» Admission and Program Requirements: LL.M.


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). The recommended score for the TOEFL is 100 on the Internet-based test (TOEFL-iBt). The recommended score for the IELTS is 7.0.  Please contact the LL.M. Programs Office for more information regarding any deviations on 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.

At this time, all programs, with the exception of the LL.M. in Trial Advocacy, 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.

Students who do not possess a J.D. 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.

Program Requirements: LL.M.


Twenty-four (24) units of credit are required to obtain the LL.M. degree (27 units for LL.M. in Taxation). Full-time students may enroll in a minimum of nine (9) and a maximum of fourteen (14) units per semester. To receive financial aid, a student must be enrolled in a minimum of five (5) units 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 two 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 cr.), 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 J.D. 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 J.D. 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 J.D. 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 J.D. and LL.M. students will be asked to grade the two groups of students separately unless granted a waiver of the J.D. 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 http://www.americanbar.org/groups/legal_education/contact_us.html
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