University of California, Berkeley School of Law

University of California, Berkeley School of Law


Founded in 1868, the University of California, Berkeley is one of the world’s preeminent public universities, boasting a distinguished faculty (with 22 Nobel laureates to date), stellar research libraries, and more than 350 academic programs. At the heart of Berkeley’s excellence are its 1,582 full-time faculty members, dispersed among 130 academic units and 80 interdisciplinary research units.

Berkeley is home to more than 25,000 undergraduates and more than 10,000 graduate students — and produces more PhDs annually than any other American university. It ranks at or near the top in fields ranging from engineering and the core sciences to the social sciences, arts, and humanities. In 2010, the National Research Council awarded Berkeley the largest number of highly ranked graduate programs in the country. Of the 52 programs assessed, 48 were within the top 10 range.

Reflecting its public character and mission, Berkeley has long served highly qualified students regardless of means. The University educates more federal Pell Grant recipients from low-income families earning less than $45,000 than all eight Ivy League universities and Stanford University combined, and about one-quarter of Berkeley freshmen are the first in their families to attend college.

University Rankings (33)

Application & Admission

2017-18 LL.M. applications are now available! The deadline to apply is January 10, 2017, at midnight PST.


Click here for the traditional and professional track application.


Click here for the thesis track application.


Berkeley Law requires that applicants submit their application online through the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) website. The LSAC is an independent, nonprofit organization that manages admissions for the majority of American law schools. 


If you do not have an LSAC account, you may register for one here. The free basic LSAC account allows you to search for law schools, view application requirements and save a list of schools and programs.


There are two basic steps to applying via LSAC:

  1. Submitting your electronic application form (includes CV, personal statement and application fee), and 
  2. Submitting your supporting documents (transcripts, recommendation letters). 


We recommend that you complete and submit your electronic application form even if your supporting documents are not ready; this enables Berkeley Law to see that you have begun the application process and will create a record for you in our system. Once you have submitted your application form and paid the application fee, you will use LSAC’s LL.M. Credential Assembly Service (CAS) to submit your supporting documents.


LL.M. Credential Asembly Service (LLM CAS)

LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service (CAS) consists of two parts: the Document Assembly Service and the International Transcript Authentication and Evaluation Service.  These simplify the application process by centralizing the submission of application materials. By utilizing the LLM CAS, applicants need only send one set of documents to LSAC, who will assemble and distribute reports to all the participating law schools to which you wish to apply. Your Credential Assembly Service account will be active for five years.


In order to apply to Berkeley Law, you must utilize at least the Document Assembly Service ($85 USD). The International Transcript Authentication and Evaluation Service ($135) is optional but strongly recommended.


We strongly advise applicants to register for the LLM Credential Assembly Service well in advance of the application deadline.  LSAC recommends applicants register at least four to six weeks before their first application deadline.  Although Berkeley Law’s deadline to postmark materials is January 10, it is recommended to have materials sent as early as possible to allow sufficient time for processing.


LLM CAS Document Assembly Service

Berkeley Law requires that all LL.M. applicants purchase and utilize the Document Assembly Service.  Through the Document Assembly Service ($85 USD), LSAC will collect academic records, letters of recommendation, and English proficiency exam score(s) and distribute them to the law schools of your choice.


LLM CAS International Transcript Authentication & Evaluation Service

The International Transcript Authentication & Evaluation Service ($135USD in addition to the Document Assembly Service fee) is an option for applicants educated outside the US.  This service is highly recommended but not required.  Applicants using this service may arrange for official academic documents to be sent once to LSAC for evaluation, authentication and transmission to the participating law schools of your choice.


Fee Type


Required or Optional?

Berkeley Law Application Fee



LSAC LLM CAS Document Assembly Fee



LSAC LLM CAS International Transcript Authentication & Evaluation Service


Optional but recommended





If you experience technical difficulties in using LSAC’s online application service, please call the LSAC Help Desk at 215-968-1393 or e-mail LSAC Help Desk hours are listed here.  If you cannot apply online due to extenuating circumstances such as lack of Internet, you may request a paper application form from the Advanced Degree Programs Office.


Please note that LSAC will not forward any supporting documents to Berkeley Law until all of your transcripts are received, as well as authenticated and evaluated if you purchased the International Authentication & Evaluation Service.


Further details about these services may be found on LSAC’s website.


Important Notes on the LL.M. Application

There are two LL.M. application forms – one for the thesis track, and one for both the traditional andprofessional tracks; applicants may use this application form to apply for admission to either the professional track of the LL.M., the traditional track, or both.  Please note that although the application term is listed as Fall, the application form allows you to apply for both tracks.


 If you decide to apply to more than one LL.M. track, please note:


  • Your application to each track will be reviewed independently. Admission to one will not affect your decision for the other. If you are admitted to multiple tracks, you must choose one; enrollment in both is not possible.
  • Berkeley offers rolling admissions for the professional track. The sooner you apply, the sooner you will receive an admission decision (within three weeks of submitting your compete application). Admission decisions for the traditional and thesis tracks are announced in March/April.
  • If you are admitted to the professional track, you will be asked to submit a nonrefundable deposit.  The deposit will be due before admission decisions are made for the traditional and thesis tracks.  If, after submitting the deposit, you are admitted to the traditional or thesis track and wish to transfer, we will transfer your deposit without penalty upon request.
  • 2016-17 LL.M. professional track students will begin on May 17, 2017 (Q1) or June 8, 2017 (Q2).  In order to be eligible applicants must have completed the requirements for their first degree in law, and must be able to arrive in Berkeley, before their start date.
  • Clinics are available to students enrolled during the academic year only.  Please visit our professional track page for a list of summer course offerings.
  • The professional track is designed for international students; J.D. graduates from U.S. law schools are not eligible.


All questions regarding LL.M. programs or the application process should be directed to the Advanced Degree Programs Office.


An admitted international student will normally come to the United States on an F-1 student visa or a J-1 exchange visitor visa. After you have been accepted and submitted your deposit, you will need to verify your funding for the academic year by returning a completed Confirmation of Financial Resources form, as well as a Non-Immigrant Information Form (or NIF), to the Berkeley International Office. Once these forms have been processed, you will receive a “Certificate of Eligibility” (I-20 or DS 2019) document to present at a U.S. embassy or consulate for a visa. Students from abroad are expected to return to their home countries upon completion of their studies.




If you are attending the 2015 professional track, you will be given the opportunity to choose your start date (Q1 or Q2) when you confirm your enrollment. Once you have made this choice, it cannot be changed – that information will be transmitted to the U.S. State Department as your I-20 start date. Please visit our courses page to make sure you choose the start date that you need for the classes you wish to take. Again, once you have made your selection, it cannot be changed, and no exceptions will be made under any circumstances.



For more information about the visa application process and requirements for international travel, see the following page:


To contact the Berkeley International Office, please send an e-mail to, or call (510) 642-2818.


For further information regarding the NIF, please see:


For questions on the NIF, please e-mail


This year’s Reunion program is packed with opportunities to catch up with friends and classmates and share the memories that make this school special to you, but also to experience the vibrant place that Berkeley Law is today. All Boalt Alumni are invited to attend, however reunion dinners will be hosted for members of classes ending in 6 & 1 only.



Do you enjoy catching up with your classmates? Are you the person who rallies others to participate in events? If so, we invite you to join your Class Reunion Committee.


Your class will be celebrating its Reunion during Alumni Weekend, September 16-18. More information will be coming next month about the fantastic weekend we have planned for you and your classmates.


Class Committee membership is one of the most important volunteer roles at Berkeley Law. By joining your Class Committee you will help plan a successful Reunion, encourage classmates to attend Alumni Weekend, and inspire classmates to support Berkeley Law.


Contact Holly Fincke at or (510) 664-9983 to inquire about joining your class committee.

Housing for LL.M. Students

We have complied this list of housing options to assist you in your housing search. 


It should be noted that the rental market in the Bay Area can be competitive and fast-paced. Apartments ready for occupancy in May or August will likely not be listed until one to two months prior.

Housing Options

1. Off-campus (private) housing


2. University-owned off campus housing


3. University-owned on-campus housing 


Graduate Assembly Housing Guide

See UC Berkeley Graduate Assembly’s housing guide for more information about the local market and available resources. 


Housing Tips

1. Scams

Housing scams are the exception to the rule, but they do occur. Here are a few tips to help you recognize scams.

  • Unusually large deposits: In the city of Berkeley, landlords can only ask up to three times the amount of rent up front. This includes the first and the last month’s rent, plus one month’s rent as a deposit. 
  • Request for use of Western Union, Money Gram, an escrow service, or a “payment guarantee”: Do not wire money or send Western Union, ever. When sending a deposit, make sure you have the name of the person you are issuing it to. Write a check, cashier’s check, or money order and send it to that person using a trackable mail service.
  • Email or text from someone that is not local to the Bay Area, or claims to be out of town/overseas.
  • Vague initial inquiry without any specifics about the unit.
  • Poor grammar/spelling OR use of non-American English, such as British spelling or words like ‘solicitor’ instead of ‘lawyer.’
  • Involvement of third parties besides a property manager.


See these additional guidelines on scams.


2. Social Networking

Social networks can be helpful as you search for housing. Network with your classmates on your LL.M. cohort Facebook page, or other Berkeley international students at the BIO Housing Search Facebook Group or the Graduate Student Housing Facebook Grou

LL.M. Professional Track Student Profiles

Andrés Neira

“My interest in justice—in what is fair or not—is something that I try to apply in every aspect of my life,” said Andrés Neira of his motivation to pursue a career in law. “It is difficult and sometimes disappointing, but it’s worth it to try,” no matter how hard it appears to be, he said. He cited the beautiful campus and the faculty who are passionate about teaching as highlights, but, like many professional LL.M. students, the community has made the strongest impression.

Fernanda Guttmann

Growing up in a small mountain town outside Rio de Janeiro, Fernanda Guttmann was raised in an environment full of books that inspired dreams of the world beyond her daily horizons. “The Brazilian tech industry is thriving and experiencing a unique moment right now, despite the economic crisis,” Guttmann said. “Berkeley Law is the best place to learn from world-renowned faculty and stay updated on tech-related topics.”

Ayodele Olugbenga Babalola

After practicing for six years, mostly in civil and commercial litigation and arbitration at a law firm in Abuja, the capital city of Nigeria, Babalola decided to focus his practice on energy law. His time in Berkeley is also expanding his cultural horizons. “The LL.M. class is like the world in one classroom. Everyone is so friendly and eager to learn about my culture, perspective and experiences. After the first week, you would think everyone has known each other for years.”

Hu Yi

“I am here to complete what I should have done a decade ago,” said Hu Yi. “Now I am working for a U.S. company, so an LL.M. degree from an elite U.S. law school, especially the qualification to practice law in the U.S., will be a great merit.” As a busy executive and mother of a four-year old daughter, flexibility was important to Yi. “The LL.M. professional track is so unique that we legal professionals can balance among work in our home countries, study and family,” she said.

Lasse Vuola

As a father, a senior attorney at one of Finland’s most prestigious law firms, co-founder of a startup, and president of Berkeley Law’s Student Organization for Advanced Legal Studies (SOALS), even his demanding reflection must be impressed. Vuola chose to pursue the law because “it provides room for expressing oneself and doing business.” The program has been a life-changing experience, Vuola said. 

LL.M. Programs

A Berkeley Law LL.M. means studying law at one of the top 10 law schools in the United States and the world, a public institution committed to academic excellence, social engagement, and intellectual and cultural diversity. It means coming to a place where we’ve been teaching LL.M. students for over 60 years; J.D. students, more than 100. It means learning from and engaging with internationally renowned faculty and distinguished scholars in a variety of legal fields, including business law, IP law and social justice. It means creating long-lasting relationships with legal professionals from around the globe. And it means living in the San Francisco Bay Area, one of the world’s most culturally and intellectually stimulating regions on the planet.


One LL.M.  Three Tracks. Endless Customization.


Berkeley Law’s LL.M. is a general degree program. Our LL.M. curriculum is designed to provide a strong basis in the fundamentals of U.S. law. while allowing for customization based on individual interests and goals. Students have the option to earn certificates of specialization in several areas of law, pursue eligibility to register for a U.S. Bar Exam, or complete a thesis.


Berkeley Law provides three paths to our general LL.M. degree.

LL.M. Professional Track

The professional track’s flexible format fits within our students’ lives while delivering the same LL.M. degree. It is specifically designed for lawyers educated outside the U.S. who want an internationally renowned Berkeley Law degree but can’t leave professional or personal commitments for an entire standard academic year. 


Students in our professional track complete courses during May through August, over two consecutive 10-or 13-week summer semesters, allowing students to return home to work and family in the year between. A rigorous curriculum including business law, intellectual property, and core U.S. law courses is taught by world-renowned Berkeley Law faculty who are leaders in their fields. Students may focus their studies to earn a Certificate of Specialization and/or to meet the requirements to become eligible to register for the California Bar Examination.


For more details, please check LL.M Professional Track.


About Berkeley Law

Berkeley Law is one of the nation’s premier law schools, located at one of the world’s great universities, in one of the most vibrant places on the planet.


Berkeley Law is one of 14 schools and colleges at the University of California, Berkeley. It is consistently ranked as one of the top law schools in the nation.


The law school has produced leaders in law, government, and society, including Chief Justice of the United States Earl Warren, Secretary of State of the United States Dean Rusk, American civil rights activist Pauli Murray, California Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso, president and founder of the Equal Justice Society Eva Paterson, United States Northern District of California Judge Thelton Henderson, and Attorney General of the United States Edwin Meese.


In 1882 William Carey Jones, a young professor in the Latin Department, taught a class in Roman law, the first law course offered on the Berkeley campus. 


Students have graduated from Berkeley Law to become leaders in the fields of jurisprudence, politics, academia, and industry. Eight have become justices of the California Supreme Court. Two have become governor of the state. One-Earl Warren, class of 1914-was appointed Chief Justice of the United States. William Carey Jones’s single classroom in North Hall has over the last century grown into one of the nation’s premier centers for legal education, preparing outstanding leaders for the nation and the world.


Over the last three years, the law school has grown its faculty ranks significantly and launched several new research centers. Meanwhile, its number of student journals and organizations is at an all-time high. Now, with extensive upgrades to existing facilities—and the recent opening of the stylish South Addition—the school has never looked better.


“This is a virtual renaissance for a 60-year-old structure that felt nothing like a world-class law school, and could not support our teaching today and our ambitions for tomorrow,” Dean Christopher Edley, Jr. says. “The improvements will also transform student life, with fabulous spaces for study, activities, and just plain hanging out.”


The South Addition

The South Addition, which opened in time to hold the graduation reception on May 13, is the centerpiece of Boalt’s master plan. Constructed one level above ground and two below, the building adds 55,000 square feet of new space. The two lower levels house the law library’s renowned collection in efficient, compact shelving, creating space for student research in four, glass-enclosed reading rooms that are bathed in natural light.

The ground floor, which connects to the existing law building, includes a 72-person state-of-the-art classroom, a café, and a large commons area that opens onto an outdoor courtyard, both of which can be used for studying and socializing. Above is an elegant roof garden with bench and table seating and a footbridge to both Steinhart Courtyard and the library’s main reading room.

Meanwhile, a landscaped entryway gives the law school its first distinctive point of entry—plus two attractive plazas— creating a green and vibrant transition from the school’s physical complex to Bancroft Way.

Opening the South Addition also clears the way for Boalt to remodel former library space with an eye toward creating more room for legal clinics and student services staff. Alumni support will play a key role in determining the scope and pace of that reconfiguration.

“Construction of the South Addition required a lot of flexibility from our faculty, staff, and students,” says Kathleen Vanden Heuvel, associate dean for capital projects. “While we made a concerted effort to mitigate the impact of construction on them, there were certainly times they had to deal with noise, detours, and other inconveniences. Throughout the process, they were all really fabulous.”



Because new teaching methods have emerged since the law school was built in 1951, revisions emphasize smaller seminar rooms. By adding modern seminar rooms, renovated lecture halls, and updating audio- and visual-support technology in several classrooms, Boalt has been able to expand course offerings and events.

“We’ve upgraded every single classroom to some extent,” Vanden Heuvel says. “They’re not over-the-top luxurious, but are well thought out. We’re really proud of that, because it’s a vital component of improving our students’ experience.”



Boalt’s library stacks were badly overcrowded at 170 percent of suggested capacity, and its location in the center of the building created pedestrian traffic jams. Architects solved that conundrum by relocating the library collection to the South Addition’s two underground levels, housing it in efficient, compact shelving, and adding two new reading rooms which feature limestone walls and 100-year-old study tables from the original Boalt Hall.


Student Center

The Student Center provides a flexible, contiguous space for all kinds of activity. Boalt’s 12 student journals now call the Student Center home, and it has an inviting lounge, a kitchen, four different kinds of seating, and three new group study rooms.

“We tried to design a student space that emphasized the professional nature of the law journals’ activities, while still giving students a comfortable space in which to meet and relax,” says Vanden Heuvel.


Heyman Terrace

At an alumni weekend ceremony last October, Boalt Hall’s West Terrace was renamed the Heyman Terrace in honor of former Boalt Professor and UC Berkeley Chancellor I. Michael Heyman. Now a prime gathering place for students and faculty, it is a welcoming face to the campus. 

Mission and Learning Outcomes


Berkeley Law advances the University of California’s teaching, research and service mission as follows:

1. Through teaching, the law school provides students with first class training in legal theory, doctrine and practice, exposure to the political, social and economic forces that shape the law, and the opportunity for client service.

2. Through research, the law school supports faculty members who are leaders in their fields of scholarly inquiry, striving to expand and deepen legal and interdisciplinary thought while engaging students in rigorous academic and intellectual work.

3. Through service, the law school tackles some of the most important, challenging and timely problems facing the state, nation and world, harnessing our excellence in teaching and research to improve government, business and society.

The law school’s distinctive public mission includes a commitment to access, affordability and career choice for a diverse range of students from all communities.



Berkeley Law students achieve competency in the following learning outcomes:

1. Knowledge and understanding of substantive and procedural law;

2. Legal analysis and reasoning, legal research, problem-solving, and written and oral communication in the legal context;

3. Exercise of proper professional and ethical responsibilities to clients and the legal system;

4. Other professional skills needed for competent and ethical participation in the legal profession (such as, interviewing, counseling, negotiation, fact development and analysis, trial practice, document drafting, conflict resolution, organization and management of legal work, collaboration, cultural competency, and self-evaluation); and

5. Using the law to solve real-world problems and to create a more just society.

Career Development


ADP sponsors programs for LL.M. students throughout the year on topics including:

  • Resume writing
  • Interviewing skills
  • U.S. business etiquette and networking
  • Various legal practice areas


ADP staffs two attorney-counselors dedicated to the professional development needs of LL.M. students. Each counselor has practiced law and can offer real-world insights into various career paths. You may sign up for individual appointments via bCourses.


Most LL.M. students are eligible to attend two job fairs specifically designed for LL.M. students: 


ADP support for students attending these job fairs includes:

  • Resume review, to conform your C.V. into a U.S.-style resume.
  • Mock interviews, to help you develop interviewing skills through simulated job interviews conducted and evaluated by practicing attorneys.
  • Individual appointments, to discuss bidding strategy and your overall plan for attending ISIP.
  • Other job opportunities. Many international employers regularly solicit resumes from students to fill their hiring needs each year.


We can help you explore a variety of legal career options—both traditional and nontraditional—and determine how to pursue them.

Your career planning will have two elements:

  • Exploration — learning about the types of opportunities compatible with your talents, work style, and lifestyle
  • Job Searching — finding and landing specific opportunities

ADP’s counselors are here to work individually with you on both.


More about career opportunities and services for Traditional Track and Professional Track.

LL.M. Traditional Track

The traditional track is aptly named – it’s what you traditionally think of as an LL.M. program. Our traditional track students come for a full academic year and take classes with students in the J.D. degree program. 


The traditional track of our LL.M. program, which takes place during the standard academic year from August to May, provides students with a range of opportunities, from obtaining a basic knowledge of the U.S. legal system to undertaking original research on a particular aspect of law.  Designed to integrate American and international law students at various levels of study, the traditional track allows candidates to satisfy degree requirements by enrolling in courses and seminars from among those offered to law students pursuing the J.D. degree. Aside from a few core curriculum courses specifically designed for international students, LL.M. candidates may select law courses as they see fit, with the exception of a few that are restricted to the J.D. curriculum. In addition to earning the degree, students seeking in-depth training in a particular area of law may earn a Certificate of Specialization.




Each student in the traditional track completes mandatory courses in Fundamentals of U.S. Law and Legal Research and Writing, and then may customize their studies by choosing from the full range of law school offerings. Students take approximately 3-4 courses each semester. Students may focus their studies to earn Certificates of Specialization and/or to meet the requirements to become eligible to register for the California or New York Bar Examination.

Core Curriculum*


Students study the sources of U.S. law and the structure of the U.S. court system. Students also learn the fundamentals of the case method of legal education and statutory construction, and study how cases progress through the American court system. The course will also explore topics of judicial review, federalism, separation of powers, and the practical and political limitations of these concepts. Students will then use case analysis skills to examine landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases.


In this class, each student researches and writes a 15- to 20-page research memorandum addressing a compelling issue in contemporary law. Through this writing exercise students learn predictive legal reasoning.  Students also complete other, shorter assignments throughout the term, including an introduction to Bluebook citation. Research instruction is integrated into the writing assignments, and includes mainly on-line but also a few traditional book-based resources. Students receive extensive written comments and attend one-on-one conferences on their papers. 


*Required for international students in the traditional track. Domestic students are exempt from these courses, but must complete a capstone writing project of 15 pages or more in length.

Elective Curriculum

Visit Berkeley Law’s Schedule of Classes for a full and current listing of courses.


Certificates of Specialization


Traditional and thesis track students who seek in-depth training in a particular area of law are now able to earn Certificates of Specialization in Energy & Clean Technology, Law and Technology, Business Law, Environmental Law, and International Law.  Students apply for certificates toward the end of their second semester. To learn more about the certificate requirements, please click on the following links.



Click here for the full Current Academic Calendars

Frequently Asked Questions

Applying for Admission

1. What are the basic admissions requirements?
International applicants for the LL.M. program must hold an undergraduate or graduate law degree (LL.B., LL.M., etc.) from a foreign institution, and have an acceptable TOEFL or IELTS score if English is not their primary language. American LL.M. applicants must hold a J.D. degree from an accredited U.S. law school. J.S.D. applicants must meet the same requirements as LL.M. applicants AND hold an LL.M. degree from Berkeley Law or another law school with a comparable program.  The LL.M. degree may be from a US school or international. See a list of minimum degree requirements by country


2. I don’t hold a law degree, but I took courses in law and/or have work experience in law.  May I apply?
No, applicants to the LL.M. program must hold a law degree equivalent to a J.D. or LL.B. J.S.D. applicants must hold an LL.M. degree.


3. I already hold an LL.M. from another US university.  May I still apply to Berkeley Law’s LL.M. program?
No, we cannot accept LL.M. applications from applicants who have already earned an LL.M. from a US university.  If you wish to study at Berkeley Law, you may consider applying for the J.S.D. program instead.


4. What is the minimum GPA requirement for applicants?
Berkeley Law does not have a specific minimum GPA requirement for LL.M. applicants.  Anyone who meets the above basic requirements may apply.


5. Is there a work requirement?
No.  Although work experience may be a positive factor in an application, it is not required.


6. When is the application deadline?
Applications for both LL.M. tracks must be submitted/postmarked by January 10, 11:59PM Pacific Time.  This includes the online application form as well as all other materials such as transcripts, letters of recommendation, personal essay, etc.  The online application can take quite some time to complete and submit, so applicants are strongly encouraged to begin early.  Applications for the J.S.D. program must be submitted by February 1, 11:59PM Pacific Time.  Please note that we review professional track applications as they are complete and will send decisions within two weeks of completion. 


7. Is the application deadline strictly enforced?
Yes. Late applications will not be accepted.


8. How much is the application fee and how do I pay it?
The application fee is $80.00 (U.S.), non-refundable. Pay online using a credit card when you submit your application electronically through the LSAC web site.


9. Can I have the application fee waived?
Only a limited number of application fee waivers will be granted, based on financial need. To request a fee waiver, please submit a written request for a waiver to the Advanced Degree Programs Office.


10. Must I apply online through the LSAC website?
Yes, we require that all applicants apply online via LSAC unless there is an extenuating circumstance such as complete lack of internet service.  Applicants must register for and use LSAC’s Document Assembly Service; the International Transcripts Authentication and Evaluation Service is recommended but not required for foreign applicants.


11. I am still in school finishing my first law degree. Am I eligible for admission?
As long as you will have completed your degree by the time you would begin your LL.M. studies at Berkeley Law, you may be considered for conditional admission.  You must submit academic records of all law coursework completed at the time you apply; if admitted, you will be required to submit final transcripts showing your degree was awarded before starting your first semester at Berkeley Law.


12. Do you require the LSAT or GRE?
No.  The only exam required to apply for the LL.M. program is the TOEFL or IELTS, if English is not your primary language.


13. When will admissions decisions be made?
Decisions are made in September – FEbruary for the professional track and March – April for the LL.M. traditional track and the J.S.D. program.  Professional track applicants will be notified of their admission status on a rolling basis, within two weeks of completion. We encourage professional track applicants to complete their application as quickly as possible because there are more admission offers available earlier in the cycle; applicants who submit their application materials early have a competitive advantage.  Admissions decisions for the traditional track LL.M. and the J.S.D. program are made at the same time, not on a rolling basis.

14. How will I learn if I’ve been admitted?
All admission decisions are sent by e-mail to the primary e-mail address listed on the application form.  Please add our e-mail address,, to your address book to prevent messages from being filtered as spam.  If you are admitted, you will also receive a hard copy of your admission letter by mail.


15. Can I request an early or expedited admission decision?
We unfortunately cannot provide any early or expedited decisions.  Professional track applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, so applicants can expect to receive a decision within two weeks of their application being complete.  All traditional track LL.M. and J.S.D. applications are reviewed at the same time, after the application deadline.


16. How can I check my application status?
Applicants can check their application status here.  Because we process a very large number of applications each year, we ask that you do not telephone to inquire about your application status.  If we discover critical information is missing from your file, we will contact you. To expedite such a notification, please make sure that you keep us updated with your current e-mail address.


17. How are applications evaluated?
Applications are reviewed holistically.  The review committee will consider every part of each application, including grades, universities attended, English language exam scores, the Personal Statement, C.V., professional experience, letters of recommendation, and achievements in nonacademic activities or public service.


18. How competitive is admission?
Admission to our programs is quite competitive.  We receive over 1,500 applications for the LL.M. programs each year, and candidacy for the J.S.D. program is extremely selective.


19. How many students are in each program?
We typically enroll 190-200 students in the traditional track, and over 200 in the professional track.  There is no specific number of students in the J.S.D. program; only the most qualified and committed applicants are admitted.


20. If I am admitted, may I defer for one or more years?
If you are admitted, you may request deferral for one year only.  Deferrals are not automatically granted but reviewed on a case-by-case basis.  They are generally only granted in the case of an extreme unforeseen circumstance.


English Proficiency Exams

1. What is the minimum accepted TOEFL/IELTS score?
The minimum score required for admission is:

100 on the TOEFL internet based test (IBT), or
600 on the TOEFL paper based test (PBT), or
7.0 on the IELTS


There is no minimum subscore per section; the overall score should meet or exceed our minimum requirement.


2. How do I submit my TOEFL or IELTS score?
TOEFL or IELTS score reports should be sent to LSAC for processing through their Credential Assembly Service.  LSAC’s institution code for the TOEFL is 8395.  For more information, click here.


3. Can I waive the English Proficiency Requirement?

You are eligible for a TOEFL waiver if either of the following criteria apply:

1. You have attended a US university for full time study for a minimum of one academic year with a 3.0/B average or higher, or
2. You earned a degree from a foreign university in which the sole language of instruction is English, or
3. Your native language is English.
These criteria must be verified by your official academic records.  Click here
 for more information.


4. My TOEFL/IELTS score is below the minimum required, can I still apply?
If your TOEFL score is close to our minimum and your application is otherwise strong, we may consider you for conditional admission and, in rare cases, give you the opportunity to take the TOEFL/IELTS again to attain an acceptable score. 


5. I’m a US or Canadian citizen; do I need to request an English Language Requirement Waiver?
Yes.  Since most of our applicants are international, we do not assume English proficiency for any applicant, regardless of citizenship.  Please request an English Language Requirement waiver by answering yes to the question under that section on our application form and specifying that you are a native speaker.



1. My transcripts and/or recommendations are not in English. Do I need to have them translated?
Yes. While all official academic records must be issued in their original language, if they are not in English they must be accompanied by English translations. If the institution does not offer English translation, it is the applicant’s responsibility to make sure an English translation is sent to LSAC.  The translation may be done by anyone as long as it is a literal translation, and need not be certified.  Click here for more information.


2. How should my transcripts be submitted?
Transcripts must be sent directly to LSAC from the appropriate issuing institution, and applicants must use LSAC’s Transcript Request Form, which will be available at the completion of your LLM Credential Assembly Service registration.  All official documents must be received by LSAC in a sealed institution envelope.


3. My university will not send academic records directly, can I send them myself?
If your university has a policy against sending academic records to other institutions, please contact LSAC’s Help Desk at 215-968-1393 or e-mail to find out how they can be submitted.


Letters of Recommendation

1. Do both letters have to be from law professors?
It is preferable that both letters come from your law professors. However, if you have been out of school for five or more years, a professional reference from one current or former employers is appropriate, in addition to a letter from a law professor.  Ultimately, it is up to each applicant to select the recommenders that will best represent them.


2. Can I submit more than two letters of recommendation?
Applicants may submit one additional academic or professional letter if they wish to do so, for a maximum total of three letters.


3. How should letters of recommendation be submitted?
They should be emailed or sent directly to LSAC accompanied by the required recommendation form.  Click here for more information.


Personal Statement and C.V.

1. How long should the Personal Statement be?
Your Personal Statement should be limited to three pages of double-spaced text.


2. Is the three page limit strict?
We do ask that you keep your Personal Statement to no more than three pages, double-spaced.  However, if you go a few words over the limit your application will not be automatically rejected.


3. Are there any formatting requirements for the Personal Statement or C.V.?
There are no specific formatting requirements, such as margins or font size, but we ask that you ensure that your documents are easily readable.


4. What information should be included in the Personal Statement?
The Personal Statement should describe your legal interests, the particular area of study you intend to undertake as a law student, the reasons you wish to study at Berkeley Law, and your professional plans or goals following completion of your degree.  Since the Advanced Degree Programs Committee does not grant interviews, you may also use the statement to describe aspects of yourself that are not apparent from your other application materials.


5. How should the Personal Statement and C.V. be submitted?
The Personal Statement and C.V. should be uploaded to the Attachments section of the online application.



1. How much is tuition?
Tuition fees for the 2016-2017 academic year are estimated at $54,913. Student health insurance costs an additional $4,146; students already covered by an eligible health insurance plan may apply for a waiver. Professional track LL.M. fees are the same as the traditional track, with approximately half being due each summer semester.  Please note that precise fee levels change each year, and are subject to change at any time.  Since tuition for the traditional track may rise from year to year, professional track students’ second summer tuition fees may be higher than the first summer.  Discounted tuition for California residents is not available for the LL.M. program.  For the J.S.D. program, in-state tuition is approximately $13,500 while out-of-state tuition is approximately $28,700 for 2015-2016.  Click here for more about tuition and fees.

For more details, please check Tuition & Financial Aid.


2. How much money should I budget for living expenses while studying at UC Berkeley?
Based on self-reported student costs, you should plan to spend a minimum of $1,500 per month on living expenses. The Berkeley International Office recommends adding $583 per month for an accompanying spouse, and $333 per month for each dependent child accompanying the student. These amounts are in addition to student tuition and fees. Click here for more about living expenses in Berkeley.


3. Does Berkeley Law offer financial aid?
Financial aid funds are extremely limited, and only partial scholarships (in the form of tuition waivers) can be offered to a few outstanding LL.M. students each year. Financial aid through the Advanced Degree Programs Office is not currently available to J.S.D. students, although FAFSA-eligible students may qualify for certain loans and scholarships. Click here to find out what aid is available.


4. Can LL.M. students work during the program?
Most campus jobs are work study positions limited to undergraduates, so LL.M. students who wish to work usually try to find research assistant positions within the law school.  Students may contact faculty members directly to inquire, or check the Boalt Bulletin Board.  Because the professional track is so intensive, we strongly advise that these students do not work during the program.


5. Does Berkeley Law require a deposit from admitted students?
If admitted, you will be required to submit a nonrefundable $1,000 deposit to reserve your place in the incoming class. Applicants who are admitted to both tracks may transfer their deposit from one to the other without penalty. The deposit will be credited toward your first term tuition fee. All other questions regarding deposits, fees or refunds should be directed to the Advanced Degree Programs Office.



1. Is it possible to specialize within the LL.M. program?
The LL.M. degree at UC Berkeley School of Law is generalized, although students may select classes according to particular areas of interest. Traditional track students can earn Certificates of Specialization in Energy & Clean TechnologyBusiness LawEnvironmental LawLaw & Technology, or International Law.  Professional track students can earn a Certificate of Specialization in Business LawLaw & TechnologyPublic Law & Regulation, or Energy & Environmental Law.


2. Are there restrictions on courses that LL.M. students in the traditional track may take?
With a few exceptions, LL.M. students in the traditional track may take any law courses they wish to fulfill their unit requirements.  For details on specific course restrictions, e-mail the Advanced Degree Programs Office at


3. Can LL.M. students participate in clinics?
There are four clinics in which traditional track LL.M. students can participate: International Human Rights Clinic, Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic, Environmental Law Clinic, and Policy Advocacy Clinic. LL.M. students participate in these clinics in their Spring semester; applications are due in October of the preceding Fall semester.  Both LL.M. students and J.D. students apply to these clinics, with admission being offered only to those students with the strongest applications. There are no openings in the clinics reserved for LL.M. students. The clinic admission process gives particular weight to evidence of excellent legal research and English writing ability. We will provide more information on clinics at orientation.


4. Does the LL.M. program qualify graduates for the California or New York bar exam?
The traditional track can qualify graduates to take the California or New York bar exam.  The professional track can qualify graduates to take the California bar exam.  Students should be sure to select courses that will allow them to take the bar exam of their choice, and it is each candidate’s responsibility to confirm that their first law degree(s) will satisfy the states’ bar admission requirements.  Specific advice will be available to students at orientation.


5. If accepted to the LL.M. program, would I automatically be admitted to the J.S.D. program after completing the LL.M.?
Candidacy for the J.S.D. degree is very restricted, and does not follow automatically from admission to the LL.M. program. It is open only to those who have completed the requirements for the LL.M. degree and are engaged in or planning careers in academic or other work that emphasizes legal scholarship.  Click here for more about the J.S.D. program.


6. I have already begun an LL.M. program at another US university, can I transfer credits earned to Berkeley Law?
No, we cannot accept any transfer credits.


7. Can I transfer to the J.D. program from the LL.M. program ?
No.  LL.M. students cannot transfer to the J.D. program. LL.M. students can, however, apply for admission to the J.D. program.


8. Are any part-time or distance learning programs available?
We currently do not offer any part-time or distance learning programs.


9. Can I begin the traditional track in the spring?
No, traditional track students may only begin in fall.


Students in both LL.M. tracks learn from the same accomplished faculty who teach in the J.D. program. Our faculty includes founders and directors of our legal centers, teachers with decades of experience, real-world practitioners, and international experts. 


Although our faculty is packed with ultra-high-achievers, they’re famously approachable, and accessible too. Most look for ways to engage with students outside the classroom—whether  by collaborating on research projects or simply chatting during office hours.


Berkeley Law professors are superb instructors as well as internationally recognized experts in wide-ranging specialties: International law and intellectual property. Environmental law and evidence. Telecommunications policy and torts. Constitutional law, criminal justice, and contracts. Human rights and civil rights. Cyberlaw and social justice. Family law. Antitrust law. And, yes, wine law.


For more information, please click here.

LL.M. Thesis Track


Simply put, the LL.M. thesis track is our traditional track with a twist – of research. Thesis track is designed for those who want the LL.M. degree but know they want to devote a substantial portion of their time to a substantial research and writing project – a thesis – supervised by a tenured faculty member. It is appropriate for students considering academic or government careers, those interested in researching a particular subject in depth, and/or those who’d like to work closely with a particular faculty member. Thesis track students also have the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of activities that take place during the standard academic year, such as Berkeley Law Centers and Clinics, Student-Initiated Legal Services Projects, journals, and field placements.



The thesis track takes place over one standard academic year, August through May. For thesis track students, 8 of the 21 units required to graduate are devoted to independent study units and represent the work they complete on their thesis. Students complete mandatory courses in Fundamentals of U.S. Law and Legal Research and Writing. With the remaining 8 elective units, thesis students can choose courses that complement their research interests from the full range of law school offerings. With careful planning, students may focus their studies to earn a Certificate of Specialization and/or to meet the requirements to become eligible to sit for the California Bar Exam. Due to the limited elective units in thesis track, students are unlikely to meet the requirements to become eligible to register for the New York Bar Examination.

Core Curriculum


Students study the sources of U.S. law and the structure of the U.S. court system. Students also learn the fundamentals of the case method of legal education and statutory construction, and study how cases progress through the American court system. The course will also explore topics of judicial review, federalism, separation of powers, and the practical and political limitations of these concepts. Students will then use case analysis skills to examine landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases.


Academic Track Legal Research and Writing for LL.M. Students teaches legal analysis for academic purposes, research strategies, and effective written and oral communication methods. Students will work on a topic of their choice, developing a research plan and writing a research paper of a minimum of 15-20 pages that can serve as a capstone writing project. Additionally, students will make an oral presentation of their work at the end of the semester. Students will learn U.S. legal citation requirements and form, will attend one-on-one conferences, and develop revision and presentation skills.


*Required for international students in the traditional track. Domestic students are exempt from this course.

Elective Curriculum

Visit Berkeley Law’s Schedule of Classes for a full and current listing of courses.


Certificates of Specialization

Traditional and thesis track students who seek in-depth training in a particular area of law are now able to earn Certificates of Specialization in Energy & Clean Technology, Law and Technology, Business Law, Environmental Law, and International Law.  Students apply for certificates toward the end of their second semester. To learn more about the certificate requirements, please click on the following links.



Click for Current Academic Calendars

Berkeley Law LLM Degree Program

Berkeley Law LLM Degree Program