International Legal Studies LL.M. and General Studies LL.M. (for students educated outside the U.S.)

The General and International Legal Studies LL.M. degrees are the most popular choices for our students trained in law outside the U.S., and they provide the greatest flexibility for students to tailor programs of study that meet their academic and professional goals. The General Studies LL.M. offers the most flexibility, and students often combine a number of courses focused on U.S. law (for example, those required for the New York Bar) with either a focus on a particular area of interest, or a program that samples from the incredible variety of available classes. The International Legal Studies LL.M. is similarly flexible, providing students who want to focus on international law with the ability to choose from one of the largest international law curricula of any law school in the United States.  

There is a strong interest in international and comparative law throughout the faculty and student body at the Law Center. Georgetown's graduate program is one of the largest in the U.S., and many of our American J.D. students choose to come to Georgetown because of its strength in international and transnational law. A large number of the faculty teach international law or include comparative elements in their teaching. Each year we welcome visiting faculty from throughout the world, both as research scholars and as members of the teaching faculty. Our international lawyers are truly at the center of this international community.

Some students pursuing the General or International Legal Studies degrees may be interested in considering the London Option, which allows a small number of students each year to spend the second half of their LL.M. at the Center for Transnational Legal Studies in London.

Please note that all admissions criteria are contained in the admissions materials that can be accessed on the Graduate Admissions page.


The General Studies LL.M. and the International Legal Studies LL.M. degrees are only open to internationally-educated lawyers, and are the most flexible degree programs, offering students maximum ability to structure courses of study that meet their academic and professional goals.

General Requirements:

All LL.M. (Master of Laws) candidates must:

  • Complete the required number of academic credits for the degree, including any minimum number of hours in specialized and/or required courses;
  • Earn a minimum cumulative grade point average of at least 2.00;

General Studies LL.M.

Requires, in addition to the general requirements above:

The course lists of "American Law for Foreign Lawyers" provided in the Curriculum Guide list courses that are often of interest to, but not required for, students pursuing the General LL.M.

International Legal Studies LL.M.

Requires, in addition to the general requirements above:

  • 20 academic credits from courses open to LL.M. students, including a minimum of 12 academic credits in courses listed under International Legal Studies in the online curriculum guide.
  • While not required, we strongly recommend enrolling in U.S. Legal Research, Analysis, and Writing. (This course counts towards the 20-credit degree requirement but not toward the 12 specialization credits.)

Choosing Between International Legal Studies and General Studies

Although students apply to admission for a specific program, the final decision about whether to receive the International Legal Studies degree rather than the General Studies LL.M. can be made even after the first semester of enrollment at Georgetown, and students are encouraged to focus on selecting courses that meet their interests rather than being concerned about the name of the degree between these two options.

Combining a Certificate with the LL.M.

Students in the General or International Legal Studies LL.M. degree programs often choose to pursue a certificate in International Human Rights Law, International Arbitration and Dispute Resolution, Refugees &Humanitarian Emergencies, or IIEL WTO Studies in combination with the LL.M. degree (the credits needed for the certificates are designed to be taken within, and not in addition to, the credits required for the LL.M. degree program).

Minimum and Maximum Credits

Although a minimum of 20 credits is required for foreign-trained students to earn the LL.M. degree, students may take up to a maximum of 13 credits per semester (and, to qualify for the New York Bar, need at least 24 credits of classroom study during the LL.M.) 13 credits per semester is a demanding course load, and international students may wish to consult with their academic advisor in designing an appropriate course of study.

Period of Study and Visa Restrictions

Full-time students are expected to complete the degree in one academic year, and part-time students may take up to three years.

International students on student visas must enroll in a full-time course of study that is completed in one academic year (August through May of the next year, or July through May if students enroll in the Summer Experience). All foreign-educated attorneys on student visas are required to enroll as full-time students. A student's visa cannot be extended to provide additional time for the student to complete a paper of coursework except for compelling academic or medical reasons consistent with U.S. visa regulations. Other foreign-educated students may enroll as part-time students if they are U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the U.S., or if they are on a visa permitting part-time study.

After the LL.M.

Georgetown's LL.M. programs are not designed to assist foreign-trained attorneys to remain in the U.S. for their legal careers, and the majority of students return home after they study here.Under current visa regulations, however, it is possible for international LL.M. graduates to undertake limited "optional practical training (OPT)" in law in the U.S. after completion of their studies, and a number of our graduates do sit for a bar exam soon after completing the degree, and/or find OPT positions in the United States. Georgetown Law, through the Graduate Career and Professional Development staff in the Office of Graduate Programs, assists international LL.M. students in their search for post-degree employment.

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