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Program Information FAQs

LLM Program Information

What is the LLM program?

The Penn LLM program is a one-year course of study that is designed for foreign-trained lawyers who would like to become familiar with aspects of US law.

Please note that the LLM is different from a JD degree, the three-year degree that US students complete to become practicing attorneys. If you are interested in the JD program, please go to the JD Admissions site.

Holders of an American JD may also apply to Penn Law’s LLM Program, but they should explain in their application why the Penn Law LLM Program makes sense in light of the three years of education at an American law school they have already received.   Specifically, they must:           

  • demonstrate a level of academic achievement comparable to that of applicants accepted into Penn Law’s JD program;             
  • set forth in their application why they wish to attend a program of study designed for lawyers trained outside of the United States.

Learn more about the LLM Program.

What type of LLM degree and certificates do you offer?

Penn Law grants a generalized LLM. Each Penn Law LLM student designs his or her own curriculum and, in doing so, may choose to focus on a particular topic. We do not offer an LLM in a specific field of law (e.g., an LLM in tax law or intellectual property law). 

An LLM student who would like to conduct more in-depth research in a particular filed may, once admitted, apply to participate in the “thesis track”. This track requires the completion of an extensive piece of original research.  Read about LLM degree requirements for both the regular and thesis track

LLM students can receive a Wharton Business and Law Certificate, a program specifically tailored to Penn Law LLM students that runs concurrently to the LLM program.  

What courses do you offer and which courses are mandatory for the LLM degree?

LLM students are required to take Foundations in US law and Legal Writing and Research, both of which are offered as part of the mandatory summer program. After that, students are free to design their curriculum from a list of over 80 courses per semester. Read about courses offered.

Please note that, because our faculty is engaged in cutting-edge scholarship in all fields, our course and seminar roster changes frequently and we cannot guarantee that any given course will be taught in any specific semester.  

Learn more about LLM degree requirements.

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LLCM Program Information

What is the LLCM program?

The LLCM (Masters in Comparative Law) program is a one-year course of advanced study for students who have already earned their LLM degree. LLCM students build their own curriculum in the same manner as LLM candidates, and most often choose to deepen their understanding by concentrating on a specific area of law.

While many of our LLCM students come from our population of Penn Law LLM alumni, we welcome applicants from other elite LLM programs.

Learn more about our LLCM program.

SJD Program Information

What is the SJD program?

The SJD program at Penn Law is somewhat similar to a PhD in Law. All applicants must have already earned an LLM, JD or equivalent degree from Penn Law or another, comparable institution.

All SJD applicants must have a well-stated scholarly proposal, with an area of research and appropriate research methodology clearly outlined. Admission is largely based on the faculty’s evaluation of the scholarly proposal submitted by a candidate.

It is not possible to advise any candidate about his or her specific prospects for acceptance into the SJD program. In recent years, three to four candidates have been admitted to the program annually in recent years.

Learn more about our SJD program.

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LLM Summer Program Information

What is the summer program and who is eligible to apply?

The LLM Summer Program is a mandatory part of Penn Law’s LLM degree beginning each year on the last Friday in July. It is only open to Penn Law LLM students.

For information on this program please visit the Summer Program page. 

For information on Penn Law programs offered in the summer open to international attorneys and law students outside of the LLM Program, please see our Legal Education Programs.

Wharton Certificate Program Information

What is the Wharton Certificate Program?

The Wharton Business and Law Certificate (WBLC) is designed exclusively for students enrolled in the LLM degree program. Drawing on key faculty and content from the Wharton School, WBLC introduces participants to the fundamentals of finance, accounting, strategy, responsible business practices and management. The challenging blend of interactive lectures, case studies, simulations, group discussions and faculty dialogue immerses participants in these core business concepts.

More information on the Wharton Business and Law Certificate that is taken concurrently with Penn Law’s LLM Program.   

Who is eligible for the Wharton Certificate Program?

Only Penn Law LLM students are eligible.

Visiting Scholar Information

Do you offer a visiting researcher or scholar’s program?

Yes, the Penn Law Visiting Scholar and Visiting Researcher Program is intended to accommodate legal professionals who wish to spend a limited period of time at the Law School pursuing research on a particular topic.

Learn more about the the Penn Law Visiting Scholar and Visiting Researcher Program.

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