University of Virginia (UVA) School of Law

University of Virginia (UVA) School of Law

About

Founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants. Consistently ranked among the top law schools in the nation, Virginia has educated generations of lawyers, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service. 

Virginia is justly famous for its collegial environment that bonds students and faculty, and student satisfaction is consistently cited as among the highest in American law schools. At Virginia, law students share their experiences in a cooperative spirit, both in and out of the classroom, and build a network that lasts well beyond their three years here.

Graduate Studies

Founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is consistently ranked among the top-10 law schools in the United States. Virginia's Graduate Studies Program provides an American legal education to lawyers who have obtained their first law degree in their home countries. 


By maintaining a small and highly selective program of about 50 students, the Law School ensures a supportive atmosphere. LL.M. candidates take classes alongside J.D. students, allowing participants to fully engage in the community and plan their own coursework.

 

The faculty at Virginia represents leading scholars and acknowledged experts in all aspects of public and private law. At Virginia, professors commit to more than just leading classes. UVA Law faculty members believe teaching and building relationships with students are fundamental to the law school  experience. Professors are leaders in the intellectual life of the community, organizing and speaking at lectures and other events, working with student organizations, volunteering for pro bono service and fostering new academic programs when they find student interest. The faculty is enriched each year by visitors from other leading law schools in the United States and abroad.   

Degree Requirements

LL.M. Degree Requirements

To receive a master of Laws degree, candidates must complete at least two semesters of residence and a minimum of 24 credit hours. At least one of these hours must by earned by producing a substantial research paper. Students may complete the writing requirement by taking a seminar that requires a long paper, or through arranging a research project that results in a substantial paper. Students must have at least a 2.7 grade-point average to graduate.

 

LL.M. students are generally enrolled in courses and seminars with upper-level J.D. students. 

 

Virginia's LL.M. program is a full-time master of laws program that students complete in residence in one year (two semesters). The Law School does not predetermine the curriculum; rather, LL.M. students can pursue their own interests in legal study. Students are required to take a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester and successfully complete at least 24 hours to be awarded the degree.

 

Graduate Legal Research and Writing

Incoming LL.M. students whose native language is not English are required to take Graduate Legal Research and Writing, but any LL.M. student may choose to take the course. Designed for LL.M. students unfamiliar with the U.S. legal system, this class introduces students to the fundamentals of U.S. legal research materials, methods and strategies as well as various forms of legal writing.

 

Writing requirement

All LL.M. students have to satisfy the writing requirement (a substantial research paper). Beyond these requirements, students are invited to be creative in selecting courses and research topics. For example, students wishing to specialize in international human rights may register for the basic course and seminars offered in that area. But such students would enrich their understanding by sampling from the variety of courses that explore legal approaches to similar issues in an American context, including courses dealing with civil rights, employment discrimination and immigration law. Similarly, students planning a law practice in international business transactions may choose from a menu that includes foundational courses in American corporate, commercial and regulatory law, as well as courses with an explicit focus on international business, trade and litigation. This process can be repeated for virtually every other field of legal study that demonstrate the Law School's commitment to intellectual diversity and individualized courses of study. Courses by Concentration/Subject
 

The assistant dean for graduate studies and the chair of the Graduate Committee will work with students individually to design a course of study based on each student’s personal and professional objectives. If a student is planning to take the New York bar exam following graduation, we will work with each student individually to ensure that his or her planned course selections meet the requirements prescribed by the Board of Law Examiners.

How to Apply

Virginia's LL.M. program is a full-time master of laws program that students complete in residence in one year (two semesters). The Law School does not predetermine the curriculum; rather, LL.M. students can pursue their own interests in legal study. Students are required to take a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester and successfully complete at least 24 hours to be awarded the degree. Almost all classes offered at Virginia are open to LL.M. students.

 

Applicants must have received the academic degree regarded as their countries' first professional degree in law (equivalent to the U.S. juris doctor degree). LSAC maintains a chart of the minimum degree requirements by country that lists criteria for eligibility for admission to our LL.M. program. If either your degree or your country of study is not listed in the chart, please contact the Graduate Studies Office regarding your eligibility to apply to our LL.M. program based on your legal education. Note that the chart includes only minimum requirements, and that applicants are expected to include information on all postsecondary education, including any academic work completed prior to or after the minimum degree listed.

 

How Applications Are Reviewed

Each year, the Graduate Program receives hundreds of applications for the 40-50 spaces in the LL.M. class. The admissions process is highly competitive and the Graduate Committee must, unfortunately, disappoint many qualified applicants. Although demonstrated excellence in prior law study is essential, the committee also considers other evidence of applicants' personality, accomplishments and potential for professional achievement as revealed through letters of recommendation, extracurricular activities, personal interests and prior legal or law-related experience. The principal criterion for admission, however, is the closeness of the fit between the applicants' professional interests and the Law School's resources. Accordingly, the committee places special weight on applicants' stated reasons for wanting to pursue graduate legal studies, and their principal intellectual interests and career plans.

 

Applicants must submit the following materials in support of their application:

 

1. Application Form

Applicants are required to complete and submit an electronic application with required attachments through the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) website. Most scholarship assistance provided by the Graduate Studies Program is awarded on a combined basis of academic merit and need. Admissions decisions are made independently from any request for financial assistance. If you are unable to access the LSAC link, please contact LSAC at support@lsac.org.

 

Applicants should carefully outline and discuss their reasons for pursuing graduate work, including a statement of future professional plans. Applicants should also describe their principal areas of academic interest, with as much specificity as possible.

 

Applicants should submit an application form, including a personal statement, resume, and information on career plans and academic areas of interest; English language test score(s); application fee; letters of recommendation; and transcripts using LSAC. In addition to the LL.M. Document Assembly Service, international applicants must register for the LSAC International Transcript Authentication and Evaluation service.

 

2. Official Transcripts and Document Assembly Service

Applicants must submit transcripts and proof of degree documents from all prior colleges, law schools, exchange programs or graduate schools attended, even if the applicant did not graduate from that institution. In addition to the LL.M. Document Assembly Service, internationally educated applicants must register for the LSAC International Transcript Authentication and Evaluation service.

 

3. LSAC LL.M. Document Assembly Service

Applicants must register with the LSAC Document Assembly Service. In addition to the LL.M. Document Assembly Service, internationally educated applicants must register for the LSAC International Transcript Authentication and Evaluation service. Do not send your academic transcripts directly to the Office of Graduate Studies. For more information about the Document Assembly Service or the International Transcript Authentication and Evaluation Service, please review the LSAC website.

 

4. Letters of Recommendation

The Law School requires applicants to submit letters through the LSAC Letter of Recommendation service. This service is included with your LL.M. CAS subscription. Letters submitted through LSAC are sent to us along with your CAS law school report and can be read online immediately. Updated reports are sent immediately if letters are received after your initial CAS law school report has been sent. To use this service, follow the instructions on the LSAC website.

 

The Law School requires at least two, but no more than four, letters from people who know the applicant well and are in a position to evaluate his or her capacity for advanced legal study. Current students or recent graduates should submit letters from two law school professors. Applicants who have completed their law degree more than five years ago should solicit a letter from a current or former employer in addition to one from a former teacher. The committee recognizes that a letter from a former teacher may not be practical in the case of an applicant who has been out of school for some time, in which case the second letter may be from an employer or colleague who is in a position to comment upon the candidate's qualifications. Letters from family members, friends or people who are not well acquainted with the applicant's legal capacity are not helpful and should not be submitted. 
 

If a recommender is unable to write the letter of recommendation on letterhead, please ask him/her to explain why. Unless otherwise specified by LSAC, we do not accept emailed recommendations, except from Virginia alumni.

 

5. Application Fee

All applicants are required to pay their application fee using a credit card through the LSAC secure server. Follow the instructions on the LSAC website.

 

6. TOEFL Score

Competency in English is critical to success in the graduate law programs at the University of Virginia, and demonstrated fluency in English is an important consideration in evaluating applications.

 

International applicants who do not meet the very limited exceptions listed below are required to demonstrate proficiency in English by completing the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or IELTS within two years prior to submitting the application. This is true regardless of the number of years of instruction in English the applicant may have had or if English is the “official” language of the applicant’s home country. Students who have studied in English (in Pakistan, the Philippines, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, African countries, etc.) are not exempt from the TOEFL requirement. The only exceptions are applicants for whom English is the native language (those from Australia, the English-speaking provinces of Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom or applicants from South Africa who attended English-medium universities). If applicants do not fall under one of these limited exceptions, they should not assume for any reason that they are exempt from the TOEFL requirement. Instead, they should contact the Graduate Studies Office early in the admissions season, before they apply, to discuss the issue. Domestic applicants whose native language is not English and who have not attended schools where instruction is in English, may also be required to submit TOEFL scores.

 

For all those required to take the TOEFL exam, the minimum scores we look for are:

 

Paper Based TOEFL (PBT):
Writing: 60 
Listening: 60
Reading: 60
TWE: 4

Internet-Based TOEFL (iBT):
Writing: 24
Speaking: 22
Reading: 26
Listening: 26

 

For information and questions about the TOEFL, please contact ETS. The University of Virginia School of Law will continue to accept PBT test scores as long as they are available from ETS and are less than two years old.

 

Applicants should arrange to take the TOEFL at the earliest possible date in order to ensure that their applications are completed by the Feb. 1 deadline.

 

Scores must be submitted in accordance with the procedures listed above. To arrange an examination date or for further information, please visit www.TOEFL.org.

 

Applicants should have an official score report sent to LSAC using the LSAC Institutional Code 8395. Applicants may also send a score directly to the University. The University of Virginia Institutional Code Number is 5820 and Department Code 03. Please note that it is not necessary to send a report to the University of Virginia if a report is sent to LSAC.

 

The Graduate Committee will accept a score from the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) in lieu of a TOEFL score. The minimum score we look for on each section of the IELTS exam is 7.5. As with the TOEFL exam, we will not accept scores that are more than two years old. The details found above in the discussion about the TOEFL exam apply to IELTS scores as well. If you have questions concerning submission of an IELTS score, please contact the Graduate Studies Office.
 

We also offer a service available to applicants who wish to supplement their standardized English test scores through InitialView. InitialView offers unscripted interviews with native English speakers who completed their university education in the United States. This allows applicants to converse in a live setting about their unique backgrounds and goals, and to further demonstrate their English language proficiency. Initialview will send a recording of the interview to designated law schools as indicated by the applicants, as additional material for review. For further information and to schedule an interview, please contact InitialView at www.initialview.com. Please note that this is in addition to submitting a TOEFL or IELTS score and not a substitute for either. Applicants may request a Skype interview with a member of the Graduate Committee.

 

7. Deadlines

Applications, including all supporting materials, must be received by Feb. 1. Applications that are not complete on this date will be reviewed on a space-available basis at the discretion of the Graduate Committee. Applicants are notified by email when their applications are complete. If you have not received an email from us telling you that your application is complete, you should not assume it is complete. Candidates are strongly advised to apply early in the fall semester of the year prior to the one for which they seek admission. Although completed applications are not due until Feb. 1, the Graduate Committee follows a "rolling admissions" policy and offers of admission may be made before the Feb. 1 deadline. Therefore, it is advantageous to apply early.

 

After we have extended an offer of admission, we require applicants to pay two successive deposits in order to hold a seat in the class. The initial $500 deposit must be received by the Law School by April 1. Generally, all admitted applicants must make a second, final deposit of $500 by April 15 unless otherwise noted in the offer. Applicants receiving notification of acceptance after April 1 must pay this deposit by the date indicated in their admission offer email. This deposit is not refundable.  Both deposits will be credited towards the applicant’s tuition and fees upon matriculation.

Additional Information

Importance of Full Disclosure 


Falsification of information in an application for graduate studies or failure to provide complete responses to requests for information, including information concerning financial aid status, will be a basis for exclusion from the Law School. In addition, either could result in disciplinary action by bar authorities or loss of legal resident status for noncitizen students. Applicants have a continued duty to disclose even after they have submitted their applications. Students planning to take a bar exam should familiarize themselves with the rules for admission to the bar of the state in which they intend to seek admission, especially those rules relating to character, fitness and other qualifications for practice.

Interviews 


A personal interview is not required as part of the evaluation process. Interested persons are, however, welcome to visit the Law School, sit in on classes and meet with the director or another member of the Graduate Committee. Such visits must be arranged in advance by contacting the Graduate Studies Office. Interested candidates are also able to set up a videoconference or Skype interview.

 

Virginia Residency 


If you are applying for admission as an in-state student, complete the Application for In-State Educational Privileges and submit it directly to the Committee on Virginia Status. The form should be sent either via fax to 434-982-2663, or via email to asl5w@virginia.edu or sad2x@virginia.edu. If you email the form, please be sure that it is a scanned copy with your actual signature on it. This form is not transmitted electronically by LSAC and must be sent separately. We cannot classify you as a resident candidate without this form. If you have any questions about the form or your residency status, please contact the Virginia Status Office at 434-982-3391 or 434-982-3397.

Application Checklist

A complete application contains the following items:

 

  • LL.M. application, completed and submitted electronically through LSAC along with required attachments and optional forms;
  • U.S. $80 application fee paid directly to LSAC;

Document assembly service and international transcript authentication and evaluation service

• Official, school-certified transcripts of grades or marks from all colleges, universities, exchange programs and professional/graduate schools you have attended, even if you did not graduate. These should be submitted directly to LSAC in envelopes sealed by the appropriate school official, who then signs or stamps across the seal. Do not send documents certified by people other than school officials.

 

• Official, school-certified proof of degree document, if proof of degree does not appear on transcript. This document should be sent directly to LSAC in an envelope sealed by the appropriate school official, who then signs or stamps across the seal. Please do not send documents certified by people other than school officials.

 

• An official statement of class rank from the institution at which you earned or will earn your first degree in law. These should be submitted directly to LSAC in envelopes sealed by the appropriate school official who then signs or stamps across the seal. If such rankings are not provided by your school, provide a statement to this effect along with a detailed explanation of the grading system employed and a self-evaluation of your performance within that system. 

English proficiency or TOEFL scores

•​​​​​​​ An official TOEFL, or IELTS score report submitted to LSAC or to UVA.

 

•​​​​​​​ More information about English language requirement and TOEFL scores is available at How to Apply.

 

•​​​​​​​ If you feel you meet one of the very limited exceptions to this requirement, please contact the Graduate Studies Office before December 1 to confirm.

 

•​​​​​​​ We offer a service available to applicants who wish to supplement their standardized English test scores through InitialView. InitialView offers unscripted interviews with native English speakers who completed their university education in the United States. This allows applicants to converse in a live setting about their unique backgrounds and goals, and to further demonstrate their English language proficiency. InitialView will send a recording of the interview to designated law schools indicated by the applicants, as additional material for review. For further information and to schedule an interview, please contact InitialView at www.initialview.com.

Letters of recommendation

•​​​​​​​ At least two, but no more than four, letters of recommendation, sent to LSAC for processing.  Please follow the instructions provided in your LSAC.org account. More information on the letters of recommendation is available here.

 

•​​​​​​​ Please add gradadmitlaw@virginia.edu to your safe senders lists.  Offers of admission and other important information are communicated through email. 

 

•​​​​​​​ Advise us immediately of any mailing or email address changes

 

Important note: Only complete applications are reviewed by the Graduate Committee. The deadline for completed applications is Feb. 1. Applications completed after that date will be reviewed at the committee's discretion.

 

Virginia In-State Educational Privileges

If you are applying for admission as an in-state student, complete the Application for In-State Educational Privileges and submit it directly to the Committee on Virginia Status. The form should be sent either via fax to 434-982-2663, or via email to asl5w@virginia.edu or sad2x@virginia.edu. If you email the form, please be sure that it is a scanned copy with your actual signature on it. This form is not transmitted electronically by LSAC and must be sent separately. We cannot classify you as a resident candidate without this form. If you have any questions about the form or your residency status, please contact the Virginia Status Office at 434-982-3391 or 434-982-3397.

 

PLEASE NOTE: Unless the University rules that you are entitled to Virginia in-state educational privileges, you will be classified as an out-of-state student for all purposes including tuition.

 

•​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​Virginia In-State Education Privileges (PDF)

Financial Information

Tuition

In common with other U.S. law schools, tuition and fees at the University have increased annually in recent years. Applicants should expect tuition and fees to be higher for the 2017-18 academic year than the figures cited below.

 

Taking into account additional estimated expenses (other than travel costs), a typical budget for a single, nonresident graduate student for 2016-17 would be:

 

LL.M. Program, 2016-17

VIRGINIA RESIDENT

NONRESIDENT

Tuition and Fees:

$56,300

$59,300

Living Expenses:

16,808

16,808

Health Insurance (amount expected to change):

2,874

2,874

Books and Supplies:

2,450

2,450

Total:

$78,432

$81,432

 

Students who will be accompanied by a spouse should allow an additional $7,000 and $4,000 for each accompanying child.

 

Health Insurance

Primary health care is available at no additional cost through the Department of Student Health. In addition, the University requires all students to carry health insurance covering accident, injury or illness that may require hospitalization or treatment beyond that provided by Student Health.

 

In order to ensure that all students have adequate health insurance coverage, the University has instituted a “hard waiver” program. Under this program, the University will bill all new and returning students in the fall for the annual cost of single-student coverage under the University’s endorsed student health plan.  Students may avoid having this cost billed to them if they demonstrate to Student Health that they have other health insurance coverage that meets the University’s specific coverage requirements.

 

For additional information on the hard waiver program, including what constitutes “comparable coverage,” please visit the Student Health Website

 

For questions regarding comparable coverage or the online waiver process, please contact Student Health by email at hardwaiver@virginia.edu or telephone (434) 243-2702.

 

Students admitted to the University must complete a medical history form and obtain a physical and tuberculin skin test. Appropriate forms are available online in late spring at www.virginia.edu/studenthealth.

 

All health requirements must be met prior to registration.

 

Financial Aid

If you receive a financial aid grant, it will not cover your tuition and living expenses. Generally, our financial aid grants, when given, cover less than one-third of the cost of tuition. University regulations do not permit “waivers” of tuition. We cannot provide assistance for all deserving applicants, and funds must be allocated on the basis of comparative merit and financial need. Most students must therefore expect to meet their expenses from other sources. Applicants from abroad are encouraged to contact the educational attaché at the U.S. Embassy or consulate in their home country for assistance that may be available under the Fulbright or similar programs.

 

Applicants requesting financial aid should provide detailed and accurate information regarding their finances and, where applicable, the finances of their spouses or parents.In calculating the amount of financial aid to be requested, it is important to distinguish “wants” from “needs” and to apply only for that amount of aid that is actually needed to attend the Law School. Requests for full or nearly full funding cannot be met and will disadvantage the applicant relative to others in determining the allocation of scholarship funds.

 

Any award of financial aid from the School of Law is tentative. If you receive an outside award, you are required to notify the Graduate Program of any changes in your financial situation. Any award from the University of Virginia may be reduced or withdrawn completely due to a change in your financial situation.

 

The employment status of foreign students is closely regulated by U.S. immigration laws. Students with F-1 status may seek limited employment on campus under certain conditions and with the approval of the chair of the Graduate Program Committee. In any case, Law School policy prohibits employment of more than 20 hours per week. The Law School does not have teaching fellowships. Some students may be able to receive limited compensation as research assistants for individual faculty members or from working in the law library. These positions are not available through the Graduate Studies Office but must be individually arranged after the student has completed registration at the Law School.

 

Admissions decisions are made without regard to requests for financial assistance. Awards are generally made only after an applicant has responded with interest to an offer of admission.

 

Loans

Financial assistance through the Federal Family Education Loan Program is available only to citizens and permanent residents of the United States. To inquire about possible loan opportunities for international students, please contact the Law School’s Financial Aid Office at lawfinaid@virginia.edu.

Student Life

Virginia values its reputation as a school that produces graduates who are skilled in law and balanced in life. Law students learn in an environment that fosters cooperative problem-solving and teamwork, building skills every lawyer needs. Students enjoy their time here, growing intellecturally and personally, and at graduation join the thousands of successful alumni who recall their law school years with warmth and enthusiasm. 

 

Virginia is enriched by the scope of student organizations, extracurricular activities and the community spirit that permeaters sutdent life. Opportunities include 10 student-run academic journals, 58 interest-centered organizations, student governance and a vibrant range of social and athletic activities. In addition, the University and local community are both large enough to offer something to meet anyone's interests and small enough to make active participation compatible with a student's rigorous academic schedule. 

 

At Virginia, legal studies take place in what is perhaps the most appealing physical environment found at any law school in the country. The David A.Harrison III Law Grounds feature classrooms, seminar rooms, moot courtrooms, a spacious library with a three-story reading room, new dining facilities, attractive offices for student organizations and numerous studnet lounges.

Living in Charlottesville

Combining the best of city life with the natural beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Charlottesville is both cosmopolitan and relaxed. As the picturesque and thriving metropolitan center for more than 200,000 residents, Charlottesville has kept its small-town feel. Local restaurants have been featured in publications such as Gourmet magazine and The New York Times, and an impressive array of local wineries offers award-winning vintages. The city's proximity to Washington, D.C., as well as its reputation as one of the nation's best places to live, has brought a global cultural infusion to Charlottesville in recent years. Scholars and students seeking a community in which they can relax, find plentiful entertainment and appreciate abundant natural beauty to balance the intense rigors of law teaching and learning will find a home in Charlottesville. 

 

In 2014, Charlottesville made top-10 lists for "best college towns in the country" (More) and even "best college towns for people who aren't in college".

 

Charlottesville has one major north-south corridor, Rt. 29, where most of the major shopping centers are located. The closest shopping area to the school is the Barracks Road Shopping Center. For a full list, seeShopping Centers.

 

The Law School is located on the North Grounds of the University of Virginia, about a mile from Central Grounds. UVA's blue-and-orange buses are free to University students, faculty, and staff. From a bus stop directly in front of the Law School, you can catch a bus every 10 minutes to Central Grounds and the surrounding areas. See the website for routes and schedules.

Housing

Although the University of Virginia provides some graduate housing, space is limited and many Law School students choose to live off-Grounds. We have partnered with a vendor to establish a special site for Law & Darden Off-Grounds Housing, where you can search for housing by area, rent amount and number of bedrooms, as well as use the message boards to find roommates and buy/sell furniture. Monticello Avenue, a Charlottesville-area community website, has an invaluable list of links to realtors, apartments, housing organizations and more. You may also want to check out classifieds atCraigslist, the Charlottesville Daily Progress and C-ville Weekly.

 

Enrolling students are urged to make living accommodations well in advance of their arrival at the University.

 

For Single Students, University accommodations are available in the Range in Thomas Jefferson's Academical Village

 

UVA Housing: Families and Married Students

Furnished and unfurnished apartments for married students and students with families are located inUniversity Gardens and Copeley Hill. University Gardens is an eight-building complex north of the University that contains one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments. Each apartment is furnished with a refrigerator and stove. Copeley Hill is a larger version of University Gardens located near the Law School with one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments (View Map of Northern Grounds). Individuals living with you in family housing must be your financial dependents.

Career Services and Practical Training

The Graduate Studies Office works closely with students to craft a job-search strategy specific to their unique background and interests. 
 

People who come to the United States on a student visa are not permitted to seek permanent employment in the United States. LL.M. graduates may, however, seek permission to remain in the United States for a limited period of "practical training" following graduation. Students should be aware that securing such positions can be challenging and will require significant effort on their parts. The Law School offers assistance to foreign students in their searches for practical training internships with leading international law firms. We also participate annually in the International Student Interview Program coordinated each year by the Columbia University School of Law and co-sponsored by the University of Virginia School of Law and the law schools at the University of Chicago, Columbia University, Harvard, the University of Michigan, Stanford and Yale.

 

As a $2.8 billion a year business, the University is the area's top employer, with more than 12,000 faculty and staff in the areas of information technology, engineering, research and development, business, finance, administration, public relations, athletics and facilities management. UVA encompasses a vast complex of schools, a level-one trauma center and teaching hospital and research facilites, as well as arts and athletic venues.

Bar Admission

The LL.M. degree alone does not qualify foreign lawyers to practice law in the United States. Each state has its own criteria and procedures for admitting lawyers to practice, and requirements vary. Lawyers from abroad seeking information on these requirements should contact the bar examiners in the state in which they wish to practice. In recent years, approximately one-third of Virginia's graduate law students have taken a bar examination following their graduation; most take the New York Bar.

Additional Information

University of Virginia

In 1819 Thomas Jefferson fulfilled his lifelong ambition to create a new and better institution of higher learning. The University of Virginia would prepare America's future leaders to protect their young democracy. It would facilitate open exchange between students and professors, unlock the potential of the nation's best and brightest minds, and encourage students and faculty to advance knowledge and break traditional boundaries.

 

As one of the top three U.S. public universities, we are committed to developing the full potential of talented students from all walks of life. Our enduring legacy of honor and student self-governance prepares tomorrow's leaders for the challenges they are sure to face. Our health system advances scientific discovery while providing first-rate patient care. our rich academic resources--paired with our focus on cross-disciplinary collaboration--further what Jefferson described as "the illimitable freedom of the human mind.”

Leaders are made here

  • The Lawn is one of UVA's most iconic features. It's also an essential part of our culture, manifesting Jefferson's vision of an Academical Village where students and professors live and study side-by-side.
  • Students govern themselves at the University, upholding a timeless commitment to honor, integrity, trust and respect—and gaining the responsibility they'll need as future leaders.
  • We believe great leaders, thinkers and innovators come from all walks of life. That's why our financial aid model makes a top education affordable to the best and brightest students— regardless of their ability to pay.

About the School of Law

Founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.

 

A faculty of nationally acclaimed experts and outstanding teachers lead Virginia's 1,000 students to appreciate the power of law to shape human behavior and to influence political, social and cultural life.



Virginia is justly famous for its collegial environment that bonds students and faculty, and student satisfaction is consistently cited as among the highest at American law schools. Students learn together, rading each other's work and freely sharing course outlines and other materials, confidently relying on the nation's oldest student-run honor system to maintain the highest ethical standards. At Virginia, law students share their experiences in a cooperative spirit, both in and out of the classroom, and build a network that lasts well beyond their three years here.

 

Surrounded by inviting gardens and an elegant, tree-lined lawn, the Law School reflects Jefferson's conviction that locating an intellectual community within a beautiful environment fosters learning and personal growth.

 

With more than 23,000 students and 2,100 faculty members, the University of Virginia has achieved national prominence in many disciplines and has been ranked first or second among the nation's public universities since 1984. The University is proud to be recognized as a major research institution with an uncommonly strong commitment to teaching. It also maintains a strong tradition of student self-governance. Forever marked by the vision and foresight of Thomos Jefferson, the architectural heritage confers a sense of place, and Jefferson's original buildings are still in use. In the Jeffersonian tradition, the University maintains the best traditions of the past, yet is boldly oriented to the future. 

 

The Law School and its faculty cltivate relationships with several University institutes and centers - including the Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy, the Miller Center of Public Affairs and the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy - allowing opportunities for interdisciplinary scholarship and event programming. Law students also benefit from a strong relationship with the University; up to 12 credits from other departments may count toward the J.D. degree.

Faculty Life

In any given year the law school includes about 80 resident full-time faculty members, about 15 faculty who teach a course at the Law School but who focus on disciplines other than law, several visiting professors, and more than 100 lecturers, adjuncts or part-time instructors. 

 

The faculty represents an exceptional diversity of interests and includes leading scholars and acknowledged experts in all aspects of public and private law. Reflecting the Law School's emphasis on the interdisciplinary study of law, a number of faculty also hold doctoral degrees in a variety of related fields, including economics, history, philosophy, psychology and medicine. 

 

The faculty is enriched each year by visitors rom other leading law schools here and abroad, as well as by new regular faculty appointees at both junior and senior levels. This infusion of new teaching and scholarly talents adds freshness and vitality to the Law School community. Beyond the Law Grounds, faculty members are engaged by law firms, corporations and government agencies as consultants. They share their expertise with U.S. congressional panels debating proposed federal laws, with foreign governments drafting new constitutions and with federal judges trying to understand developments at the forefront of the law. They engage generously in pro bono work, and are active in the local community, in professional organizations and in service to the Commonwealth of Virginia. 

 

Faculty at Virginia care about teaching and keep their doors open to students. They help them organize conferences, advise on research and careers, and helpp create a community outside of class. 

 

Virginia is known for its collegial atmosphere and hallway conversations. Faculty members feel comfortable sharing working papers and seeking feedback from their colleagues. Each junior faculty member has a senior faculty sponsor, who offers guidance and support. Opportunities to share scholarly ideas at an early stage include incubator lunches, in which small gatherings of faculty participate. The Law School also hosts weekly faculty workshops and interdisciplinary workshops in economics, legal history and legal theory with leading professors from Virginia and across the country. The Interllectural Life Fund provides faculty with resources to fund colloquia, speakers and conferences.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What kind of LL.M. Degree does Virginia Law Offer?

Virginia Law’s LL.M. program leads to a general LL.M. degree. While the Law School does not offer designated majors or award specialized degrees or certificates, students are free to concentrate their studies in one or more specialized areas of law.

 

2. What does Virginia Law look for in an applicant?

Demonstrated excellence in prior law study is essential. The Graduate Committee also considers evidence of an applicant’s personality, accomplishments, and potential for professional achievement as revealed through letters of recommendation, extracurricular activities, personal interests, and prior legal (or law-related) experience.

 

The principal criterion for admission is the closeness of the fit between the applicant’s professional interests and the Law School’s resources. For that reason, the Committee places special weight on an applicant’s stated reasons for wanting to pursue graduate legal studies and his/her principal intellectual interests and career plans.

 

3. Will I be able to take a U.S. bar exam after I complete my LL.M. degree?

The LL.M. degree alone does not qualify foreign lawyers to practice law in the United States. Each of the 50 states has its own criteria and procedures for admitting lawyers to practice, and requirements vary. Lawyers from abroad seeking information on these requirements should contact the bar examiners in the state in which they wish to practice.

For further information, please consult the following websites:

 

 

4. Does Virginia Law offer financial aid?

A limited amount of financial assistance is available from the Law School. If you do receive a financial aid grant, it will not cover your tuition and living expenses. Generally, our financial aid grants, when given, cover less than one-third of the cost of tuition. University regulations do not permit “waivers” of tuition.

 

Admissions decisions are made without regard to requests for financial assistance. Financial aid decisions are based on need and merit. Awards are generally made only after an applicant has been offered admission and has expressed continued, strong interest in attending Virginia Law.

 

5. How does the visa process work?

International students at the University of Virginia are subject to U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations. Prospective non-immigrant students applying to enter this institution from abroad, or who are already in the U.S.A., are personally responsible for complying with DHS regulations. University policy states: "To enroll at the University a foreign national student must be lawfully present in the United States based on U.S. federal immigration law and any visa status held must not prohibit the desired University enrollment." Most international students attending the University of Virginia use either the F-1 or J-1 visa.

 

Evidence of financial capability in support of a visa application will be requested only after an offer of admission is made to the applicant. After receipt of acceptable financial affidavits, the International Student & Scholar Programs Office of the University of Virginia will send the applicant a form I-20 (required for the F visa) or a form DS-2019 (required for the J visa). Most students apply for an F-1 visa stamp at a U.S. consulate abroad. In general, only after receiving an F-1 visa stamp may these students apply to enter the U.S. in F-1 status.

Why University of Virginia School of Law?

  • It is the Best Place to live in America - Frommer's "Cities Ranked and Rated," 2004
  • It is the Best Climate on the East Coast - American Association of State Climatologists
  • It is No.6 in Top 10 cities that have it all - Arts & Entertainment TV
  • It is No.7 Best Place to Raise a family - Reader's Digest

 

In 2007 the National Trust for Preservation named the area as a "Dozen Distinctive Destination" for its emphasis on historic preservation alongside modern development. 

 

The University of Virginia is the only university in the United States to be designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

 

Collegial, cooperative, intellectually enagaing - the University of Virginia School of Law offers an environment that encourages personal and professional growth among its faculty and students.

Visiting the School

Video Tour of the University of Virginia School of Law (2012)

Curriculum

Virginia offers more than 250 courses and seminars each year, most of which are open to LL.M. students. Graduate students are encouraged to immerse themselves in the intellectual life of the Law School and will generally be enrolled in courses and seminars with upper-level J.D. students to encourage the exchange of viewpoints influenced by different cultural and life experiences. Elective courses include interdisciplinary offerings such as law and economics, law and social science, and law and medicine. Elective classes might be as small as 10 students or as large as 150.

 

Students pursuing interdisciplinary ideas benefit from an environment where nearly half of all law faculty also hold advanced degrees in fields such as psychology, economics, philosophy, history, medicine and theology. Outside the classroom, students plan and program many of the conferences, lectures and panels that enrich the school's intellectual life.

 

A full-time faculty of more than 80 teaches the vast majority of offerings, but the Law School is also proud of a roster of more than 100 adjunct faculty members or part-time instructors, many from major East Coast and local law firms who teach in specialty areas. More than 15 visiting faculty from the United States and abroad supplement the School's offerings with short and semester-long courses.

 

Incoming LL.M. students whose native language is not English are required to take Graduate Legal Research and Writing, but any LL.M. student may choose to take the course. Designed for LL.M. students unfamiliar with the U.S. legal system, this class introduces students to the fundamentals of U.S. legal research materials, methods and strategies as well as various forms of legal writing.

 

All LL.M. students must satisfy the writing requirement (a substantial research paper). Beyond these requirements, students are invited to be creative in selecting courses and research topics. For example, students wishing to specialize in international human rights may register for the basic course and seminars offered in that area. But such students would enrich their understanding by sampling from the variety of courses that explore legal approaches to similar issues in an American context, including courses dealing with civil rights, employment discrimination and immigration law. Similarly, students planning a law practice in international business transactions may choose from a menu that includes foundational courses in American corporate, commercial and regulatory law, as well as courses with an explicit focus on international business, trade and litigation. This process can be repeated for virtually every other field of legal study that demonstrate the Law School's commitment to intellectual diversity and individualized courses of study.Courses by Concentration/Subject
 

The assistant dean for graduate studies and the chair of the Graduate Committee will work with students individually to design a course of study based on each student’s personal and professional objectives. If a student is planning to take the New York bar exam following graduation, we will work with each student individually to ensure that his or her planned course selections meet the requirements prescribed by the New York Court of Appeals.

Concentrations

Browse Current Courses by Concentration

 

The following is a list of courses, by concentration, offered during 2013-16. Several courses are listed in more than one concentration. Numbers in parentheses indicate which academic year(s) the courses were offered, i.e., 2013-14 is coded (14), 2014-15 is coded (15), and 2015-16 is coded (16). Students are not required to follow a particular concentration.