Skip to main content area Skip to institutional navigation Skip to search Skip to section navigation

The Master of Laws Degree (LLM)

General Requirements

In order to be eligible to receive the LL.M. degree, a student must attend full-time for two academic semesters, taking no more than 15 semester hours per semester, and complete the requirements of either the Course Track or the Thesis Track.

Course Track

Students in the Course Track must:
a) complete 20 semester hours and complete a senior writing project, or
b) complete 23 semester hours; and
c) receive the grade of “F” with credit in no more than four semester hours.

Thesis Track

Students in the Thesis Track must:
a) complete 20 semester hours, 13 of which include courses and seminars; and
b) satisfactorily complete a scholarly thesis, worth seven semester hours, of high analytical quality suitable for publication in a law journal; and
c) receive the grade of “F” with credit in no more than four semester hours.

Extension of the LL.M. Program/Special Post-Graduate Track

a) Postponement of the LL.M. Degree

The LL.M. degree is intended to be completed in one year. However, degree candidates sometimes find that they need additional time to complete the Writing Requirement. In those cases, students should make arrangements with the faculty member supervising their writing project to extend the due date for the paper, so that they become eligible to graduate in August or December. In either case, a student seeking an extension MUST submit to the Registrar’s Office a letter signed by the faculty member agreeing to the extension of the paper, so that the degree may be postponed.

Those who wish to extend their degree and take additional coursework should notify the Registrar (as noted above), and should also follow the procedures described in the paragraphs on Special Post-Graduate Studies/Additional Coursework, below.

NOTE: Students who extend their program, but enroll in no further coursework, are not considered as enrolled, full-time students for the purposes of extending their visas.


b) Special Post-Graduate Studies/Additional Coursework

Those LL.M. students who will finish their degree in May and who wish to continue to take courses for one or both semesters of the next academic year, need to apply to the Assistant Dean for Graduate and International Studies, and the Chairman of the Graduate Committee by March 31.

Requests must include: a brief statement of the student’s plans for the next academic year, including their reasons for wishing to continue with coursework; some indication of how the student intends to finance their continuing study; and a photocopy of their Penn Law School transcript.

If the student is accepted into this Special Student status, they will be notified by letter, with a copy to The Registrar. A “Special Student’s” registration no longer needs an adviser’s signature.


c) Tuition and Fees for Special Post-Graduate Studies and LL.M.s Extending their Program

For those students who have completed one year of full-time work in the LL.M. program, tuition is charged on a semester-hour basis, and fees are charged on a per-course basis. Each semester-hour’s tuition is 10% of the full tuition for that semester. That is, a 3-semester-hour course costs 30% of that semester’s tuition. Full tuition is reached at 10 semester hours. No additional charge is incurred for more than 10 semester hours. The general fee and library fee are charged at approximately one-third of the full-fee per course.

Bills are generated initially on a full-tuition-and-fee basis. Students qualifying for a reduction because they are taking less than a full-time load in order to complete their degrees must come to the Registrar’s Office, after the Drop/Add period, and request that their bill be adjusted.

Academic Review of the LLM

LL.M. and LL.C.M candidates shall be referred to the Committee on Academic Standing when they receive two or more grades of “F” in their first semester.