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. You should prepare this statement without assistance from others. The format of the statement should not exceed three double-spaced pages using a 12-point font with standard margins. We will not accept a résumé or curriculum vitae in place of the statement.
- 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 is committed to creating as diverse a class of LL.M.s as possible. Part of this commitment includes assisting some applicants with meeting a portion of their financial need, particularly those who plan to pursue careers in the fields of human rights, public interest, and public service, and those who come from areas of the world where repaying the full cost of a Columbia education will pose a significant burden on the applicant.
As part of that commitment, Columbia Law School expects that applicants will share in the cost of the LL.M. Program and, while applying for admission, be actively seeking other sources of funding for their studies. We urge applicants who will require any level of financial assistance to begin seeking independent sources of funding as soon as they start contemplating an LL.M. degree abroad.
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, and Jagdish Bhagwati Fellowship applicants. Columbia Law School 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 any of your information changes after submitting your application for financial assistance (for example, 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 mostly on the basis of need, the Law School reserves the right to reduce the amount of any financial aid it has awarded to you if other funds become available to you. The application for financial assistance is due at the time of application for admission: December 18, 2018.
If you do not submit an application for financial assistance with your application for admission, you will not be considered for financial aid, even if you request it after the application deadline. If you think you may need financial assistance, you must complete the Financial Aid section of this application. If you later decide you do not need financial assistance, you may withdraw your financial aid application by sending an email to [email protected].
- Appel, Jagdish Bhagwati, or Human Rights Fellowship 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 study abroad 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 fall 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 in a sealed institution envelope from the issuing institituion with an institution stamp or seal across the sealed flap. Additionally, if you completed a study abroad program, the transcript for this program must be sent from the school where you studied abroad, not your home university.
We strongly prefer, but do not require, 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] with a copy of your CV/résumé 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 family, friends, and prominent persons who have not taught you or supervised your work are not helpful.
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.
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 her to include an explanation as to why she is unable to do so.
In the “Recommenders” section of this application, you must also include a work email address for each recommender so we can contact her 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 she does not have one.)
If your recommenders cannot write in English, please submit certified translations together with the original letters. We reserve the right to disqualify letters written or translated, in part or whole, by the applicant.
- TOEFL Scores
All applicants except those who earned their first law degree entirely in English in an English-speaking country must take the TOEFL iBT or the paper-based TOEFL by our admission deadline (December 18, 2018). We do not accept the IELTS or any other exam in place of the TOEFL. The minimum scores required for admission are:
- TOEFL iBT: 105 overall score, with 26 on the Reading and Listening sections and 24 on the Speaking and Writing sections; or
- Paper-based TOEFL: 620 overall score, with 59/60 on the Structure/Writing and Reading sections, 60/61 on the Listening section, and 5.0 on the TWE (Test of Written English).
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, your scores must be in your CAS report 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. All score reports we receive directly from ETS will be discarded.
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, 2016 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, 2018, 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).
Waivers of the TOEFL requirement are rarely granted, and are granted at the sole discretion of the Office of Graduate Legal Studies. Therefore, 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 via email to [email protected] and should include a copy of your CV/résumé 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, 2018 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.