• overhead shot of Kennedy Hall at Chapman University
  • Overhead shot of Kennedy Hall
Dale E. Fowler School of Law

LL.M. Program

» LL.M. in Taxation at Chapman University

The Chapman University Fowler School of Law offers an LL.M degree in taxation with comprehensive course work that exposes students to a wide variety of specialized tax and estate planning courses. Tax law covers income tax, federal tax procedure, corporate tax, ethics, as well as a variety of electives. In addition to the traditional personal and business related tax law courses, Chapman has made a particular effort to include an extensive array of advanced estate planning and advanced business and personal tax planning courses.


The full-time professors in the Fowler School of Law's tax law program include casebook authors and leaders in committees of the tax section of the American Bar Association, as well as respected adjunct professors who bring a real-world dynamic to the classroom.

Clinics and Real World Experience

Chapman is the only law school in the nation with both trial and appellate tax clinics where students handle actual cases while in school. Additionally, an estate planning clinic and externship opportunities with the State Board of Equalization, the IRS Office of Chief Counsel and the Department of Justice Tax Division are available to Fowler School of Law students.

Federal Income Tax Requirement

Our tax program is unique from many other programs in that all of our LL.M. candidates are presumed to have already completed a basic course in Federal Income Taxation at the JD level prior to matriculation at Chapman. If you have not completed a JD level course in federal income tax before matriculation, you will be required to complete it during your first semester in the program. This may impact your ability to complete the program in one year.

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LL.M. Admission Requirements

Admission to the LL.M. program will be open to graduates of ABA-accredited American law schools or foreign equivalents. The following items are required:

  • Application
  • Application Fee $75 (Checks can be made out to Chapman University) law school and college
  • Transcripts
  • Resume or C.V.
  • Two (2) letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement (outlining the student's preparation, interests and goals for graduate study)
  • For foreign lawyers: Foreign students who have not studied or received a degree at either an English language law school or university must demonstrate proficiency through the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Please contact the LL.M. Programs Office for more information regarding scores.

An applicant will only be admitted if the applicant's record, viewed as a whole, indicates that the applicant is likely to complete the program successfully. The applicant's academic record (at the undergraduate, graduate and law level) and relevant experience are the primary factors considered.

The LL.M. in Taxation will accept applications for fall and spring admission.

Admission is evaluated on a rolling basis. Early application submission will result in receiving a decision sooner. The priority deadline for admissions is June 30. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. Foreign lawyers are especially encouraged to submit their applications as early as possible, in order to ensure enough time for the processing of student F-1 visas.

International students who do not possess a JD or LL.M. degree from an American law school will be required to take a course on Introduction to American Law, designed exclusively for LL.M. students and taught by the Director of Graduate Studies, supplemented by the participation of other Chapman faculty and staff. At the discretion of the LL.M. admissions committee, students also may be required to take courses in legal writing, legal and professional English, and/or legal research.

LL.M. Program Requirements


Twenty-seven (27) units of credit are required to obtain the LL.M. in Taxation degree (24 credits for all other LL.M. programs). Full-time students may enroll in a minimum of nine (9) and a maximum of sixteen (16) credits per semester. To receive financial aid, a student must be enrolled in a minimum of five (5) credits per semester. Degree requirements must be completed within four (4) years.

Core Courses

Each emphasis area requires completion of two or three required core courses. Introduction to American Law, a three-credit course, is required of all foreign lawyers with a degree from a non-common law jurisdiction or law school.

In addition, all LL.M. students are expected to complete a substantial writing project, and recommended to consider completing this requirement through Directed Research. Students also are strongly encouraged to pursue experiential learning opportunities, either through enrollment in an externship for credit (normally 3 to 5 credits), or through other volunteer or paid employment.

Transfer Credits

In some circumstances, student may receive credits toward the LL.M. degree for courses taken before matriculation into the LL.M. Program, and for courses taken at another law school or in Chapman University Fowler School of Law's JD curriculum after matriculation into the Program. The grades in such courses are ignored in determining whether the student's grade point average satisfies the LL.M. degree requirements.

A student may petition to receive up to six (6) credits toward the degree for certain LL.M. level courses or advanced JD level courses taken at any ABA-accredited law school during the three academic years preceding matriculation into the Program and within five years of completing the Program, provided in the case of each course that (1) the course is determined to be equivalent to a course or courses currently included in the LL.M. curriculum and (2) the student received at least a grade of "B" or the equivalent in the course. Applicants requesting such credit should so indicate when applying for admission and provide a syllabus or other description of the material covered in the course for which such transfer credit is sought. In no case will credit be given for extension or correspondence courses. In unusual cases, a student may petition the Director of the Program in order to request additional transfer credits.

With the approval of the Director, a student may petition to receive up to twelve (12) credits toward the degree for LL.M. level courses or advanced JD level courses equivalent to courses currently in the LL.M. curriculum taken at Chapman University Fowler School of Law during the three academic years preceding matriculation into the Program and within five years of completing the Program, provided the student received at least a grade of "B" in the course for which credit is sought.

With the prior approval of the Director and for good causes shown, a matriculated student may receive up to six (6) credits in the aggregate for LL.M. level courses taken at another ABA-accredited law school and courses taken in the Chapman University Fowler School of Law J.D. curriculum, provided the student receives at least a grade of "B" or the equivalent in each such course.


There is no mandatory grading curve for LL.M. courses. Instructors in courses with both JD and LL.M. students will be asked to grade the two groups of students separately unless granted a waiver of the JD mandatory grading curve by the Associate Dean in accordance with existing rules.

For information about ABA accreditation, you may contact the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of the American Bar Association.

LL.M. Cost of Attendance

Tuition is charged at a per-credit rate in the LL.M. program at the Fowler School of Law. This gives you the flexibility to complete the program at your own pace.

The Taxation program requires 27 credits; all other LL.M. programs require 24 credits. These credits may be reduced by eligible transfer credit. You may request transfer credit for qualified law school coursework at the time you apply.

LL.M. students are eligible for merit based scholarships that typically range from 10 to 35 percent of tuition.  Awards are made by the Admission Committee and students are notified at the time an offer of admission is extended.

Current per-credit LL.M. tuition costs
Estimated LL.M. cost of attendance and financial aid 

Learning Outcomes

The law school faculty have identified the following learning outcomes as critical to a law degree and to developing the skills needed to become a proficient attorney.

  1. Understanding American Law – LL.M. students with foreign law degrees will demonstrate an understanding of the legal system of the United States by applying (1) the common law and case method, (2) basic principles of legal procedure, and (3) specific content areas relevant to their area of emphasis to propose, assess, justify, and/or recommend resolutions to simulated and real-world legal issues.
  2. Emphasis-Appropriate Content and Analysis – LL.M. students should demonstrate subject matter knowledge and information appropriate to their area of emphasis and their personal and program goals. Students should apply legal rules and information appropriate to their area of emphasis to formulate clear and effective legal analysis and to prepare and recommend solutions to legal problems.
  3. Emphasis-Appropriate Skills – LL.M. students should develop essential skills appropriate to their area of emphasis and their personal and program goals. For Tax emphasis students, this primarily means tax-related practice skills and legal research/writing.

Contact Us

Feel free to call the Fowler School of Law LL.M. Office at (714) 628-2635, and you will be put into contact with a faculty member who can answer questions about the LL.M. program. You may also dial 877-CHAPLAW, toll-free from within the United States, or email us at llm@chapman.edu