LL.M. in Taxation

  • Master of laws (LL.M.)
  • Starting date: January; August
  • Tuition Fee: $45,432.00 USD
  • Language: English
  • Program type: Part-time; Full-time
  • Duration: 1 year
  • Specialization: Taxation

About the LL.M. in Taxation

Program Overview

The law school has a long tradition of strength in the area of federal taxation. The graduate taxation program, for full-time or part-time students, is a comprehensive, advanced degree program designed for attorneys intending to specialize in tax practice. It focuses not only on technical mastery of the tax laws but also on wider issues of tax and fiscal policy. Most of the courses in the curriculum provide survey level instruction in subjects typically not addressed in J.D. level tax courses. In addition, advanced courses develop in depth, practice oriented expertise.


Courses are taught by the law school's faculty and by adjunct professors and lecturers who are experienced, practicing tax specialists in Dallas area law firms and corporate law departments. To accommodate employed students, many tax courses are offered in the early morning, the late afternoon, and during the evening.


Specialized Courses

The following listing illustrates the diversity and depth of courses offered at the Dedman School of Law in taxation and related fields. Applicants should note, however, that the law school does not offer all of these courses and seminars each term or even each year. Other related courses not listed below may also be offered each year on a one time only basis.

  • Advanced Corporate Taxation
  • Corporate Planning
  • Corporate Taxation
  • Criminal Tax Fraud
  • Directed Research in Taxation
  • Estate, Gift, and Income Taxation of Trusts and Estates
  • Estate Planning and Practice
  • Federal Tax Procedure I and 11
  • International Tax I
  • International Tax 11
  • Legal Accounting
  • Partnership Taxation
  • State and Local Taxation
  • Tax Accounting
  • Tax Practice and Professional Responsibility
  • Taxation and Fiscal Policy
  • Taxation of Deferred Compensation
  • Taxation of Professional and Closely Held Corporations
  • Taxation of Property Dispositions
  • Wills and Trusts


Degree Requirements

To receive the LL.M. (Taxation) degree the student must meet all of the following requirements:

(A) Residence in the School of Law for no fewer than two terms if a full-time student and no fewer than three terms if a part-time student. Full-time students in this program may begin their studies in the fall term or the spring term.

(B) Completion of 24 term-hours in courses, seminars, or research and writing. Of these 24 term-hours, 18 credit hours must be in the taxation area. Mandatory courses are Tax Accounting, Taxation and Fiscal Policy, and Tax Practice and Professional Responsibility.

With prior approval of the Committee on Graduate Legal Studies, a student may take four of the required 24 term-hours in graduate programs of Dedman College (SMU's school of humanities and sciences), in Perkins School of Theology, or in the Cox School of Business. The student will receive law school credit on completion of all work to the instructor's satisfaction, but the grades will not be computed into the student's law school average.

The student may be permitted to undertake directed research for a one- to three-hour graded paper if he or she can obtain a faculty sponsor.

(C) A student entering the program must have an average of C or 2.00 on all courses taken. The requisite G.P.A. of C or 2.00 must be obtained in the first 24 credit hours. A student will not receive credit for a course or seminar in which his or her grade is below D or 1.00.

(D) Completion of all requirements within 36 months from the date of initial enrollment as a graduate law student. However, a candidate continuously enrolled as a part-time student has 60 months to complete all requirements.


Admission Criteria

Admission to this program is by selection. An applicant for admission to the LL.M. in Taxation degree program must hold a J.D. degree.  If applying for this program and you are an international student, you will also have to comply with the admission criteria for the LL.M. for Foreign Law School Graduates.


Application Requirements

Applicants to the LL.M. programs (For Foreign Law Graduates, Taxation, and General) must submit the following:

  • completed application
  • personal statement (including why you are interested in entering the graduate degree program)
  • résumé
  • two letters of recommendation
  • $75 (U.S. dollars) nonrefundable application fee payable to SMU Dedman School of Law.
  • certified undergraduate and law school transcripts. Transcripts must be mailed directly to the Admissions Office from your schools.


In addition, international applicants must submit personal and bank certifications of sufficient financial resources to cover anticipated tuition, fees, books, and living expenses. These certifications must be in U.S. dollars.


International applicants for whom English is not the first language also must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), administered by the Educational Testing Service, P.O. Box 6151 Princeton, New Jersey 08541 (www.TOEFL.org). The score must be reported to the Admissions Office directly from the Educational Testing Service. It is important when applying that you indicate on the TOEFL form the code number 6660, department code 03, to ensure that your score is sent to SMU Dedman School of Law. The minimum acceptable TOEFL score is 575 or its equivalent. Students whose TOEFL score does not meet these requirements can apply for conditional admission subject to the student successfully completing sufficient English as a second language course at SMU or another institution.


Application Deadline

Applications for LL.M. programs are processed on a continuous basis beginning in early December. It is in your best interest to submit your application as early as possible with all supporting documentation. Applications will be accepted on a space-available basis. Applications will be reviewed upon completion, and decisions will be made shortly thereafter.


Tuition Fees

2016-2017 Tuition, Fees, Estimated Expenses for LL.M. in Taxation


Tuition         $45,433

Fees             $5,664


Estimated Expenses


Books   $1,000

Living Expenses $15,000

Miscellaneous $2,500


Total $69,597


Scholarships & Financial Aid

SMU Dedman School of Law typically will offer some scholarship aid to most of our LL.M. students.  All applicants are automatically considered for partial scholarships.  In addition to the partial scholarships, we do offer a few full scholarships.  A separate application for these scholarships is not necessary.  For further information, please contact the Office of Graduate Legal Programs by email at bheine@smu.edu or by telephone at 214-768-2758 or toll free at 1-888-768-5291.


The SMU Financial Aid Office is available to assist students in obtaining student loans.