Courses & Requirements

LL.M. Course Requirements

Award of the LL.M. degree in Gender, International and Comparative Law requires 24 credit hours from the following course categories, with a grade point average of 2.0 (C) or better.

Mandatory Core Gender and Law Courses (7 credits)

  • LAW 676A-001: Gender, International and Comparative Law, which situates women’s rights and LGBTQ rights within the domestic legal frameworks of students’ home countries or states. The course examines legal questions arising in family law, criminal law, civil anti-discrimination law, and health law, as well as how these questions meet social and economic policy (2 credits, fall semester);
  • LAW 725B-001: Gender, Cultural Differences and Human Rights, which locates women’s rights and LGBTQ rights within the burgeoning framework of international human rights law, with a focus on the treaties and treaty bodies that address discrimination, sexual and reproductive health, and harmful cultural practices (3 credits, spring semester);
  • LAW 929G-001: Advanced Legal Writing: Gender and Law, which is styled as collaborative writing workshop, so that students support one another, even as they develop their own ideas and plans for engaging the legal systems in their home states or countries or at the international/regional levels (2 credits, spring semester). 

Gender and Law Electives (5 credits)

Students must take an additional five credits in gender-related courses.  AUWCL makes an effort to ensure course coverage of key concepts in the practice of gender and law, including the role of the family in comparative perspective and the prevention of gender-based harms, including domestic violence, human trafficking, and sexual and gender-based violence in conflict.  These courses are subject to change, depending on faculty availability and enrollment, but currently include:

  • LAW-619A-001: Comparative Family Law (2 credits, fall semester)
  • LAW-927-001: International Trafficking in Persons (3 credits, fall semester)
  • LAW-978-001: Responses of International Law to Conflict-Related Sexual and Gender-based Violence (2 credits, spring semester)
  • LAW-637-001: Domestic Violence (2 credits, fall semester)
  • LAW-636-001: Family Law (3 credits, spring semester)
  • LAW-989S-001: The Rights of Disadvantaged and Vulnerable Groups (2 credits, fall semester)
  • LAW0739D-001: Women and International Human Rights (2 credits, fall semester)

The offering of core courses and key electives may be subject to change and the availability of these courses will be confirmed in the course schedule provided to students each semester before registration for classes start. In case of changes, students are allowed to choose alternative classes related to gender issues. Our academic advisors are available to advise students on alternative classes.

Additional Required Courses (4 credits)

All LL.M. students who were not trained in a common law country are required to take the following courses, offered in the spring and fall semesters:

  • LAW-580-001: American Legal Institutions (2 credits)
  • LAW-580-002: Legal Research & Writing (2 credits)

General Electives

Any remaining credits may be chosen from among the wide variety of courses that are open to LL.M. students. Students seeking experiential learning opportunities will be encouraged to seek externships for credit at law firms or governmental, NGO or INGO employers in fields related to gender and international and comparative law.

Writing Requirements:

There exist two options to comply with the LL.M. writing requirement:

Research Track: LL.M. candidates are automatically in the research track. They must successfully complete two research papers that demonstrate a high degree of skill in legal scholarship and writing. The papers can be written in connection with a class, or through independent research and writing.


Practical Skills Track: LL.M. candidates must register for and successfully complete an externship for credit, as well as write one research paper.

Each research paper must contain at least 3,500 words. The memo written for the Legal Research and Writing course (LAW-580-002) counts as one of these papers.

New York Bar Track:

With careful planning, foreign-educated law students can meet the LL.M. degree requirements, the Certificate of Specialization requirements (if they choose to pursue a specialization), and the New York bar eligibility requirements at the same time.

Of the 24 credit hours required to earn the LL.M. degree, 12 credits must be in the subject matters required by the New York bar.

New York Bar Courses include:

Required (6 credits)

  • LAW-580-001: American Legal Institutions (2 credits; offered Fall & Spring)
  • LAW-580-002: Legal Research & Writing (2 credits; offered Fall o& Spring), and
  • LAW-550: Legal Ethics (2 credits; offered Spring & Summer)

Plus 6 credits from the following courses:

  • LAW-581-001: U.S. Business Law (3 credits; offered Spring)
  • LAW-504-002: U.S. Contracts Law (3 credits; offered Fall)
  • LAW-503-001: U.S. Constitutional Law (3 credits; offered Spring)
  • LAW-507-001: U.S. Criminal Law (3 credits; offered Fall)
  • LAW-636: Family Law (3 credits; offered Fall & Spring)

LL.M. candidates interested in taking the New York bar exam must complete the degree within 2 years of beginning the LL.M. program, and may only enroll in a maximum of 4 summer credits.

More information about New York Bar Exam requirements is available here. Please see also our general information on the Bar Exam here.

Full-time or Part-time:

The LL.M. degree can be completed full time (two or three regular semesters), or part-time (up to 5 years, as long as no visa restrictions apply). Students on an F-1 or J-1 visa must be enrolled in at least 8 credits during the fall and the spring, except for the last semester when students can take a reduced course load for 1-7 credits.