Online LLM Programs

online llm programs

Are you a lawyer interested in advancing your education? Does the idea of gaining knowledge in a specialized area of law intrigue you? If so, earning an LLM degree may be the perfect fit. Pursuing an online LLM can make it easier than you’d ever imagine. Read on to learn how to gain this extra knowledge in the field of legal studies and enhance your resume at the same time.

What is an LLM Degree?

The LLM degree stands for Legum Magister, which is a Latin term meaning Master of Laws. The LLM degree, an internationally recognized postgraduate law degree, is typically a one-year program chosen by law students who have completed the traditional law school program.

The LLM degree is generally a degree program chosen by lawyers who wish to specialize in specific areas of law, such as tax law or international law. While some law firms do not require their lawyers to have an LLM, others find it to be very beneficial to their firm.

The law firms who prefer their attorneys to have an LLM believe that it demonstrates that the attorney has not only advanced and specialized legal training but also that the attorney has the training to work in a multinational legal capacity. Although most countries do not require their lawyers to have an LLM degree, some lawyers prefer to earn this degree to improve their job opportunities and wage potential.

Who Needs Online LLM Programs?

As stated above, many lawyers do not choose to pursue an LLM degree because it’s not for everyone. Depending on the role desired, earning an LLM is a matter of personal choice. This degree is generally useful for two groups. An online degree is a good fit for people who are already busy working and with other responsibilities.

Lawyers who want to specialize in a certain type of law in the first group. The second group is foreign lawyers who want to practice law in the United States. Lawyers in other countries may have their law degree by only completing a bachelor’s degree program and passing the bar exam. That’s not the case in the United States.

If a foreign lawyer wants to practice law in the United States, he or she can earn the LLM and take the bar exam without having to complete the three-year law program (J.D. program) required for lawyers in the U.S.

Master of Laws. vs. Master of Legal Studies

A Master of Laws (LL.M.) is for lawyers who want to learn about a specific type of law, or law in a certain country, like the United States. A Master of Legal Studies (MLS) is for non-lawyers, so think of politicians or people who work in governance in their jobs. If you already have a J.D., then an LLM program may be for you if you want to advance your education.

Salary and Job Prospects for LLM Program Graduates

Payscale reports that attorneys with an LLM degree earned wages ranging from $68,000 to $181,000 with the average annual wage at $108,397 as of June 2023. Wages can vary depending on the attorney’s specific job title.

For instance, an associate attorney might earn about $91,623, while a general counsel could earn about $176,257 a year. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that lawyers should see a ten percent job growth between 2021 and 2031, and this includes those with an LLM degree.

15 Best Online LLM Programs

With so many different online LLM degrees available today, it can be difficult to know which one to choose. How easy the college is to get into might be a factor to one student, while areas of specialization the program offers might be important to another. Here is a list of 15 online LLM programs. You can check out our methodology for ranking programs here.

1. University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law

LLM in International Criminal Law & Justice

The LLM degree is a 100 percent online program that can be completed in one to three years depending on if the student studies full-time or part-time. Courses focus on real issues, such as cybercrime, drugs & weapons, piracy & terrorism, international white-collar crimes, and human trafficking, among others.

Admission Requirements – Students must submit a completed application. Once the application is accepted, the school contacts students to inform them as to what they need to submit for admission.

2. Boston University

LLM in American Law

This fully online degree is a flexible program aimed at commercial, business, or corporate lawyers. It’s also ideal for foreign lawyers interested in learning more about U.S. lawyers and how they think, handle clients, and approach legal programs. This program offers concentrations in taxation, intellectual property, and business practice. Students can earn this degree in one year. BU also offers an online LLM in banking and financial law.

Admission requirements – Students must submit a completed application, a resume, and personal statement, two letters of recommendation, official transcripts, and proof of English language proficiency. Applicants who do not meet the work requirement or who do not have a master’s degree will have to submit GRE or GMAT scores.

3. George Washington University

Master of Studies in Law for Government Procurement Law

This 24-credit program provides students with classroom learning and research opportunities. Students learn about government contract law, the business of government, local and state procurement, and defense acquisition. This online degree can be earned in one to two years. George Washington School of Law offers a few different LLM degree programs.

Admission requirements – A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college is required of applicants with a JD from a U.S. college. Those who earned the degree outside of the US must have earned it through an approved college or university. In addition to proving excellent academic standards, applicants must provide two letters of recommendation, a resume, an essay stating professional goals, official transcripts from all schools attended, and a completed application.

4. University of Dayton School of Law

LLM in American and Transitional Law

This program is for both foreign-trained and U.S. lawyers interested in advancing their legal education. This is both an affordable and flexible program that students can complete in one year or three semesters. Students can choose to take the program full- or part-time. Course topics include contracts and sales, real property professional responsibility, constitutional law, evidence, criminal law and procedure, civil procedure, and torts.

Admission requirements – Applicants must provide proof of English proficiency and must submit an application. Admission screening is based on academic performance, a first degree in law, and professional accomplishments. The school with contact the student regarding any necessary documentation.

5. University of Missouri School of Law

Master of Law in Dispute Resolution

The online LLM at UM is a 24-credit accredited program that can be completed in one year. Although offered as a full-time program, domestic students have the option of taking it part-time. This highly-ranked program helps students develop skills in arbitration, mediation, negotiation, and conflict resolution.

Admission Requirements – Applicants must have an advanced or law degree with at least three years of experience in dispute resolution. U.S. applicants must also have met all the requirements for the JD degree, which must have been earned at an ABA-accredited law school. International applicants must have completed a JD or LLB for practicing law in the country in which the degree was earned. They must also have a GPA of at least 2.5 in the law program.

6. Texas A&M University School of Law

Master of Law in International Tax Law & Policy

This 24-credit online program is aimed at students who already hold a first law degree. Students will complete three core courses and 21 elective courses teaching them about ethical decision-making, international tax and treaties, transfer pricing, and tax risk management. This program can be completed in one year.

Admission Requirements – Applicants should be able to provide proof of English proficiency. They must submit an application to the school, and the school will contact them regarding admission requirements.

7. George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School

LLM in U.S. Law

This 100 percent online program, which requires completing 24-26 courses, can be completed in one year. This program is aimed at foreign students who want to pass the bar exam without having to complete several years of legal studies. This program meets the requirements to take the bar exam in Washington, California, and Washington D.C.

Admission Requirements – Applicants should submit an application, application fee, current resume, 500-word statement, official academic transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and proof of English language proficiency, and must complete an interview.

8. University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law

LLM in Water and Environmental Law

This 100 percent 24-unit online program teaches students how to service the diverse needs of farmers and ranchers, businesses and developers, not-for-profit organizations, and public agencies from local to international levels. It’s a full-time program that can be completed in two to three years. Students can choose between three tracks: international track, U.S. law track, and fast track.

Admission Requirements – Applicants to this program are advised to submit an application with application and contact the school’s admissions office for further requirements.

9. Golden Gate University School of Law

Master of Law Studies

The LLM online program is a two-year 30-credit program that students can take either part- or full-time. Students can choose from specialized areas like estate planning, U.S. legal studies, environmental law, taxation law, intellectual property law, and international legal studies.

Admission Requirements – In addition to having a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school, applicants must provide a resume, statement of purpose, official transcript, letters of recommendation, and proof of English language proficiency.

10. American University Washington School of Law

LLM in International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law

The LLM at American University is a 24-credit program that can be completed in one year if taken full-time. Students must do a research paper and complete several human rights courses with a GPA of 2.0 or higher as well as an externship in their area.

Admissions Requirements – Applicants must submit an application and wait for the college admissions office to contact them and provide the required information.

11. Northeastern University School of Law

Master of Law

The LLM program at NU is an online program that can be completed in one year and also offers a few different tracks: International Property and Technology Track, International Business Track, and Bar Examination Track.

Admissions Requirements – Applicants must show proof of English language proficiency and must submit an application and wait for the college admissions office to contact them and provide requirement information.

12. Vanderbilt University Law School

Master of Legal Studies

The online LLM program is a two-year program ideal for lawyers interested in advancing their legal studies or non-lawyers who want to learn about the US legal system. This flexible program, which offers three tracks, offers courses in employment law, property rights, regulatory compliance, intellectual property, contracts, taxation, and criminal justice.

Admission Requirements – Applicants must have completed a first degree of law. They must submit official transcripts, letters of recommendation, proof of English language proficiency, a resume, an online application, an application fee, writing samples, and a personal statement.

13. Boston University School of Law

Master of Law in Banking and Financial Law

This online LLM is a 24-credit program that takes about two years to complete. Students complete 12 courses. This program is aimed at students who have already earned a JD.

Admission Requirements – Must submit a completed application and application fee. Applicants have several enrollment options based on their location, academic performance, professional experience, and English language proficiency.

14. University of St. Thomas School of Law

Master of Studies in Law Organizational Ethics and Compliance

This 21-month program is a fully online program aimed at lawyers or anyone interested in learning more about ethics and compliance. Students have a blended curriculum that includes courses in white-collar crime, international anti-corruption, investigations, and corruption. This program is designed to be a part-time program, but students can work at their own pace.

Admission Requirements – Applicants must have at least a bachelor’s degree. They must submit an online application with official transcripts, a resume, a written response to essay questions, and two letters of recommendation.

15. University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law

Master of Laws

The 24-credit online graduate program at UA is designed for students who have their JD in the U.S. or a first law degree from another country. The curriculum is taught by experienced instructors and academics. Students can choose from three areas of interest: mining law, health law, or introduction to U.S. Law.

Admission Requirements – Applicants to this program must have a first law degree from another country, and the school must be accredited in that country. Applications must be submitted, and the school will contact the student for additional information.

Why an Online Program?

Online programs are becoming very popular with more and more students every day choosing to enroll in an online program. This is true for lawyers pursuing an LLM degree. Online LLM programs are very convenient for practicing lawyers because they can continue to work and practice law while earning their degrees online. The online LLM degree is particularly helpful for foreign lawyers because it’s a way for them to learn about U.S. law without having to leave their country.

Getting Started

Once you’ve decided you want to advance your education and earn an LLM degree, you’ll find that many schools offer online LLM degrees. It’s important to research different schools and programs and not choose the first one you find. The specialty of law will determine what type of courses you’ll have to take.

There are many different types of law, including business law, human rights, international law, tax law, health law, and immigration law to name a few. If you’re applying to an online program in the United States, you’ll have to already have a professional degree, such as a Bachelor of Laws (LLB). Once you’ve chosen an online school and program, the first thing you’ll want to do is apply to the school.

After the school receives the application, they’ll require you to submit certain items. This may vary by school, but some common things you’ll need to supply are transcripts of all schools attended, personal statements, letters of reference, resumes, and credentials. Many schools require applicants to submit the TOEFL if they’re from a foreign country.