Explore a legal education that opens doors to a world of possibilities

Iowa Law’s LLM program is a distinctive opportunity that stands as a testament to your expertise in the U.S. legal system and proficiency in English. This one-year program not only equips you with a valuable graduate degree in law but also positions you to work with U.S. attorneys at a professional level.

Why choose the LLM program at Iowa Law?

  • Immerse yourself in a top-ranked law faculty where professors delve into cutting-edge legal developments.
  • Experience the benefits of a small program, fostering close interactions between faculty and students.
  • Tailor your focus, choosing between practical training for bar admission or in-depth research to enhance understanding in a specific area of law.
  • Engage in most courses alongside JD students, ensuring a comprehensive learning experience.
  • Be part of a major research university with a tradition of interdisciplinary work and academic excellence within the College of Law.
  • Explore opportunities with the Iowa Innovation, Business, and Law Center and the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights.
  • Utilize special facilities dedicated to foreign and international work, including one of the largest law libraries in the country.
  • Access support from the renowned Writing Resource Center within the College of Law.
  • Receive ESL assistance to enhance language skills.
  • Benefit from affordable tuition and living costs priced below peer institutions.

LLM Tracks

Practical Training and Path to Bar Admission (Legal Practice Track): This track is open to foreign-trained lawyers who do not have a JD from a law school that is a member of the Association of American Law Schools or approved by the American Bar Association and are interested in qualifying to take a bar examination.

The Legal Practice Track requires the LLM Orientation courses that provide an introduction to US law for foreign-trained lawyers; Legal Analysis, Writing  and Research; Professional Responsibility; and at least two more courses selected from core courses tested on the bar exam, including, for example, Contracts, Property, and Torts from the first-year JD curriculum and many public and private law courses from the second- and third-year JD curriculum. LLM students may choose the rest of their courses from the large variety of regularly offered JD courses. Students work with Iowa Law advisors to tailor each of their programs to meet the bar requirements of the states in which they are interested. Students in the practice track may complete an LLM seminar paper should they choose.

For more information, see Important Information for Foreign-Educated Applicants to the New York Bar.

In-depth Research Path (Research Track): This track is open to both foreign-trained lawyers and students holding a JD from a law school that is a member of the Association of American Law Schools or approved by the American Bar Association who seek to enter into an academic career or one involving primarily policy formulation or research, or who may wish to apply later to do doctoral work in the U.S. 

For students interested in research, the Iowa LLM provides a setting that encourages close collaboration with renowned experts in such fields as international and comparative law, anti-competition law, intellectual property, law and economics, law and society, law of war and peace and international criminal law, human rights, and international arbitration.

LLM students without a JD from a law school that is a member of the Association of American Law Schools or approved by the American Bar Association must take the LLM Orientation course to the U.S. Legal System. All LLM students in this track take the LLM Seminar, a research and writing course during which they will write a research paper qualifying for at least one credit on a topic approved by the instructor.

For each student, the LLM seminar paper is the culmination of research conducted in our world-class law library, which includes an extensive international and comparative law collection. All LLM students are also required to take the one-credit Intro to Legal Reasoning course that is offered before the start of the fall semester during orientation weekunless they have already completed such a course in an American law school. Lastly, all LLM students in this track take LAWR 1, a two-semester first-year course designed to equip students with effective skills in legal analysis, writing and research.

Program Details

  1. Applicants must have completed either:
    • JD degree from an ABA accredited law school, or
    • Foreign law studies that qualify applicants to sit for the bar in their country. If the home country bar exam does not require a specific degree, applicants should either be experienced members of the bar or have completed the first university degree in law or a multi-year master's program in law.
  2. English Proficiency Exam: All applicants for the LLM Program whose first language is not English must submit scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

  1. Apply online with LSAC. The application deadline is April 1.
  2. Personal Statement: The statement of purpose form is part of the online application.  All applicants must complete the statement of purpose.
  3. Curriculum Vitae or Résumé: You should include a description of any employment or research experience in a one to two-page curriculum vitae (CV) or résumé, written in English. You should also include addendums for any misconduct (criminal, military, college disciplinary action).
  4. Letters of Recommendation: You must submit three letters of recommendation.  At least two should be from law professors who can comment on your critical thinking, writing skills, and potential for success in law school.  They should give some idea, if possible, of where you stand in class rank.  Letters of recommendation, along with transcripts, should provide evidence that applicants are serious students with a solid record of academic and professional achievement.
  5. Official Transcripts: Official copies of academic records of coursework completed in colleges, universities, technical institutes, and professional institutions are required, in English, regardless of the duration of study or of whether you obtained a degree.  The College of Law participates in LSAC's Credential Assembly Service. You are responsible for submitting to LSAC an official transcript from each institution you have attended.
  6. LSAT: The LSAT is not required.  However, submitting an LSAT score can enhance your application.
  7. TOEFL or IELTS: International students whose first language is not English must take the TOEFL or IELTS and submit their score.  Applicants who have completed a bachelor's degree in the US, or an equivalent degree at an accredited English-language university in Australia, Canada (excluding Quebec), Ireland, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom are exempt from this requirement.  Most students accepted to the program have TOEFL scores above 92 (Internet)/580 (written), an overall IELTS score of at least 7.0 with no subsections below 6.5. Waiver of the TOEFL or IELTS requirements is not normally granted. The University's code for all exams is 6681.  For more information, visit www.ets.org/toefl.  Additionally, non-native speakers of English will be tested for language skills at matriculation and may be required to take English as a Second Language classes before or concurrently with law courses.
  8. Financial Statement: If you are admitted to the program, you will need to submit evidence of adequate financial support to cover the costs of one full year of study at the University of Iowa.  You should complete the financial statement with your application to move through the visa process more quickly.  Your admission cannot be finalized without completing this form to show the financial ability to provide the necessary support.

To learn more about the required coursework for Advanced Standing students, please see our Common Curricular Plan.

  • To earn the LLM degree, each student must successfully complete a course of a minimum of 24 hours of academic credit, as approved by his or her faculty adviser. 
    • Please note: the College of Law reviews and develops its curriculum, including both mandatory and elective courses, on an ongoing basis. Certain courses are specifically designed for foreign-trained law students. It is possible that we will develop additional courses for our foreign-trained students, including versions of existing courses, that may be required to graduate with an LLM degree.

Costs and Financial Aid

Tuition costs and costs of living at Iowa are significantly lower than at peer institutions, please see this chart (and click on "International," if appropriate) for more information. In addition to listing tuition and fees, the costs on the chart include an estimate of living expenses for twelve months. The total indicated on the chart is the amount of support from all sources that foreign students will need to show to obtain a student visa. It is reasonable to expect tuition and fees amounts to increase somewhat each year. 

Under current federal regulations, only U.S. citizens and permanent residents are eligible for federal student loans. Applicants who are not eligible for federal student loans may qualify for private loan programs or grants for non-citizens.

Some partial tuition scholarships are available to LLM students. Students who indicate on their application that they wish to be considered for financial aid and fill out the "Financial Statement for International Students" form included with the application will be automatically considered for a scholarship.

We encourage students to look aggressively for funding outside the University of Iowa. International students should consider applying for such US programs as Fulbright; the Muskie Program for countries of the former Soviet Union; or the Ron Brown Fellowships for Eastern Europe; as well as pursuing funding possibilities within their own countries; with international bodies; and with private foundations like Ford, Soros, Rotary International, the Asia Foundation, and the American Association of University Women. Students whose home universities participate in the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP) may be able to come under that program without paying more tuition than their home university charges.

Research Assistant positions are one of the main forms of financial aid Iowa Law provides for the LLM program. In addition to the lowered tuition, research assistants earn modest wages and enjoy reduced rates on health insurance. To apply for research assistantships, indicate on your LLM application that you wish to be considered for financial aid, and make sure to fill out the application form entitled, "Financial Statement for International Students." The director of the LLM program will notify you if you are granted an RA position through the application process, and will make sure that you have an appropriate RA position. Note that the tuition charts show a reduced rate for LLM students employed as quarter-time research assistants (average 10 hours per week).

Important Dates:

  • Begin accepting applications – Sept. 1
  • Application deadline – April 1 (only accept Fall applications) (applications must be completed by April 10)
  • Application Consideration deadline – April 10
  • First deposit due for student accepted before March 15 – April 1 ($250.00) no second deposit required
    • Students accepted after March 15 their deposit is due 2 weeks after the date of their acceptance letter