LL.M. Common Questions

Questions & Details about the LL.M.

What are the basic requirements to apply for the LL.M. program at Yale Law School?

Applicants must have earned their law degree at an accredited U.S. law school or a non-U.S. law school with substantially equivalent standards, and should have a strong record of academic accomplishments. Find out more about our requirements

What is the application deadline, and when can I begin to submit my application materials?

You may submit your application any time after August 1. The application deadline for the 2024-2025 academic year is December 1, 2023. Find out more about LL.M. admissions

Do you have any minimum grade requirements for applicants?

No, while applicants should have a strong record of academic accomplishments, we review each application holistically, taking into consideration all application materials. Grades are certainly important, but they are one among many factors that we take into account in reviewing each applicant’s file.

I am reapplying to the LL.M. program. What do I need to do?

Previous applicants who were not admitted to the LL.M. program and who wish to reapply must submit a completely new application and pay the application fee. Applicants who have been denied admission three times may not file further applications.

When will the decisions be made? Are the decisions made on a rolling basis?

Decisions are typically made in mid-March. All decisions are made at the same time, not on a rolling basis.

How do I apply for financial aid?

Financial aid is not applied for or determined until after admission. At that time, we will provide admitted applicants with information on how to apply for financial aid. Financial aid is available to all admitted applicants and is based on need. Find out more about financial aid.

What courses are offered at Yale Law School?

While course offerings vary from year to year, a current course listing can be found in the Yale Law School Bulletin. You can also learn much more about the academic and intellectual environment at Yale Law School on the Law School's website.

Does Yale Law School offer specializations within the LL.M. program?

No, there is only one LL.M. program at Yale Law School, and it is general in nature. Courses are elective, and students tailor their studies to their own interests. No specialization is indicated on the degree or official academic transcript. Please note, though, that the LL.M. program at Yale is not designed to prepare students to take the New York State Bar Examination.

May I take courses in other departments at Yale University?

Yes, with approval, up to six units of credit toward the LL.M. degree can be earned outside of the Law School.

If accepted to the LL.M. program, would I automatically be admitted to the J.S.D. program?

Admission to J.S.D. candidacy does not follow automatically from admission to the LL.M. program or from the award of the LL.M. degree. Admission to the J.S.D. program is highly selective and rests entirely on an independent judgment of your J.S.D. proposal and academic record by the Graduate Admissions Committee.

If I am selected, may I defer for one or more years?

Due to the small size of the admitted LL.M. class, Yale Law School does not offer deferred admission. If you are admitted but cannot accept our offer, you may reapply. Admission is not guaranteed, however, as decisions are made independent of previous years.

Will the LL.M. program at Yale Law School allow me to sit for the New York State Bar Examination?

Because it is intended expressly for those committed to careers in law teaching and scholarship, the LL.M. program at Yale Law School is not designed to prepare students for the New York State Bar Examination. Students who nonetheless remain interested in the Bar Examination should familiarize themselves as soon as possible with the requirements of the New York State Board of Law Examiners, which can be found here. These requirements include, among other things, specific coursework that must be completed during the LL.M. program. 

Students entering the LL.M. program as of August 2018 should note the additional requirements for Bar admission found in Rule 520.18 of the Rules of the New York State Court of Appeals for the Admission of Attorneys and Counselors at Law. (These new requirements are in addition to the 50-hour pro bono requirement found in Rule 520.16.) Particularly, we recommend that interested students consider Pathways Four and Five, concerning legal apprenticeship and legal practice in another jurisdiction. Please note that online or hybrid course instruction due to COVID-19 may affect your eligibility to take the New York Bar examination. Please consult the New York State Board of Law Examiners for details.

Must I take the LSAT or GRE?

No, the LSAT and GRE are not required. 

Why is the TOEFL score important for applicants?

The Yale Law School Admissions Committee takes the position that the TOEFL score can provide a valid measurement of an applicant’s ability to succeed in a rigorous academic environment.

Are there exceptions to the TOEFL requirement?

Yes, there are two exceptions to the TOEFL requirement:
a.    If your native language is English, you do not need to submit a TOEFL score.  Native language is considered the language you learned from birth. 
b.    If your native language is not English, you are exempt from submitting a TOEFL score if you received an undergraduate education or first degree in law which was instructed in English (3-4 year degree).

How do I show that I meet one of the exceptions to the TOEFL requirement?

For exception (a): If your native language is English, you can indicate that on the application.  
For exception (b): To show proof of language of instruction on your application, your educational transcript must indicate that the mode of instruction was English. Alternatively, if the transcript does not indicate the language of instruction was English, you will need to get a letter from your institution stating that the mode of instruction was English and upload it to your application as the Language Waiver attachment.

What do I do if I do not meet the above TOEFL exceptions but would like to request a waiver from the requirement to submit a TOEFL?

If you still have questions about your unique language and educational circumstances, please email the Yale Law School Graduate Programs team at gradpro.law@yale.edu.

Where can I find more information about the TOEFL?

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is administered throughout the world by the Educational Testing Service, Princeton, New Jersey 08541–0008, United States. Communicate directly with that service to arrange to take the test, and have the result sent to LSAC's LL.M. Credential Assembly Service no later than December 15.

Please be sure to specify the LSAC institution code, 8395.

Please note that other English proficiency exams (e.g., IELTS and Cambridge Exams) will not be accepted in place of the TOEFL.

Notes on Transcripts

We require all applicants to the LL.M. program to submit their applications online through LSAC's Electronic Application Service, available August 1. After you register for LSAC's LL.M. Credential Assembly Service (CAS), have your required transcripts sent only once directly to LSAC by the registrar of each undergraduate and graduate institution you attended; this includes all of your academic transcripts, both in law and in other academic fields. You must use LSAC's Transcript Request Forms for this purpose; these forms will be available only after you register for the LL.M. CAS and enter your academic institution information. If you have records from education completed outside of the United States, all of your attested documents from the issuing institution or government agency must be submitted in the original language. If the transcripts or other required documents are not in English, a certified translation must be included.

International applicants must register for LSAC's Document Assembly Service. We also require LSAC's International Transcript Authentication and Evaluation Service. If you are in the process of completing your degree, you should arrange for a transcript of all available grades to be sent to LSAC. When you have completed your degree, you must arrange for the final transcript to be sent to LSAC.

Please see LSAC's website for instructions on submitting transcripts to LSAC.

Notes on Letters of Recommendation

We require two and accept up to four letters of recommendation from professors (or employers) who have worked with you. Your file will be deemed complete when two letters have arrived. We require that all letters of recommendation be sent through LSAC's Letter of Recommendation (LOR) Service. Follow the instructions provided in your LSAC account.

My school does not provide transcripts or only supplies one original. What should I provide?

We require that official transcripts be submitted through LSAC's Credential Assembly Service. Please contact LSAC if you have specific questions regarding what to submit.

My transcripts and/or recommendations are not in English. Must I have them translated?

Yes, all documents submitted must be in English. Translations must be made and certified by an official translator. You should submit both the original and the translated versions.

Can I submit my transcripts directly to Yale Law School, or must I use LSAC's Credential Assembly Service?

We require all applicants to the LL.M. program to submit their applications online through LSAC’s Electronic Application Service. Official transcripts must be submitted through LSAC’s LL.M. Credential Assembly Service.

Can my recommenders send their letters directly to Yale Law School?

No, all letters of recommendation must be sent through LSAC’s Letter of Recommendation (LOR) Service.

When should I plan to arrive?
In order to arrange housing and settle in, entering students should plan to arrive before the orientation program in mid-August, which offers much useful information to newly admitted students. 

When are classes in session?
Generally, classes run from the last week of August until mid-April. View the academic calendar.

Is the LL.M. program available part-time, at night or over the summers?


Financial aid is available to all admitted applicants, based on need. Applicants will be provided with information on how to apply after admission. More details on Yale Law financial aid policies and procedures are available in the LLM/MSL Financial Aid Handbook.