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Our Master of Laws (LLM) degree programs focus on the U.S. legal system, with an immersive, flexible curriculum that prepares both international and U.S. students for leadership roles in law.

Gain the necessary experience to work in variety of global industries and settings, including business law, compliance, cybersecurity, education, entertainment, financial compliance, health care, human resources and more.

Eligibility

Students who have earned a JD, LLB or equivalent prior to enrollment in our program. 

LLM Program Options

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General LLM

Our on-campus LLM degree is offered completely in residence at our USC University Park campus in Los Angles. 

Format: Full-Time | On Campus
Eligibility: JD, LLB or equivalent
Start: Fall | Spring 

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Two-Year LLM

Spend one year learning about the U.S. legal system and mastering legal English prior to enrolling in the one-year comprehensive LLM curriculum.

Format: Full-Time | On Campus
Eligibility: JD, LLB or equivalent
Start: Fall

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LLM in Alternative Dispute Resolution (LLM in ADR)

Our LLM in ADR is designed for law graduates interested in building strength as an advocate in ADR processes, including as a mediator or arbitrator.

Format: Full-Time | Part-Time | On Campus
Eligibility: JD, LLB or equivalent
Start: Fall | Spring 

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LLM in International Business and Economic Law (LLM in IBEL)

Our LLM in IBEL degree focuses on the relevant laws, policies and business best practices that shape international commerce and trade.

Format: Full-Time | On Campus
Eligibility: JD, LLB or equivalent
Start: Fall | Spring

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LLM in Privacy Law and Cybersecurity (LLM in PLCS)

Our Master of Laws (LLM) in Privacy Law and Cybersecurity educates students on the integral laws, policies and best practices that shape privacy law and cybersecurity.

Format: Full-Time | On Campus
Eligibility: JD, LLB or equivalent
Start: Fall | Spring

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Online LLM

USC Gould's Online LLM degree is taught in a 100% digital format that combines self-paced (asynchronous) and real-time (synchronous) components.

Format: Part-Time | Online
Eligibility: JD, LLB or equivalent
Start: Fall | Spring | Summer

Additional Programs

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Master of Comparative Law (MCL)

Our MCL degree is ideal for international students that have already earned their LLM degree and want to continue their studies of U.S. and comparative laws.

Format: Full-Time | On Campus
Eligibility: LLM
Start: Fall | Spring 

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Summer Law and English (SLE)

SLE is a four-week program that strengthens students’ English speaking and writing proficiency while helping to build a foundation for future legal studies in the United States or your LLM at USC Gould. 

Format: Full-Time  - 4 Weeks
Eligibility: Undergraduate degree
Start: Summer

The LLM Benefit

LLM Degree Outcomes

Through the LLM degree, you will develop:

  • The ability to perform legal research and analysis necessary for work in a variety of legal settings
  • Understanding of legal professionalism and ethics, and the responsibilities required of representatives of clients and officers of the court
  • Improved writing and public speaking skills

Who Should Get an LLM?

The LLM is ideal for international professionals, including

  • Attorneys
  • Judges
  • Government officials
  • Prosecutors
  • Corporate legal counsel
  • Bankers
  • Recent law graduates

Frequently Asked Questions

Is an LLM a master’s degree?

Yes. "LLM" is the standard abbreviation for the Master of Laws degree. It is derived from the name of the qualification in Latin, “Legum Magister”, with “legum” as the plural of "lex", meaning law.

Is an LLM higher than a JD?

While a JD degree is a first law degree in the U.S. an undergraduate LLB degree is a first law degree in many other countries. Typically, the LLM is for international students who have obtained an LLB or equivalent and are looking to develop a deeper, master’s degree-level understanding of the U.S. legal system.

Can an LLM be done online?

Yes, USC Gould School of Law offers the option to earn an LLM online in a 100% digital format that combines self-paced (asynchronous) and real-time (synchronous) components.

Is an LLM a 2-year degree?

Depending on specifications and certificate tracks, the Online LLM can be completed in as few as 16 months. For those interested in pursuing a Two-Year Extended LLM, USC Gould offers an on-campus program.

I earned my JD from a law school in the United States. Can I apply for an LLM?

Applicants to USC Gould's LLM must have earned their first degree in law (e.g. Bachelor of Laws (LLB) or License in Law) from outside of the United States. If you earned your JD from a law school in the U.S., then please consider our on-campus, specialized LLM programs: Alternative Dispute Resolution, International Business and Economic Law, or Privacy Law and Cybersecurity.

What's the difference between an LLM and an MSL degree?

The LLM is designated for those with a first professional degree in law outside of the United States, such as Bachelor of Laws (LLB) or License in Law. The Master of Studies in Law (MSL) is for non-lawyer professionals hoping to gain a greater understanding of law.

Is an LLM worth it?

The LLM is a valuable degree for professionals seeking leadership roles in the global market.

Through the LLM you will develop:

  • Practical knowledge in the theories, history and use of American law
  • A strong understanding of the U.S. legal system, government, historical context and foundational values
  • Insights into how the American legal system differs from other legal systems around the world
  • Fluency with advanced legal terminology through exposure to substantive texts, cases, statutes and memoranda
  • The ability to perform legal research and analysis necessary for work in a variety of legal settings
  • An understanding of legal professionalism and ethics, and the responsibilities required of representatives of clients and officers of the court
  • Improved English language and legal writing skills

Read more about degree outcomes and career opportunities for LLM graduates.

Can I sit for the bar exam with an LLM?

Upon completion of the program on the California Bar Track, international attorneys may be eligible to sit for the California Bar Exam. USC Gould School of Law cannot determine your eligibility to sit for the California Bar exam since each applicant is reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the State Bar. We recommend verifying your eligibility prior to enrolling in one of our LLM programs.

Legal Master's Degrees

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Master's Degrees for All Professionals

Explore our flexible, legal master's programs for professionals — who do not have prior law degrees — in any field seeking to redefine or specialize their careers.

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