Students stand in a group in the lobby of Jerome Greene Hall.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Prospective LL.M. students can find answers to common questions below. 

When does the program begin? Can I start in January?
The program is a full-time, one-year program beginning in August only.

Can I do the program online?
You cannot do the LL.M. Program online. However, you may be interested in our Executive LL.M. in Global Business Law, which is taught partly online and partly in residence. 

Can I work during the LL.M. Program?
LL.M. students may not accept or continue off-campus employment during the academic year. Students who wish to work usually find part-time work on Columbia’s campus. Due to visa regulations, students on a student visa can only work on campus.

How much does the LL.M. Program cost?
The cost of the LL.M. Program varies from year to year. Total expenses for 2019–2029 can be found on the Tuition and Financial Aid page.

Does the Columbia School offer on-campus housing?
Yes. Columbia Law students are eligible for a wide range of university housing, including Law School-only buildings like Lenfest and Lionsgate and University Apartment Housing buildings from all 10 of the university's graduate and professional degree programs. Detailed housing information to admitted students is available in the spring.  

How do I get a student visa?
The International Students and Scholars Office administers immigration services for all international students. You can obtain general information on immigration procedures and requirements by visiting their website. We provide additional information on the visa application to admitted students in the spring. 

Does completing the LL.M. degree make me eligible to take a bar examination? 
Completion of the LL.M. degree in itself does not guarantee permission to take a bar examination, and many states require a J.D. degree from a U.S. law school in order to sit for the bar exam. When states, including New York, do allow foreign law graduates to sit for the bar exam, they typically require at least three years of legal study (not including the LL.M. degree). An LL.M. degree may qualify an applicant to take the bar exam in New York, as long as their coursework meets the requirements set by the New York Board of Law Examiners.

Does the LL.M. accept transfer credits?
No. The Law School does not accept transfer credits for the LL.M. Program, including credits earned in any other degree or non-degree program at Columbia. In order to obtain the LL.M. degree, you must earn 24 points of academic credit and complete the LL.M. Writing Project Requirement. 


How do I request an application fee waiver?
The $85 application fee is rarely waived. If you would like to request an application fee waiver, send a detailed email to [email protected] outlining your reasons for requesting the waiver. 

I missed the application deadline of December 18, 2020. Can I still apply for the 2021–2022 program?
No. Check back in September 2020 for the application to the 2022–2023 program. 

Do you accept late materials by mail?
No, and no exceptions will be made. Any late application materials or supporting documents we receive by mail (or email) will be discarded.

Do I need to wait for LSAC to process my transcripts, letters of recommendation, and TOEFL scores before I can submit my online application?
No. Submit your online application as soon as you have completed it. LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service (CAS) will forward a copy of these documents to us in a report that will automatically attach itself to your application. 

LSAC told me that my documents will not be processed by the December 18, 2020 deadline. Will my application still be considered? 
Yes. Our application deadline is a postmark deadline. This means that your online application must be submitted and your transcripts and letters of recommendation posted by mail to LSAC by December 18, 2020. We account for delays in processing. 

Does applying through the Early Review Program increase my chances of admission?
No. This program only guarantees a decision by late December. We encourage early applications for those who feel they have compiled their strongest possible application by November 1.  

Are applications submitted on my behalf by educational consultants or third-party advisers accepted?
You must submit all materials directly through LSAC, not through an agent or third-party vendor, with the following exceptions: 

  • The U.S. Department of State’s Fulbright Program and its three partner agencies: IIE, LASPAU, and AMIDEAST.
  • The Danish-American Fulbright Commission (DAF).
  • Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD). 

If you submit your application through one of the aforementioned organizations, you will be required to attest to the accuracy and authenticity of all information and documents.

We will not report on an applicant’s status to anyone other than the applicant.

Will Columbia confirm that my application was received?  
Yes, we will send you an email confirmation that includes a link to our online Application Status page. We will also notify you when your application is deemed complete. In order to be sensitive to all cultures and identities, we address official application correspondence to your first and last name.

Can I apply to both the LL.M. Program and the Executive LL.M. in Global Business Law Program?
In addition to the LL.M. Program, Columbia Law School offers the Executive LL.M. in Global Business Law Program.

If you wish to be considered for both the LL.M. and the Executive LL.M. in Global Business Law programs, you may apply by completing both applications separately or by completing the LL.M. Program application only. If you complete only the LL.M. Program application, you must indicate in the “Columbia Applications” section of the LL.M. Program application that you are applying to both programs and provide an additional personal statement specific to the Executive LL.M. in Global Business Law. You are only required to pay one application fee. Please note, however, that you cannot apply to the LL.M. Program through the Executive LL.M. in Global Business Law online application; you must apply to the LL.M. Program through the LL.M. Program online application.

If you apply to both programs, you may receive one admission decision before the other, as admission decisions are made independently by separate offices. If you are admitted to both, you must select one; enrollment in both degree programs is not possible.

Important Note About TOEFL Waiver Requests: If you apply to both the LL.M. and Executive LL.M. programs and are requesting a TOEFL waiver, you must request a waiver from each program’s office of admission; a single TOEFL waiver cannot be applied to both programs. 

Representatives of both the LL.M. Program and the Executive LL.M. in Global Business Law Program will be happy to speak with you to discuss your options throughout the application process.


Do LL.M. students receive financial aid?
Yes. 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. We also have resources for fellowships and scholarships. 

How do I apply for financial aid?
If you wish to be considered for financial aid, you must complete the Application for Financial Assistance section of the online LL.M. application. It contains a short series of questions about your personal finances and outside resources. If you do not complete the financial aid section of the LL.M. application, you will not be considered for financial aid, even if you request it after the application deadline.

Should I complete the financial aid portion of the application even if I am not completely sure I will need assistance?
Yes. You can always decline a loan or scholarship offer by emailing [email protected].

What information does Columbia require in the application?
Provide as much detail as possible so we can 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 (e.g., employers, scholarship organizations, family, banks).

You must answer every 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.

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.

If you do not complete this section of the application, you will not be considered for financial assistance. 

When is the Application for Financial Assistance due? 
The application is due on the same date as the full LL.M. application: December 18, 2020.

I am an international student. Am I still eligible for financial aid through Columbia Law School?
Yes. The financial aid application process is the same for all students. 

Does the fact that I am applying for financial aid affect my chances for admission?
No. All admission decisions are made separately from financial aid decisions.

I will need financial aid in order to study at Columbia Law School. Can I count on the Law School’s financial support if I am admitted?
No. Because our financial aid funds are limited, applicants who will require financial assistance to attend Columbia Law School should also seek assistance from other sources. Awards are generally in the form of partial waivers of tuition and, in some cases, loans.  Full waivers of tuition are almost never granted.

I just received a scholarship from an outside funding agency. Do I need to notify the Office of Graduate Legal Studies?
Yes. You must notify us of any funds you know you will be receiving or you anticipate receiving for your studies at Columbia. Because our financial aid funds are limited—and so that we can offer assistance to as many candidates as possible—we reserve the right to reduce our award to any student who receives outside funding. If you are awarded an outside scholarship after submitting your application for financial assistance, you must notify us within seven days of receiving the award. 


How do I apply for awards and fellowships?
Columbia Law School has a robust financial aid program to support LL.M. candidates. However, funds are limited, and we are not able to meet the needs of all admitted applicants.

Please review our fellowships and scholarships to apply for awards.


Can I schedule an interview with your office?

Because of the large volume of applications we receive, we do not include formal interviews as part of the application process. However, we encourage you to join us in one of our online information sessions to learn more about our program and hear directly from the members of our team or to attend one of our events if we visit a city near you. You are also always welcome to contact our office with your individual questions. 

For more information, including information on visiting classes, see Visit Campus.

Office of Graduate Legal Studies

We provide individual support to each LL.M. and J.S.D. student throughout every step of their Law School experience, from application to degree conferral, and we keep in close touch with our broad network of alumni.