LL.M. Curriculum in United States Law for International Students

Degree Requirements

A total of 24 credit hours is required for this degree. It is anticipated that the degree will be completed in one academic year (two semesters). Students may take longer if they wish, with the permission of the Director. For example, it may be possible to finish the few remaining hours in the summer following the academic year by taking summer courses either in New Orleans or one of our study-abroad programs.

There are three specific requirements for this degree:

A. Two Required Courses:

    Introduction to United States Law

  • 2 credit hours

  • Offered each Fall semester

  • This course is designed exclusively for students who are enrolled in the Loyola LL.M. degree program in United States Law and who have already been awarded a first degree in law from a law school outside of the United States or Canada. The course will introduce students to U.S. legal history and sources of law, legal education and the legal profession, the judicial system, and selected areas of substantive law. Throughout the course students will engage in the art of case analysis and statutory construction.  

    Lawyering I (formerly Legal Research and Writing)

  • 3 credit hours

  • Offered each Fall semester

  • Students receive instruction in legal research, legal analysis, and legal writing. Throughout the semester, students research the law relevant to hypothetical client cases, apply that law to those cases, and draft memoranda setting forth law, analysis, and predictions as to the outcome of the cases. Students are exposed to both library research and computer research.

B. Writing Project Component

The 24 credit hours includes a writing requirement which may be fulfilled by taking a two credit hour law school seminar or a two credit hour independent legal research project under the supervision of a faculty member. An LL.M. student may be able to substitute the two credit hour seminar by completing a more extensive thesis under faculty supervision for up to a total of six credit hours. 

C. Elective Courses

All of the required 24 credit hours may be taken from among any courses in the College of Law’s course catalog, except courses that are associated with service on our law journals. If you intend to sit for a bar exam to become a licensed attorney, you will need to complete the classes required by the state of your choice for the bar exam. 


Additional Academic Opportunities

Internship Credit

Up to four credit hours may be earned through a pass / fail internship with a law firm, court, or government agency. The College of Law does not promise that an internship will be available to the potential LL.M. candidate, but we will make best efforts to assist.

Completing a Thesis

If a candidate chooses to write a thesis, the thesis may be completed after the candidate’s one year period of residency. But the LL.M. degree will not be awarded until the thesis is satisfactorily completed.

Certificates in Civil Law and Common Law 

The College of Law offers a program granting a Certificate in Civil Law and a Certificate in Common Law. This unique certification program is based upon Loyola’s dual common law and civil law curricula and encourages substantial study of two legal systems. Students choosing to complete the requirements for the certificate acquire an understanding of the conceptual framework of each legal system. In an era of increasing recognition of the international marketplace, an individual with this understanding is well-equipped to address legal issues from the perspective of the two legal systems that prevail throughout much of the world.

An LL.M. student with a Common Law background can earn a Civil Law Certificate. An LL.M. student with a Civil Law background can earn a Common Law Certificate. Please see the Loyola College of Law Bulletin for more information regarding the requirements needed to complete a Civil Law or Common Law Certificate. 

Skills Courses

Special skills courses bring a more practical approach to legal education by supplementing regular coursework with training by attorneys, judges and professors.  The Skills course calendar offers a current listing of upcoming events.

Summer Programs Abroad

Our Summer Legal Studies programs take students to Austria, Greece and Panama and to gain a more holistic appreciation and understanding of the law by immersing them in the legal systems and cultures of their host countries. Each year many students participate in these innovative programs. LL.M. students are welcome to join JD students in studying abroad.

Individual Faculty Mentorship

Each LL.M. student is assigned a faculty mentor, usually a professor with a specialization in a field of study that meets the interest of the student. 

Field Trips

LL.M. students visit law firms and courts to bolster their practical understanding of law. Such opportunities are designed to provide a comparative experience regarding the practice of law.