Columbia Law School offers a robust, primarily need-based financial aid program to support LL.M. candidates. So that we may provide some form of assistance to as many students as possible, we expect applicants to share in the cost of the LL.M. Program and actively seek other sources of funding for their studies throughout the application process. This cost-sharing philosophy leads to a greater diversity of students in the LL.M. class from a geographic, practice area, and socioeconomic perspective, greatly enhancing your professional network of colleagues and your learning experience while at Columbia.
Types of Financial Aid
Columbia Law School Grants and Fellowships/Scholarships
These awards require no repayment. They also generally do not require you to undertake a specific area of research while at Columbia, apart from particular named fellowships.
- Institutional, need-based scholarships, awarded based on your financial aid application. Some of our named scholarships do not require separate applications (see “Other Named Awards” below).
- Fellowships and scholarships requiring a separate application:
These awards require full repayment with interest.
- Columbia Law School Loans
- U.S. Federal Loan Programs (U.S. citizens and permanent residents only)
- Private Loan Programs
External Sources of Funding
Sources of funding that applicants find on their own, typically through their home countries.
More on Financial Aid
Applicants who complete both the LL.M. Program application and its Application for Financial Assistance will be automatically considered for all fellowships described below. Please note: No separate application is required.
Created by global international arbitration firm Three Crowns, the scholarship is dedicated to LL.M. students interested in a career in international arbitration.
The Appel Research Scholarship
The Appel Research Scholarship was established in 2001 by Mark Appel. The Appel Research Scholar receives a $1,000 grant for each academic semester in which they engage in supervised research on behalf of a Columbia faculty member on a topic that relates to regulatory or policy issues emerging from the trans-boundary operations of multinational (or transnational) enterprises.
Baker McKenzie Scholarship
Established in 2015, the scholarship awards $50,000 to a Columbia Law School LL.M. student who demonstrates academic success and a need for significant financial aid. Priority is given to students who are citizens or nationals of countries in Africa, Latin America, Asia, or Eastern Europe.
Burton Memorial Fellowship
This annual fellowship was established in 1968 by friends of the late Robert J. Burton Law ’37, who was president of Broadcast Music, Inc. It provides a stipend (commensurate with need) to graduate students for study and research on copyright or other laws affecting music, art, and literature; other products of the mind; or laws affecting communications.
Charles B. Bretzfelder Constitutional Law Scholarship Fund
Established in 1980 by Helen Bretzfelder in memory of her father, Charles B. Bretzfelder, this scholarship fund is for J.D. candidates and graduate students specializing in or doing exceptional work in constitutional law. The selection is determined by scholarship and financial need.
Charles B. Bretzfelder International Law Scholarship Fund
Established in 1980 by Helen Bretzfelder in memory of her father, Charles B. Bretzfelder, this scholarship fund is for J.D. candidates and graduate students specializing in or doing exceptional work in international law. The selection is determined by scholarship and financial need.
Catherine N. Niarchos Human Rights LL.M. Scholarship
This scholarship was established in 2015 by Mary Anne Niarchos in memory of her sister, Catherine N. Niarchos ’94 LL.M. The scholarship supports LL.M. students who have experience in international human rights and a demonstrated commitment to a career in the field.
Chamberlain Fellowship in Legislation
This fellowship was established in 1953 by Thomas I. Parkinson in honor of Joseph Perkins Chamberlain Ph.D. ’23, LAW ’29, a member of the Faculty of Law from 1927 to 1950 and director of the Legislative Drafting Research Fund from 1919 to 1951. The fellowship is for study and research in the legislative development of the law and is awarded annually under regulations made by the Faculty of Law.
The program of a Chamberlain Fellow is subject to approval by the director of the Legislative Drafting Research Fund and will normally be executed in connection with the work of that office. Fellows are appointed upon nomination made by the director of the fund. The fellowship is open to LL.M. applicants, third-year J.D. students, alumni of Columbia Law School, graduates of other schools of law, and other qualified persons. The recipient does not have to be a candidate for a graduate degree.
Fubon Fellowship Fund
This fund was established in 2005 by Fubon Financial to provide fellowships to LL.M. students, with a preference for students from greater China.
The Jack J.T. Huang Scholarship
Established in 2007 by Jack J.T. Huang Esq., the scholarship provides financial aid to LL.M. students who are residents of greater China, with a preference given to students who are residents of Taiwan.
José Francisco Gouvêa Vieira Scholarship
Established in 2013, the Gouvêa Vieira Scholarship provides financial assistance to students who are residents of Latin America, preferably Brazil, with excellent academic credentials and demonstrated financial need.
Joseph V. Heffernan Fellowship
This fellowship was established in 1980 by Marion and Joseph V. Heffernan ’35. Only students enrolled in the Graduate Legal Studies Program are eligible.
The Judith R. and Michael E. Thoyer Scholarship
Established in 2008 by Judith Reinhardt Thoyer ’65 and Michael E. Thoyer '63 LL.M., the Thoyer Scholarship provides financial assistance to LL.M. students who are citizens or residents of Sub-Saharan African nations and have outstanding academic credentials and demonstrated financial need.
Julius Silver Fellowship in Law, Science, and Technology
Established in 1984 by Julius Silver ’24, a leading attorney, corporate executive, and philanthropist, the Silver Fellowship provides support for graduate students studying legal issues involved in law, science, health care, and technology.
Lawrence A. Wien Prize and Fellowship in Corporate Social Responsibility
Established in 1981 by Lawrence A. Wien ’27, the Wien Program is jointly administered by the School of Law and Columbia Business School. The program awards an annual prize to recognize corporations, professional associations, nonprofit organizations, or educational institutions that contribute to the well-being of society at the national or local level through enlightened philanthropic policies. Contributions must be sustained over time and expressed both by financial generosity and non-material support patterns, which include long-range planning and evaluation of philanthropic endeavors, innovative approaches to corporate giving, and the encouragement of participation by employees and other organizations.
Several fellowships, named each year in honor of the recipient of the Wien Prize, are provided annually to outstanding law and business students whose scholarly and professional activities demonstrate their involvement in questions of the responsibility of business to social concerns such as the arts, energy and the environment, and social services.
The Lucius N. Littauer Foundation Grant to the Center for Israeli Legal Studies
Established in 2007 by the Lucius N. Littauer Foundation, under the direction of President William Lee Frost and in cooperation with Noah B. Perlman ’97 and Robert D. Frost, the Littauer Fund supports graduate students and scholars from Israel.
Established in 1924 by Newbold Morris 1891 in memory of his father, Augustus Newbold Morris CC 1860, LAW 1864, the fellowship is awarded to a student of public or private law who may be a candidate for the J.S.D. degree.
The Norman E. Alexander Scholarship
The Norman E. Alexander Scholarship was established in 2008 by a bequest of Norman E. Alexander ’36. Mr. Alexander died in 2006 at the age of 92. At the time of his death, he was chairman of the board of Sequa Corporation, the company he founded and led for more than 50 years. One of the longest-tenured chief executives in American industrial history, Alexander relinquished the title and responsibilities of the chief executive officer in 2005 and became executive chairman, a post he held until his death.
The Alexander Scholarship is awarded each year to Columbia Law School students with outstanding credentials, with a preference for students who are residents of Israel.
Raymond J. Baer Scholarship
Established in 2016 by Raymond J. Baer ’86 LL.M., the scholarship provides financial support for three candidates for the LL.M. degree who have demonstrated strong academic credentials and potential for contribution in their areas of interest.
The Smith Family Opportunity Scholarship
Established in 2004 by Kathy Surace-Smith ’84 and Bradford L. Smith ’84, the scholarship is awarded annually to J.D. and LL.M. students, with a preference for students from countries that are underrepresented at the Law School.
W. Bayard Cutting Jr. Fellowship
This fellowship was established in 1912 by W. Bayard Cutting 1871 in memory of his son, W. Bayard Cutting Jr. ’04, to support study in the field of international law.
Wolfgang G. Friedmann Memorial Fellowship
This fellowship was established in 1976 by friends and colleagues in memory of Wolfgang G. Friedmann, Professor of International Law and Director of International Legal Research at Columbia. The fellowship is awarded to students from foreign countries for the study of international law at Columbia, or to law school graduates for study abroad at institutions stressing transnational law.
Columbia Law School has three types of loan programs for incoming LL.M. students:
- Columbia Law School Loans
- U.S. Federal Loan Programs (for U.S. citizens and permanent residents only)
- Private Loan Programs
To learn more about any of these loan options, visit the Law School Financial Aid Office’s website or contact the office at [email protected] or 212-854-7730.
Note about loan fees: For students borrowing federal student loans, the average educational loan fees for borrowers at Columbia Law School will automatically be added to the cost of attendance at the time of loan certification. Based on an assessment of Law School borrowing during the 2018–2019 academic year, the average educational loan fees amount to $2,386 ($216 for Stafford loans and $2,170 for Graduate PLUS loans).
While Columbia Law School has a robust financial aid program to support LL.M. candidates, it cannot meet the financial needs of all students. In line with our cost-sharing, primarily need-based philosophy regarding financial aid, prospective applicants should seek other sources of funding as early as possible.
The following foundations have been cited by former LL.M. and J.S.D. students as helpful in their search. Many require an application well in advance of your intended start date for graduate study (some up to 18 months), so you should make inquiries immediately.
A list of further sources, while by no means exhaustive, is available through LL.M. Guide.
American Association of University Women
Since 1881, the American Association of University Women (AAUW) has been the nation’s leading voice promoting education and equity for women and girls and positive societal change. One of the world’s largest sources of funding exclusively for graduate women, the AAUW Educational Foundation supports aspiring scholars around the globe, teachers and activists in local communities, women at critical stages of their careers, and those pursuing professions where women are underrepresented.
The American-Scandinavian Foundation
The American-Scandinavian Foundation (ASF) offers more than $500,000 in funding to Scandinavians to undertake study or research programs (usually at the graduate level) in the United States for up to one year. Awards are made in all fields. Candidates for awards are recommended to the ASF by their cooperating organizations:
- The Denmark-America Foundation
- The League of Finnish-American Societies
- The Icelandic-American Society
- The Norway-America Association
- The Sweden-America Foundation
Banking and Financial Services Law Assocation (Australia and New Zealand)
Established in 1983, the Banking and Financial Services Law Association (BFSLA) has become the leading organization for banking and financial services and insolvency law in Australia and New Zealand. Each year, the BFSLA offers a scholarship of up to 50,000 Australian dollars to Australian and New Zealand citizens and permanent residents for postgraduate study in banking and financial services law (or related fields) at leading universities overseas.
Foundation for the Future of Colombia (COLFUTURO) (Colombia)
The Foundation for the Future of Colombia is a Colombian nonprofit foundation established in 1991 with the support of the national government and some of the most important private sector companies in the country at the time. It provides financial support to Colombian citizens to help them access high-quality postgraduate study programs abroad.
Ethel Benjamin Scholarship (New Zealand)
In 1997, the trustees of the New Zealand Law Foundation unanimously decided to mark the centenary of the admission of Ethel Benjamin as the first woman barrister and solicitor by establishing this scholarship as a merit-based award to outstanding women scholars who are citizens or permanent residents of New Zealand.
The Foundation Center
An independent nonprofit information clearinghouse established in 1956, the center is an excellent source of information on grants. The center’s mission is to foster public understanding of the foundation by collecting, organizing, analyzing, and disseminating information on foundations, corporate giving, and related subjects.
Fulbright grants are administered by the Institute of International Education and typically require an application up to a year in advance of the LL.M. application.
Fundação Estudar (Brazil)
Fundação Estudar is a merit-based scholarship program for Brazilian students that also provides career development and networking programs for its scholars, both during and after their academic experiences. Brazilian students already accepted to leading undergraduate and MBA, M.A., MSc, LL.M., M.P.A., and M.P.P. programs who demonstrate great intellectual and professional potential, leadership spirit, entrepreneurial drive, and commitment to Brazil are eligible to apply.
Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation (India)
The Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation was created in 1976. Its major objective is to identify exceptionally talented young Indian students and support the development of their skills and talents by awarding scholarships for postgraduate study/research abroad.
Instituto Ling (Brazil)
Instituto Ling provides scholarships for Brazilian students admitted to an LL.M. program in the United States.
The J.N. Tata Endowment for the Higher Education of Indians
The J.N. Tata Endowment was set up in 1892 by the founder of the Tata group, Jamsetji N. Tata, to encourage young people to take up higher studies at leading universities around the world. For more than a century, the endowment has helped scholars of merit realize their dreams of a world-class education through its loan scholarship program. Scholarships are awarded for higher studies abroad in all disciplines and subjects. The endowment selects approximately 120 scholarship recipients annually through a rigorous selection process. Over the years, several J.N. Tata scholars have distinguished themselves in various walks of life. While the endowment awards only loan scholarships, the selected scholars may also qualify for a gift award.
Margaret McNamara Memorial Fund (MMMF)
The Margaret McNamara Memorial Fund was established in 1981 to honor the late Margaret McNamara and her commitment to the well-being of women and children in developing countries. The grant strives to support the education of women from developing countries who are dedicated to improving the lives of women and children in their home countries.
Organization of American States
The Inter-American Agency for Cooperation and Development of the Organization of American States (OAS) administers one of the hemisphere’s largest multinational fellowships and training programs. Every year, the agency provides several hundred fellowships for graduate studies and research at educational institutions and training centers in OAS member and observer states.
In addition, the Leo S. Rowe Pan American Fund, a student loan program of the OAS, awards educational loans to qualified persons from Latin American and Caribbean countries to help them finance their higher education studies in the United States. These loans are made on the understanding that when the recipients have completed their studies, they will return to their respective home countries to promote development there.
P.E.O. International Peace Scholarship
P.E.O. (Philanthropic Educational Organization) was founded in January 1869 by seven students at Iowa Wesleyan College. P.E.O. exists to be a source of encouragement and support for women to realize their potential in whatever worthwhile endeavor they choose. True to the mission of promoting educational opportunities for women, education continues to be the primary philanthropy of the P.E.O. Sisterhood. The P.E.O. International Peace Scholarship Fund was established in 1949 to provide scholarships for international women students to pursue graduate study in the United States and Canada.
P.J.C. Lindfors Legal Studies Fund (Finland)
The P.J.C. Lindfors Legal Studies Fund is administered by Finlandia Foundation National, the premier network of Finnish-American organizations in the United States. The scholarship was established by Pertti Lindfors, a Finnish-american attorney in San Francisco, California, to encourage cross-cultural study and understanding by law students in Finland and the United States.
Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarships
The Ambassadorial Scholarships, the Rotary Foundation’s oldest and best-known program, was founded in 1947. Since then, nearly 38,000 men and women from about 100 nations have studied abroad under its auspices. The purpose of the Ambassadorial Scholarships program is to further international understanding and friendly relations among people of different countries and geographical areas. The program sponsors several types of scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students as well as for qualified professionals pursuing vocational studies. While abroad, scholars serve as goodwill ambassadors to the host country and give presentations about their homelands to Rotary clubs and other groups. Upon returning home, scholars share with Rotarians and others the experiences that led to a greater understanding of their host country.
Institute of International Education’s Scholar Rescue Fund’s Scholar Rescue Fund (SRF)
The Scholar Rescue Fund provides fellowship grants for scholars whose lives or careers are threatened in their home countries. The fellowships support temporary academic positions at universities, colleges, and other higher learning institutions in safe locations anywhere in the world. Fellowship periods of up to one calendar year are designed to help scholars to continue their important work pending improvement in conditions allowing their safe return home.
William Georgetti Scholarship (New Zealand)
The William Georgetti Scholarship encourages postgraduate study and research, normally in New Zealand, in a field that—in the opinion of the Scholarship Board—is important to the social, cultural, or economic development of New Zealand.
Yvonne A M Smith Scholarship (New Zealand)
The Yvonne A M Smith Charitable Trust funds an annual scholarship for the advancement of the education of women graduates who wish to pursue master’s or doctoral studies. Preference is given to the subject areas of political studies, economics, business, and law, as well as to candidates who demonstrate potential for leadership and a desire for the promotion of women in decision-making roles.