Degree Requirements

Basic Degree Requirements

The LL.M. in Law and Government is dedicated to cater to students' individual needs by providing a highly personalized and flexible experience.

In order to earn an LL.M. in Law and Government, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Complete 24 credits with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 (C).

    • Students may choose to attend the LL.M. on either a part time (1-11 credits) or full time (12 credits) basis. Students on an F-1 or J-1 visa must register for a minimum of 8 credits each semester. There is no per semester credit minimum for U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents, but financial aid is only available if a student is registered for 6 or more credits per semester (including summers).

    • Students may choose an area of concentration or specialization in which 12 of the 24 credits are designated towards a specific area.

    • Up to 6 credits of non-classroom work (i.e. independent study or externship credits) may be applied to the 24 credit degree requirement.

    • All 24 credits of the degree must be taken at the Washington College of Law. No transfer credits will be counted toward the total degree requirements.
  • Required Courses & Writing Requirements

    • All students must complete a research paper that demonstrates a high degree of skill in legal scholarship and writing. This paper may be written in connection with a WCL course or seminar or through an independent study writing project under the supervision of a WCL faculty member. Papers must be 20-25 pages long. Many students choose to write within their area of specialization.
    • During their first semester, graduates of non-common law programs are required to take American Legal Institutions, a two-part class that covers substantive U.S. law (2 credits) and Legal Research and Writing (2 credits). These courses introduce students to the U.S. legal system and U.S. legal writing.
    • U.S.-trained lawyers do not have a required course, but the Program recommends The Washington Lawyer to incoming students. This 2-credit course is offered in the Fall semester and satisfies the writing requirement for the LL.M. in Law and Government. Upon successful petition of the professor, LL.M. students may write longer final papers and expand the 2-credit course to 3 or 4 credits. This course is approved for the Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice and Civil & Constitutional Rights Concentrations and the Law, Politics & Legislation specialization
  • LL.M. Graduation Requirement

    • To qualify for graduation, all LL.M. candidates must either complete the Practical Skills Graduation Track or Research Graduation Track.

    • Research Track: LL.M. candidates in the Research Track must complete the LL.M. writing requirement and an additional substantive paper of at least 20-25 pages following the same rules laid out in the LL.M. writing requirement guidelines.

    • Practical Skills Track: LLM candidates in the Practical Skills Track must complete an externship in their discipline for academic credit during their studies in addition to the LL.M. writing requirement. To receive academic credit for an externship, students must officially register for the externship and complete all of the corresponding academic requirements for the externship credits.

NOTE: Students on an F-1 or J-1 visa may not register for an externship until the second semester of the LL.M. program and must choose the Practical Skills Track by the end of the add/drop period in their final semester. F-1 students must also apply for Curricular Practical Training (CPT). Please see the LL.M. Graduation Requirement policies for details.

Students are automatically placed in the Research Track and may change their graduation track at any time before the end of the add/drop period during their final semester. A graduation track can only be changed once. For more detailed information about each graduation track, please view the LL.M. Graduation Requirement policies.

Other Important Degree Information

  • First-year JD courses, clinics, journals, and most international courses will not count toward the degree.

  • No special petition is required to switch from part-time to full-time or vice versa. However, 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.

  • All courses other than externships must be taken on a graded basis in order to be counted toward the LL.M. in Law and Government.

  • Each semester, the Program publishes a list of approved courses for the LL.M. in Law and Government. Courses that are not on the list of approved courses will not count toward the LL.M. in Law and Government and may not be taken.