About the Program
Our LL.M. program is designed for foreign lawyers who wish to advance their legal education by deepening their knowledge of U.S. law and legal systems.
The LL.M. program is limited to students who have:
- obtained an LL.B. from a foreign country; or
- completed in a foreign country the university-based legal education required to take the equivalent of the bar examination in that foreign country; or
- qualified to practice law in a foreign country; or
- the equivalent thereof as determined by the LL.M. Admissions Committee.
As long as you will have completed your degree by the time you would begin your LL.M. studies at Ohio State, you may be considered for admission. You must submit academic records of all coursework completed at the time you apply. If admitted, you will be required to submit final transcripts and a degree certificate, showing that your degree was awarded, before starting your first semester at the Moritz College of Law.
The LL.M. class is purposely designed to be a moderate size – approximately 30-35 students, allowing us to provide exceptional support services and personal attention, as well as individualized course and career counseling.
We offer a general LL.M. as well as a custom LL.M. designed to allow students to choose courses to meet their interests. Students interested in a specialization can earn a concentration certificate in one of the following areas (at least 12 credit hours required):
Students who are U.S. permanent residents, living in the Columbus area, may attend the program part-time over a two-year period. Students attending on an F-1 or J-1 visa must complete the program within one year. The Moritz LL.M. program cannot be completed as a distance learning program.
Most students begin the program in August and complete the full-time degree in May the following year. It is possible to begin the program in January and graduate the following December. Students who begin in January will take the two required courses for LL.M. students in the fall semester.
The mandatory LL.M. orientation is typically the week before Fall classes start. Fall semester classes begin at the end of August and the Spring semester ends around the middle of May. Check the most current Moritz College of Law Academic Calendar here for specific dates.
Yes, our LL.M. program offers a 3-semester option for international students. Incoming LL.M. students are eligible to enroll in the 3-semester option at the beginning of their admissions process or during the first semester of the 2-semester program. If a student plans on enrolling in the 3-semester option, they will have to complete at least 30 credits of courses (3 semesters of 10 credits per semester for full-time status) to complete their degree. The student will receive the same LL.M. degree as a student who is enrolled in the 2-semester option, even though the 2-semester option only requires 24 credits. Additionally, the cost of the LL.M. for the 3-semester option is greater than the 2-semester option. You will still be charged for the full-time course load each of the 3 semesters.
Applications become available on September 15. The deadline for submitting all application materials is April 15. Those applying by November 1 will receive priority review and a decision by December 1. Those who apply by February 1 will receive priority consideration for scholarships.
The Moritz College of Law makes admission decisions on a rolling basis, until seats in the class are filled. We encourage students to apply early, to allow adequate time for document preparation and visa processing.
We commit to having a decision within six to eight weeks; however, most decisions are made in a shorter timeframe.
Any student who applies to start the LL.M. program as of Fall 2015 will be eligible to apply to transfer from the LL.M. program to the J.D. program at The Moritz College of Law without taking the LSAT. The program will be very competitive, but students who are admitted will be able to transfer all of the credits where they receive a B grade or above to the J.D. program (except the two mandatory LL.M. courses: U.S. legal systems and LL.M. Legal writing). We welcome all of our LL.M. students to consider applying for the transfer program during the Fall semester of their LL.M. program here at Moritz.
One-year deferrals are granted on a case-by-case basis.
Full instructions are found on our Application Instructions page.
Students must complete 24 credit hours to graduate.
Students may take up to 30 credit hours with permission from the assistant dean for international and graduate affairs.
Writing a thesis is not required, and most students choose instead to take additional courses, often concentrating courses in a field of particular interest.
Each student meets in early summer via Skype with the assistant dean for international and graduate affairs to design his/her individual schedule. They will work together to ensure that courses planned will provide both a broad introduction to U.S. law and legal theory, as well as advanced training in specialized areas of the law that are relevant to the student’s planned career and interests.
Students may enroll in both first-year and upper-class courses, including two of the clinics (mediation and legislation), as well as in the public externship program.
There are two: U.S. Legal Systems and Legal Traditions; and LL.M. Legal Analysis, Research, and Writing.
You may view course offerings here.
Moritz does not accept transfer credits in the LL.M. program. Students currently in another LL.M. program may apply to the Moritz LL.M. program, but must take the required 24 credits to graduate.
Program Costs and Living Expenses
Estimated costs of the program are listed under Tuition and Fees. Tuition has risen in recent years and applicants should expect a slight increase every year. Note that applicants who have resided for a significant period of time in the state of Ohio may qualify for in state tuition, please read more here.
Please plan for additional costs for the school year for the purchase of books and supplies, health insurance, housing and food, and other miscellaneous expenses. Please see estimated costs for each of these items under Tuition and Fees. If accepted, students must show the ability to pay for both tuition and these estimated expenses (please see Visa & Immigration section below).
Tuition is assessed and paid by semester. Tuition and fees are due one week before the start of classes. Information on payment methods can be found here. Please visit the Bursar’s website for information on TOPP, the tuition option payment plan.
Yes! The Scholarship for the Americas, Scholarship for Africa, Scholarship for Europe, and Scholarship for Southeast Asia each provide applicants with a 40% tuition waiver. The China Excellence Scholarship provides two applicants from China with a 50% tuition waiver. The Moritz LL.M. Scholarship is open to applicants regardless of the country where their law degree was achieved, and awards up to $18,000. Priority consideration is given to those who submit complete applications by February 1. You can learn more at our Scholarships page.
U.S. citizens and permanent residents may apply for federal financial aid. Foreign students attending on an F-1 or J-1 visa do not qualify for federal financial aid. You can learn more here.
U.S. citizens or permanent residents may qualify for reduced tuition if they are Ohio residents. Follow the step-by-step instructions listed here to determine if you meet the criteria.
All Ohio State students are required to purchase Ohio State Student Health Insurance and are automatically enrolled in the Comprehensive Plan which includes medical, prescription, dental, and vision coverage. Very few exceptions are made to this policy. If you receive health insurance through a government sponsorship, or believe that you may be exempt from this requirement, you will need to complete a waiver request form. Learn more about this requirement here.
Applicants who wish to improve their English skills before beginning the LL.M. program can attend Ohio State’s excellent American Language Program (ALP). ALP offers three 12-week terms: autumn, spring and summer, with nine levels of instruction. You can also opt for an intensive seven-week summer course. See here for dates.
Bar Exam Information
Each state sets its own standards for admission of attorneys. The American Bar Association provides a list of each state’s bar admissions offices and a Comprehensive Guide for Bar Admissions. Review the requirements for any state in which you might want to practice and then contact the Board of Legal Examiners in that state.
Many of our LL.M. graduates have sat for various bar exams including the New York Bar exam and the Ohio Bar exam. The New York State Board of Law Examiners lists the relevant requirements here. The Supreme Court of Ohio Office of Bar Admissions lists the guidelines for requesting an evaluation of education here.
Incoming LL.M. students planning to take a U.S. bar exam should submit a request for an evaluation as early as possible to the relevant state Board of Legal Examiners.
Available bar exam resources located at the Moritz Library can be found here.
Visa & Immigration
International students at The Ohio State University are subject to U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations. Prospective non-immigrant students applying to enter this institution from abroad, or who are already in the U.S., are personally responsible for complying with DHS regulations. For questions on getting a visa, students should rely on information from Ohio State’s Office of International Affairs (OIA).
After you have been recommended for admission to the Moritz LL.M. program, you must complete steps to receive official admission from the university. The first step is for the university’s Professional Admissions Office to review your financial documents, to assure your ability to pay tuition and living expenses. If your documents are complete and the funds adequate, they will generate an official notice of admission and your I-20, which will be sent to you by courier. You can then use the I-20 to secure your visa.
The Ohio State University recently updated the vaccination requirements for all incoming students. All new students attending the Columbus campus, both international and domestic, must comply with these requirements. Details can be viewed here (refer to Component C: New International Student).
Training in American law and legal institutions will aid international lawyers involved in an increasingly global legal and economic market, particularly in arranging international transactions. The training offered in the legal reasoning process employed in American law, unfamiliar to lawyers outside the United States without such academic training or experience, will broaden career opportunities for LL.M. graduates. This degree is an important and widely recognized credential for professional advancement throughout the legal world.
Yes, however, the LL.M. program is full-time and rigorous. Students should be cautious before over-committing themselves with additional work of more than 10 hours per week.
Students with F-1 visas may apply for OPT (optional practical training) to work up to one year in the U.S. in a field related to their studies.
Most employers who recruit at the Moritz College of Law are primarily interested in interviewing students in the J.D. program. LL.M. students are eligible to interview only with employers who request LL.M. students.
Foreign-trained LL.M. students are encouraged to pursue graduate study at Ohio State for intellectual growth, exposure to the U.S. legal system, and career advancement. Long-term job opportunities for foreign attorneys in the U.S. are limited and job search, therefore, is a year round effort. Most frequently reported sources of employment are self-initiated contact with employers.
The staff of the International and Graduate Affairs program offers assistance to LL.M. students with their job search strategies. This includes resume and cover letter guidance, networking, and interviewing skills. Students must be proactive in their job search and begin early. Program staff can offer advice on how to proceed.
Living in Columbus
Columbus is just as dynamic as its coastal counterparts, with a vibrant arts, food and music sensibility. Home to many immigrants, and to one of the largest public universities in the country, Columbus is also diverse. What distinguishes us is a blend of sophistication and sincere friendliness, which we believe is our greatest asset. Learn more about this fun and affordable city here.
Ohio State has limited on-campus housing for graduate and professional students; the residence halls are a short walk from the Moritz College at Drinko Hall. The LL.M. Program Office provides a housing resource guide with suggestions for apartments off-campus.
Transportation is easier with a car. However, most students do not buy a car and manage fine without one. Ohio State students may ride on the city buses at no charge with their student ID card.
Many LL.M. students have brought young children with them to Columbus and have been very pleased with the local childcare options. Attendance at a particular school is determined by residence, so you should plan to investigate schools in tandem with researching apartments; the LL.M. program staff can help with this. There are many activities available for families, including public parks and pools, weekend activities, the Columbus Zoo, and the excellent Center for Science and Industry (COSI). Families are often included in our program outings, because they are an important part of the Moritz family as well.
You are welcome to contact us directly with any questions you may have:
International and Graduate Affairs Office
Moritz College of Law
The Ohio State University
55 W. 12th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210 USA