LL.M. in Intellectual Property

American University Washington College of Law’s (AUWCL) top tier intellectual property program is pleased to offer a unique Master of Laws, the LL.M. in Intellectual Property.

The LL.M. in Intellectual Property degree is designed for U.S. and foreign attorneys who seek specialized knowledge in the complex, rapidly evolving and increasingly global field of intellectual property law. AUWCL’s course offerings cover all aspects of the field, including a full complement of international and comparative intellectual property law courses designed to prepare attorneys seeking to engage with its increasingly important international dimension. AUWCL faculty and the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property (PIJIP) are also internationally recognized as leaders, scholars, and teachers who approach this field of law in a well rounded manner that gives due emphasis to the public interest and to the interactions between this field and other fields of law such as human rights and competition law. This approach gives students an appreciation for the effects of intellectual property law on innovation, public health and cultural production in countries at all stages of economic development.

Degree Requirements

The LL.M.in Intellectual Property is administered in conjunction with the Law School’s existing LL.M. programs in International Legal Studies, Law and Government, and Advocacy, and newly-added Human Rights, promoting interaction among over 200 graduate students from over 60 countries every year.

The program incorporates a rich array of courses and seminars, experiential learning, and special events which allow students to interact and network with esteemed faculty, alumni, attorneys, diplomats, business leaders, and policy makers.

The LL.M. in Intellectual Property requires successful completion of 24 credits of coursework, including the writing of a thesis or an equivalent substantial written work product. Of the 24 credits of law instruction required for graduation, 14 credits must be satisfied through approved program courses. Program participants are eligible to complete course work for the degree in the International Organizations, Law and Diplomacy Summer Program in Washington and Geneva and the Intellectual Property Summer Program.

Students with foreign law degrees are required to take two foundational courses in American Legal Institutions (2 credits) and Legal Research and Writing (2 credits). These credit hours will not count toward the 14 credit hours of required intellectual property and related courses, but will count toward the 24 total units required for the degree.  


The LL.M. offers two specializations -- U.S Intellectual Property Law, and International and Comparative Intellectual Property Law. Students may receive the LL.M. degree without a specialization. To receive the specialization, a student will be required to take at least 6 credit hours of instruction from the “foundational” category of courses for the specialization and an additional 6 credit hours of instruction from “key electives” for the specialization.

A 30-credit option, requiring three semesters of study, will be offered to students who seek both specialized training in the field and qualification to take the New York Bar examination. Please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions for more information on this option.

LL.M. in Intellectual Property Curriculum

Students prepare their theses by participating in a writing seminar for J.D. and LL.M.  students pursuing research projects in the field.

Under exceptional circumstances, LL.M. students may be eligible to apply to participate in the Clinical Program through the Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Clinic. Students seeking to join the Clinic must enter the program in the Fall semester and apply for the Clinic in the preceding March. Applications are available on the Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Clinic web page.

LL.M. in Intellectual Property Entrance Requirements

In order to be eligible for the LL.M. in Intellectual Property, applicants must:

  1. Have completed a law degree at a U.S. law school accredited by the American Bar Association or at a foreign law school with equivalent standards.
  2. Submit a completed application form along with supporting materials before the application deadline.
    a) Statement of Purpose
    b) Official Copies of Academic Records
    c) Two Letters of Recommendation
  3. Provide proof of competency in English.
  4. a) A minimum TOEFL score of 100 IBT (600 paper based test) is required.

Students will be evaluated on their complete application package. In light of the challenges inherent in comparing academic performance across multiple programs, a student’s entire record (if conforming to the TOEFL requirements) will be assessed to identify those who will be successful in the program.  This includes academic consistency and persuasive explanations for any significant issues of potential concern.

When evaluating a prospective student’s statement of purpose, attention will be given to the student’s level of commitment to the pursuit of an intellectual property degree, as opposed to a general interest in an LL.M. degree, and to whether the student demonstrates a clear understanding of the purpose and requirements of the LL.M. in Intellectual Property.

For information on eligibility requirements, application information, and scholarship opportunities, please visit the Office of Graduate Admissions webpages.