All application components must be submitted electronically through this online application and LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service (CAS). We urge you to familiarize yourself with LSAC's requirements for the submission of official documents through the Credential Assembly Service, including the length of time they estimate for processing those documents.
We will not accept any application materials by mail should you miss a deadline with LSAC. No exceptions will be made. Any application materials or supporting documents we receive by mail (or email) will be discarded.
You must submit an application fee of $85 (USD) with your application. This fee is nonrefundable and will not be credited against your tuition. The fee must be paid by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover) before you can submit your application online through LSAC.
Components Submitted Online through LSAC
- Personal Statement
Your Personal Statement should describe your background, academic interests, the program of study you wish to follow, and your reasons for doing so. As you are also submitting a résumé or curriculum vitae, your Personal Statement should not simply be a restatement of the information contained therein. You should prepare this statement without assistance from others. The Personal Statement must be double-spaced using a 12-point font with standard margins, and should not exceed three pages.
- Résumé or Curriculum Vitae
You must submit a résumé or curriculum vitae for consideration as part of your application.
- Application for Financial Assistance (Optional)
Columbia Law School has a robust financial aid program to support LL.M. candidates. We award financial assistance primarily on the basis of financial need, and the majority of our financial aid is designated for applicants for whom repaying the full cost of the program would pose a significant financial burden. At the same time, our funds are limited and we are not able to meet the need of all admitted applicants. As such, we expect that applicants will share in the cost of the LL.M. Program and will actively seek other sources of funding for their studies throughout the application process. We urge applicants who will require any level of financial assistance to begin seeking independent sources of funding as soon as they begin contemplating an LL.M. degree abroad, as some external sources of funding (such as Fulbright) may require you to apply up to a year in advance of applying to an LL.M. program.
Financial assistance at Columbia, when awarded, may consist of the following: partial waivers of tuition; institutional loans; or a combination of the two. We rarely grant full waivers of tuition; additionally, and only in exceptional circumstances within the scheme of some of our named fellowships (i.e., Human Rights Fellowship), we are occasionally able to offer a living stipend as well to help offset the costs associated with living in New York. To help you better complete the Columbia Law School Application for Financial Assistance, an optional section within the LL.M. application, please carefully consider the following questions beforehand:
Who should complete this application for financial assistance?
▪ Any applicant who anticipates needing financial aid. If you are not sure whether you will need aid, complete the application (you can always decline a loan or scholarship offer).
▪ Human Rights, Appel, Jagdish Bhagwati Fellowship, and Center for Public Research and Leadership (CPRL) Lemann Scholar Award applicants. We will not consider your application for these fellowships without an accompanying Application for Financial Assistance.
What information does Columbia require on this application for financial assistance?
▪ Provide as much detail as possible on the Application for Financial Assistance so that we may best assess your ability to finance your Columbia education.
▪ Include any financial resources from persons or other entities who have offered to help support your studies (i.e., employers, scholarship organizations, family, banks).
▪ You must answer each question on this application. If the question is not applicable to you, please respond with “Not Applicable” or “N/A”. Applications that are only partially completed may not be considered.
If you do not complete this section of the application, you will not be considered for financial assistance. No exceptions will be made.
If any of your information changes after submission (i.e., you receive a scholarship from an outside organization), you must notify the Office of Graduate Legal Studies within seven (7) days of receipt of such award. Since Columbia Law School offers financial assistance primarily on the basis of need, we reserve the right to reduce the amount of any financial aid awarded to you if you receive other funding.
For any answers that require a dollar amount to be entered, enter the amount of money available to you (or that you anticipate will be available to you) in the appropriate boxes in U.S. dollars (excluding decimal places or punctuation). For example, two thousand dollars should be entered as 2000 (not 2,000 or 2.000). If you have no money available in a specific category, enter 0.
The application for financial assistance is due at the time of application for admission: December 18, 2019.
- Appel, Jagdish Bhagwati, Human Rights Fellowship, or Center for Public Research and Leadership (CPRL) Award Essays (Optional)
If you are applying for one of these fellowships, upload your essay to the Attachments section of this application. If you submit a fellowship essay, you must also complete the Financial Aid section of this application in its entirety. Only successful applicants will be notified.
- Transcripts and Diplomas
Submit an official transcript and, where applicable, a diploma or proof of degree from all postsecondary (university-level) institutions you have attended, whether or not you earned a degree. This includes foreign exchange programs, non-law programs, and programs or courses in which you are currently enrolled. If you are unable to submit original documents to LSAC, you may submit certified copies. If the originals are not in English, you must submit an official, certified translation of each document in addition to the original document (although LSAC accepts translations completed by the applicant, Columbia Law School does not). If you are in school at the time you submit your application, submit your most recent transcript, and send an updated transcript to LSAC once your current semester grades are available.
Important: Follow LSAC's instructions for submission of transcripts and diplomas as stated on the LSAC website. LSAC requires all transcripts to be sent from the issuing institution with an institution stamp across the sealed flap. Additionally, if you completed a foreign exchange program, the transcript for that program must be sent from the school where you studied, not your home university.
We strongly prefer the International Transcript Authentication and Evaluation Service in addition to the basic CAS service.
- Statement of Rank
If your official transcripts for your first law degree do not include your class rank, you must include a separate statement of rank issued by your University. If your University does not provide official class rankings, you must include a statement from your University that students are not provided with an official class rank upon graduation. Either statement should be sent to LSAC and included in your official CAS report. If your school refuses to issue a statement that they do not rank candidates, please email [email protected] prior to submitting your application.
- Letters of Recommendation
We require two original letters of recommendation from your law school professors, employers, supervisors, or other persons qualified to appraise your academic potential for graduate legal studies. One letter should come from a law school professor and one letter should come from a work supervisor. Letters from prominent persons who have not taught you or supervised your work are not helpful; letters from family members and personal/friend references are not permitted.
Your recommenders must submit their letters of recommendation directly to LSAC. They may do so either electronically via LSAC’s Electronic Recommendation system (also called E-LORs) or by mail. If your recommender uses the E-LOR system, be sure they include a work e-mail address and contact information in their letter, so we may contact them if we have questions about the letter or to verify its authenticity. If your recommender sends the letter by mail, it must be written on official letterhead and addressed to the Office of Graduate Legal Studies. If your recommender is unable to print the letter on official letterhead, ask them to include an explanation as to why they are unable to do so. Recommenders are encouraged to include the following in their letters:
♦ their relationship to you, the applicant;
♦ the duration of your relationship; and
♦ as many specifics regarding your experience as possible (for example, a former instructor might name the course that you took with him/her, your performance in the class, your ranking against other students taught, etc.).
If your recommenders are not comfortable or cannot write in English, please submit certified translations together with the original letters. The strongest letter of recommendation is one written in the language in which the recommender is most comfortable. We reserve the right to disqualify letters written or translated, in part or whole, by the applicant.
In the “Recommenders” section of this application, you must also include a work email address for each recommender so we can contact them should we have questions about the letter or your candidacy. (Please note that we cannot accept generic email addresses such as Gmail, Yahoo!, or Hotmail addresses for recommenders. If you submit a generic email address, we will request that you submit an official work email address before the Committee will review your application. If your recommender does not have an official work email address, you must explain on the online application why they do not have one.)
Please do not submit more than two letters. Part of compiling a strong application for admission is determining which two recommenders are best able to evaluate your ability to pursue and succeed in graduate legal studies. In very rare circumstances, applicants may feel they have a compelling reason to submit an additional letter of recommendation. If you feel you fall into this category and would like to submit a third letter, your reasons should be obvious to the Admissions Committee and you should give a detailed explanation in the "Additional Recommenders" section of this application. Nevertheless, your application will be considered complete once two letters have been submitted through the Credential Assembly Service.
- TOEFL Scores
All applicants except those who earned their first law degree entirely in English in an English-speaking country must take the TOEFL by our admission deadline (December 18, 2019). The minimum scores required for admission are:
- TOEFL iBT: 105 overall score, with a minimum of 26 in the Reading and Listening sections and 24 in the Speaking and Writing sections; or:
- Paper-based TOEFL: 620 overall score, with 59/60 in the Structure/Writing and Reading sections, 60/61 in the Listening section, and 5.0 on the TWE (Test of Written English).
- MyBest Scores: Columbia Law School’s LL.M. Program does NOT accept MyBest Scores from TOEFL. You must submit your overall and section scores from each individual test administration that you have taken within the last two years.
We do not accept the IELTS or any other exam in place of the TOEFL.
If your scores fall below these levels, your chances of admission could be adversely impacted even if other factors in your application are strong. You must decide whether to repeat the test based on how far below these scores your results fall; we cannot make this decision for you.
If you are applying for Early Review, you must take the TOEFL by November 1 (and preferably at least a month beforehand to allow time for your scores to arrive at LSAC). Otherwise, you should register for and take the TOEFL by the December 18 deadline. We will not accept scores sent directly to us from ETS; you must submit them to LSAC for inclusion in your CAS report.
TOEFL scores are valid for a maximum of two years from our application deadline (so you must have taken the TOEFL exam on or after December 18, 2018 for the scores to be considered in this application cycle). If your scores are lower than our minimum requirements, and you decide to retake the TOEFL after December 18, 2020, we cannot guarantee that the Committee will consider your late scores (and any additional scores or scores submitted after the deadline must still be submitted through LSAC).
If you earned your first law degree entirely in English in an English speaking country, you do not need to request a TOEFL waiver. Waivers of the TOEFL requirement are rarely granted, and are granted at the sole discretion of the Admissions Committee. If you are planning to request a waiver, you should assume the request will be denied and make arrangements to take the test by the application deadline. Requests for waivers on the grounds that you have run out of time to take the exam or work primarily in the English language will not be granted. TOEFL waivers are generally only granted for applicants who demonstrate an advanced proficiency in English (because they grew up with English as their native language or completed an undergraduate degree entirely in English). Waivers are never granted for applicants who are unable to achieve the minimum TOEFL score or who are requesting a conditional offer of admission.
Waiver requests should be sent to [email protected] and should include a copy of your résumé / CV and a detailed description of why you think you qualify for a waiver. If you have ever previously taken the TOEFL, you should also include your prior TOEFL score(s) and the date(s) taken. If you are granted a waiver, you must upload your waiver approval email to the “Attachments” section of this application. Waiver requests sent after December 18, 2020 will be automatically denied.
Once submitted, all application materials become the property of LSAC and/or the Office of Graduate Legal Studies and as such will not be returned to you under any circumstances.