant positions range from 10-20 hours per week and receive an hourly wage. Information on applying to these positions is available in the MyWCL student portal system. Students attending the Program on a visa must confirm their work eligibility with ISSS before accepting any positions.

I am an internationally trained lawyer. Do I need to provide proof of English Proficiency?

Yes, applicants whose first language is not English must take one of three tests for English competency, either the TOEFL, IELTS, or Pearson exam. It is not necessary to take all three. Applications will not be considered complete until the Program receives exam scores. This requirement is waived only for applicants who have completed a higher degree program from an accredited U.S. institution.

Where do LL.M. in Law and Government alumni work?

LL.M. in Law and Government graduates are employed in many different fields. Employers of our graduates have include the Federal Communications Commission, U.S. Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, U.S. Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review, Coca Cola North America, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, various public defenders offices, Embassy of Costa Rica, Capital Markets Board, Turkey, and law firms around the world. Examples of Domestic and International LL.M. in Law and Government Alumni jobs are available to give a general sense of where some of our alumni work.

Is student housing available to LL.M. students?

No, American University does not have housing available to any graduate students including law students. Once admitted, the Program offers many resources to finding housing in the D.C. area including a housing brochure, off campus housing postings, and an admitted students housing discussion board to link up with other students to find roommates.

I am not a U.S. Citizen. What do I need to obtain a visa?

Non-U.S. citizens must submit the Certification of Finances for International Students (CFIS) and appropriate financial documentation to receive an I-20 form. The I-20 allows the student to apply for the F-1 (student) visa. Failure to return the CFIS before the May 1st deadline will result in a delay in the issuance of the I-20. Students studying under other non-immigrant visa categories will be contacted if issues arise with their visa status. All students must be in the United States and prepared to begin the program by Orientation, which is held several days before classes begin. This is a non-waivable requirement, so plan accordingly.

Most international students attend WCL on an F-1 visa. A new visa can be acquired only at a U.S. embassy or consulate. Visa application procedures vary by location, so contact the U.S. embassy or consulate where you plan to apply for your visa.