General LL.M.

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

About the General LL.M.

Program Overview

The general LL.M. program offers law graduates an opportunity to broaden their backgrounds in certain specialized areas of law by enrolling in advanced courses and seminars and by engaging in specialized research. Although the School of Law awards no specific subject designated LL.M. degrees under this program, most students seeking this degree concentrate in areas such as corporate and commercial law, international law, legal practice and procedure, natural resources law, or property law.


Degree Requirements

To receive the general LL.M. degree the student must meet all of the following requirements:


(A) Residence in the School of Law for no fewer than two terms if a full-time student and no fewer than three terms if a part-time student.


(B) Completion of 24 term hours in courses, seminars, or research and writing recommended by the student's academic adviser. A student entering the program must have an average of C or 2.00 on all courses taken. The requisite G.P.A. of C or 2.00 must be obtained in the first 24 credit hours. A student will not receive credit for a course or seminar in which his or her grade is below D or 1.00.


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


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


A student has the option of writing a Master's thesis (for four to six credit hours). This thesis must be written under the direction of a professor at the School of Law and must be approved by both the professor and the Committee on Graduate Legal Studies. After the supervising professor approves the thesis, the student must submit four copies of the thesis to the Committee on Graduate Legal Studies at least 60 days before the date on which the student seeks to receive the degree. In writing the thesis, the student must comply with committee instructions. A thesis is either approved or disapproved; it is not graded.


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


Admission Criteria

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


Application Requirements

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

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


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


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


Application Deadline

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


Tuition Fees

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


Tuition         $45,433

Fees             $5,664


Estimated Expenses


Books   $1,000

Living Expenses $15,000

Miscellaneous $2,500


Total $69,597*


*Note: The total cost above does not include travel between the student’s home country and the Dallas area. If you are bringing family to the United States, you are required to show proof of an additional $7,000 for one dependent.  If you are bringing more than one dependent, in addition to the $7,000, you are required to show proof of $3,000 per dependent.


Scholarships & Financial Aid

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


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