General LL.M. Curriculum

LL.M. Degree Requirements

Please note that we are not accepting applications to the General LL.M. program for the 2022-23 or 2023-24 academic years.

To qualify for the LL.M. degree, students must complete 24 credit hours of post-J.D. coursework, 12 of which must be earned at Southwestern. A maximum of 30 units may be applied to the LL.M. degree. Courses previously taken for credit for a J.D. or equivalent degree will not be counted toward the LL.M. degree.  

Full-time students:

Take 8 to 16 units per semester; typically complete degree within one academic year.

Part-time students:

Take 2 to 7 units per semester; typically complete degree within two academic years.

NOTE: International students on F1 Visas are required to maintain full-time enrollment.

All students are required to complete all coursework for the LL.M. within four years. LL.M. students attend classes with Southwestern’s J.D. students and have the flexibility of choosing courses offered in the day or evening. Southwestern offers several foundational courses specifically for internationally educated LL.M. students.

LL.M. Foundational Courses

Southwestern’s offering of courses specifically for internationally educated LL.M. students include:

  • Introduction to American law
  • Legal writing for LL.M. students
  • Contract Law, Skills and Negotiation
  • Practical Legal Research: LL.M.

Pre-LL.M. Program: American Legal Learning for Internationally Educated Students (ALLIES)

The transition to studying law in a new legal culture can be challenging. The American classroom dynamic and grading process are often different from those at law schools in other countries. Entering LL.M. students are strongly encouraged to participate in the two-week ALLIES program designed to assist them with the transition to studying the American legal system while maximizing their opportunities for success. Students are introduced to best strategies for class preparation, outlining and final exams in a supportive small-group environment. ALLIES begins one to two weeks before regularly scheduled classes and is a requirement for every student enrolled in Introduction to American Law, Legal Process and Institutions.


Please note that we are not accepting applications to the General LL.M. program for the 2022-23 or 2023-24 academic years.

Each LL.M. student works closely with a Southwestern faculty advisor to develop a detailed course of study tailored to their own interests from a comprehensive selection of over 150 electives and core courses. Students may choose to concentrate in such areas as:

  • Advocacy and Dispute Resolution
  • American Law and Legal Systems
  • Business Enterprise Organization and Practice
  • Constitutional Law
  • Contracts and Commercial Law
  • Corporate Securities Law
  • Criminal Law and Practice
  • Employment and Labor Law
  • Entertainment, Media and Intellectual Property Law*
  • Family and Juvenile Law
  • International and Comparative Law
  • International Business Law and Negotiation
  • International Human Rights
  • Jurisprudence and Legal History
  • Public Interest/Civil Rights/Civil Liberties
  • Real Property/Environmental Law/Land Use
  • Technology Law and Entrepreneurship
  • Torts and Compensation Systems

* Applicants interested in this area may wish to consider Southwestern’s Entertainment and Media Law LL.M. program.

NOTE: This is just a sampling of the numerous possible course concentrations. For the complete listing of current courses, click here.

LL.M. students can participate in Southwestern's stimulating clinics, externships, and practica to augment their studies.