Eligibility for the LL.M. Program
The School of Law offers three graduate study programs in law leading to the master of laws degree: the LL.M. (Taxation); the LL.M. (Urban Affairs); and the LL.M. in Lawyering. The LL.M in Lawyering permits students to emphasize their study in one of eight emphasis areas or in an areas of the student’s choice based on the curriculum, subject to approval by the student’s academic advisor and to availability of courses. Admission to the LL.M programs in taxation and urban affairs is limited to applicants who have attained the juris doctor or equivalent degree from an approved law school and who have a law school GPA of at least 2.7 on a 4.0 scale.
Admission to the LL.M. in Lawyering requires a degree in law which may be a bachelor’s degree, an LL.B., a juris doctor or some other law degree from an accredited or similarly recognized institution. The LL.M. in Lawyering does not have a minimum GPA requirement, but academic performance is a significant consideration in the admissions decision. If the law degree was obtained at an institution where the language of instruction is not English, the applicant must also demonstrate English competency through either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) examinations and in an admissions interview. Successful applicants typically have a minimum TOEFL score of 550 on the paper exam or 80 on the Internet version, or a minimum IELTS score of 5.5, but not all students with scores that meet the minimum requirements will be admitted. In some cases, the School of Law will require additional English student at UMKC prior to the start of the LL.M. program as a condition of admission.
An LL.M. admission application, application fee and official law school (if applicable) and undergraduate transcripts must be submitted for admission. In addition, the LL.M. in Lawyering requires a personal statement and one letter of recommendation. International students whose first language is not English or whose law instruction was not in English also must provide an office TOEFL or IELTS score, literal English translations of academic credentials that are not in English, a copy of the biographical information page from the applicant’s passport, and an original or certified copy of a financial statement proving financial ability to pay the first year of educational and living expenses. If a letter of support is provided for the financial proof, the letter must be notarized and must explain the relationship between the sponsor and the applicant. Documents that are not in English must be accompanied by an English translation. International students also must have an interview with the Director or Associate Director of the LL.M. in Lawyering as part of the application process.
There is no formal application deadline for the LL.M. programs in taxation and urban affairs, but early submission of applications is recommended.
The application deadline for the LL.M. in Lawyering is March 1 to allow time for international students to obtain their visas, but applications are accepted after the deadline subject to availability in the entering class.
Master of Law Degree Requirements
- Completion of 24 credit hours. For taxation and urban affairs, 18 of the 24 credit hours must be taken from the list of required and elective courses provided for each program. For the LL.M. in Lawyering, the student must take four required courses (unless an equivalent course was taken in an accredited U.S. J.D. program), and elective courses as required for the specific emphasis area or as approved by the academic advisor.
- A cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 is required for the LL.M. (Urban Affairs), at least 2.7 for the LL.M. (Taxation), and 2.0 for the LL.M. in Lawyering.
- Completion of all required courses. See the "Required Courses" for each program.
- Enrollment in a minimum of 2-4 credit hours each semester.
- Successful completion of all coursework (including thesis, if applicable) within three years from the beginning of the course of studies leading toward the degree.
Upon enrollment in the graduate program, a student is assigned a faculty advisor. In consultation with the advisor, the student develops a plan of study that meets the requirements for the degree in the program area selected. The advisor must approve enrollment in all courses. Post-J.D. study may be undertaken on a non-LL.M. basis. Applicants who wish to obtain an LL.M. degree but who do not have the required grade-point average may be permitted to enroll as a non-degree candidate. They may be considered for later admission to the degree program on the basis of performance in courses taken as a non-degree candidate. Additional information on the specific programs, can be found at the law school's website.