LLM in U.S. Law

Degree Requirements

To earn a U.S. Law LLM, students must complete a total of 26 credit hours of coursework. These hours will include required and elective courses, and a thesis, seminar, or writing course to fulfill the LLM writing requirement. Students may elect to finish all credits and requirements within one year, or for those who wish to take less credits per semester, a reduced course load is available, as well as the option to complete the program part time. With classes offered both during the day and evening, Mason Law ranks as the 4th best law school in the United States for part time law programs, making the LLM program a great option for busy professionals or for families with young children.

Please note: students on a F1 visa need to maintain a minimum of 9 credits in the fall and spring semesters to comply with visa requirements.

All students must finish the degree requirements within three years of matriculation and be enrolled in at least two courses each fall and spring semester, unless granted a waiver or leave of absence. In order to remain in the LLM program, students must maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.33 on a 4.33 scale at the end of each spring semester.

The course requirements for the U.S. Law LLM program are listed below. Students need a total of 26 credits (7 credits of required courses and 19 credits of electives) in order to receive the LLM degree. Students are welcome to take additional courses and credits beyond the minimum of 26 credits if they wish to expand their knowledge and gain access to a course that is not listed in the original LLM curriculum. Students need permission from the Director of Graduate Studies and the faculty teaching the course in order to enroll in a course not listed as a LLM course.

The required and elective LLM courses are not offered every semester and new offerings for approved LLM electives may become available. A limited number of courses is also available in the summer. For more information about any of the courses listed below, please view Course Descriptions.

Required Courses (7 credit hours)

Courses included in the required core curriculum are considered to be essential to the Mason Law experience. The courses introduce students to the US legal system, which varies significantly from many jurisdictions; teach the fundamentals of research, writing and analysis of US laws and opinions and how to craft arguments; educate students on understanding the economic implications of US law and opinions; and instruct students on the ethical and professional obligations of lawyers in the U.S.

  • Introduction to United States Law (2 credits)
  • Economic Foundations of Legal Studies (3 credits)
  • Professional Responsibility (2 credits)

Electives (19 credit hours)

Courses included in the list of electives represent fundamental tenants of United States Law and reflect the type of introductory substantive and theoretical material that U.S. attorneys are expected to possess. These courses also match-up with courses that provide eligibility for sitting for a bar examination in the United States.

  • Administrative Law (3 credits)
  • Business Associations (4 credits)
  • Civil Procedure (4 credits)
  • Conflict of Laws (3 credits)
  • Constitutional Law I: Structure of Government (4 credits)
  • Constitutional Law II: The 14th Amendment (2-3 credits)
  • Contracts I (2 credits)
  • Corporate Tax (3-4 credits)
  • Criminal Law (3 credits)
  • Criminal Procedure: Investigation (3 credits)
  • Evidence (3-4 credits)
  • Family Law (3 credits)
  • Immigration Law (3 credits)
  • Income Tax (4 credits)
  • International Law (3 credits)
  • Intro. to Legal Research, Writing, & Analysis (2 credits)
  • Jurisprudence (2 credits)
  • Legislation and Statutory Interpretation (2 credits)
  • Perspectives on Regulation (2-3 credits)
  • Property (4 credits)
  • Secured Finance (3 credits)
  • Sales (2 credits)
  • Torts (4 credits)
  • Trusts and Estates (3-4 credits)
  • Unincorporated Business Entities (2 credits)

For more information and instructions on how to apply, please visit the LLM Admissions page or contact Adriana Vito, Director of Graduate Studies at avito@gmu.edu

Most applicants’ questions can be answered by visiting our Frequently Asked Questions.

Practical Skills Track Option

Students enrolled in the US Law LLM program at Scalia Law School may choose the Practical Skills Track to enhance their professional development and acquire hands-on practical legal experience. This skills-based program develops students’ workplace skills through the practical application of the knowledge they have acquired in the classroom.

Degree Requirements:

In order to graduate with a US Law LLM degree in the Practical Skills Track, students must be ready to complete a total of 28 credit hours (26 credits composed of the required and elective courses as listed in the US Law LLM degree curriculum, plus 2 credits for the supervised externship seminar required of this track).

All LLM students in the Practical Skills Track shall complete a legal externship supervised by a licensed attorney in the United States in the second semester of LLM studies. Students are required to enroll in Law 320, Supervised Externship.

Students Rights & Responsibilities:

  1. Students wishing to pursue the Practical Skills Track in their second semester of study must obtain a minimum 3.1 GPA in their first semester of study.
  2. No compensation may be received for work performed during the course of the supervised externship required by the Practice Skills Track.
  3. Externship work must be done under the direct supervision of a licensed attorney or judge (the “site supervisor”) and assignments must be substantive and legal or law-related in nature. Placements that do not meet these requirements shall not be approved.
  4. The student must work a minimum of 120 hours, which hours shall be structured in consultation with the site supervisor.
  5. Externship opportunities must be approved by both the Director of Graduate Studies and the Supervised Externship Professor in advance of the externship start date.
  6. The student must attend two of the four tutorials offered by the Supervised Externship Professor over the course of the semester.
  7. Prior to the start of the externship, a “Supervised Externship Volunteer Agreement” must be signed by the student and site supervisor and submitted to the Supervised Externship Professor. The agreement is available on the web or from the Office of the Director of Graduate Studies. If the person who initially signs the agreement does not act as the student’s primary supervisor, the student must get a new volunteer agreement signed by the primary supervisor and submitted to the professor as soon as feasible. Students who do not comply with these requirements may be dropped from the course.
  8. Each student must have a mid-semester consultation with the Supervised Externship Professor to discuss the externship and work being accomplished.
  9. At the end of the externship, the student must submit the following:
    1. time sheet showing the hours worked;
    2. sample of their written work product of any length (with the supervising attorney’s permission; redactions are acceptable to preserve confidentiality);
    3. written summary of the legal skills enhancement resulting from their field experience. The summary should be 2-3 pages in length and must include a description of: i. how the student found the externship opportunity; ii. the work accomplished in the program; iii. the skills developed through the program; iv. the extent and nature of the student’s interaction with and feedback from supervisors and other attorneys; v. any recommendations to future students interested in the same or a similar opportunity;
  10. The student must ensure that their site supervisor submits a timely evaluation by the end of the semester. An “incomplete” will remain on a student’s transcript until all of the above requirements have been met and the documents reviewed by the professor.

Procedure:

Students are responsible for finding their own internship placement. The Director of Graduate Studies offers career counseling and support for students seeking these types of opportunities.

Students should schedule an appointment to meet with the Director for counseling during their first semester of LLM studies so that the externship search can be timely and potentially yield an offer by the end of the first semester.

Students interested in pursuing this track need to submit (1) their internship offer letter and (2) transcripts reflecting their first semester grades to the Director of Graduate Studies by email to avito@gmu.edu by the first day of classes of their second LLM semester at Scalia Law.

Students who meet the necessary requirements will be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies to register for the LLM Externship Seminar. Once approval has been granted by the Director of Graduate Studies, students shall obtain the approval of the Supervised Externship Professor. Students may not register for the LLM Externship Seminar without both permissions.

International students (F1 visa holders) who don’t have permission to permission to work in the United States will need to seek the necessary permission from OIPS (Office of International Programs and Services) in order to pursue this track.