Howard University

Master of Law (LLM) Application and Brochure

Howard University School of Law


The Master of Law (LLM) Program offers a graduate law degree to qualifying lawyers who have obtained their law degree from a law school outside of the United States. The program builds on the Howard University School of Law’s rich history as a center for creative legal scholarship and advocacy. Graduates are expected to strengthen the rule of law, promote justice and contribute to international legal harmony. The program particularly seeks to cater to the social and economic interests and needs of the developing world.

Howard graduates historically have filled roles of importance in their respective countries. Many have assumed high positions in government and in the judiciary. Others have pursued further graduate studies in Doctor of Juridical Science programs. Still others are using their familiarity with the U.S. Legal System as they practice law.

The World’s Resources at Your Doorstep

Washington, D.C. is home to one of the greatest collections of intellectual, physical and personnel resources in the world, including federal courts, the Congress, the Executive Branch of government, the Library of Congress and the many local offices of corporations and associations. A regular program of seminars and round tables permits students to discuss current issues and the U.S. system of law with judges, members of congress, ambassadors, and others who help to shape law and policy. Field trips take students to the U.S. Supreme Court and other important sources of influence on the U.S. legal system. The Graduate Program makes a concerted effort to introduce students to the rich tapestry of legal expertise and international policy making apparatus in Washington, D.C., which is the U.S. capital and the “City of Lawyers”. We draw on these resources to enrich the educational experience of the Master of Laws Candidates. When opportunities are available and appropriate arrangements can be made, a Candidate may be offered a period of internship in a private law office, judge’s chambers, government agency, or another institution of legal interest.


Howard University was founded by an Act of Congress on March 2, 1867. The Charter of Howard University provides for normal, collegiate, theological, legal, medical, and agricultural departments, along with such other departments as the Board of Trustees might establish. Since its inception, the University has grown from a single frame building to three campuses occupying some 75 acres in the nation’s capital. Currently, the University has 17 schools and colleges that embody a tradition of academic excellence. More than 2,000 faculty members teach a student body of over 11,000. The University offers degree programs in more than 200 specialized subjects and doctorates in more than 23 academic disciplines. An array of institutes and centers addresses a number of national concerns, as well as those of the immediate Washington community. In 1993 the University received a substantial grant to support establishing the Ralph J. Bunche Center for International Affairs.


The School of Law admitted its first class in 1869. The first 10 Graduates from this class included the nation’s first black woman law student, who became the fourth woman admitted to the practice of law in the United States. Since its founding, Howard University School of Law has retained the very special position for which it was expressly created: to offer educational advantages without regard to race, creed, color, or sex. The Law School’s aim is to provide professional leadership for the social changes that this country and the world are experiencing.

Because the School of Law purposely limits the size of its student body, the faculty-student ratio is 1 to 10, thereby fostering close, frequent contacts between professors and students. Students get to know and meet with their professors in an informal atmosphere.

The basic program of the School of Law is the first degree – the Juris Doctor (J.D.) to which 3 years of full-time study must be devoted by students who hold an undergraduate degree. The School of Law also offers a joint Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration (J.D. /M.B.A) degree, as well as the Master of Laws Program.

Located in the heart of Washington, DC, the School of Law gives students the advantage of its location as they experience and learn from a broad range of activities in our nation’s capital. Few cities in the world can offer such a diverse educational experience. The School of Law gives students a sample of such opportunities. Recent visitors to the campus have included Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, members of Congress, state-elected officials such as the Governor of the State of Virginia, diplomats, partners in major law firms, and respected members of academia. Within the pleasantly wooded West Campus of Howard University, the School of Law is just off the main thoroughfare of Connecticut Avenue in Northwest Washington and is one block from Metro subway’s Van Ness-UDC Station.


The Master of Laws Program is designed to take advantage of both the academic strength of the School of Law and the resources available in Washington, D.C. Students observe both academic and practical aspects of the law and legal thought through basic courses and seminars that are supplemented by symposia, roundtable discussions, and Graduate Forums. At the Forums, LLM candidates discuss certain aspects of the law in their respective countries. LLM Candidates must write a thesis of publishable quality under the supervision of faculty members.


The School of Law offers a general LLM degree or a specialized LLM degree. All degree Candidates must successfully complete the following requirements:

  • Credits – Earn 24 academic credits.
  • Required Course – Complete successfully the 2-credit course on “Introduction to the U.S. Legal System”.
  • Residency – Be registered as a full-time (at least 9 credit hours) resident student for a minimum of 2 consecutive semesters.
  • Research and Writing – Complete successfully a Thesis
  • General requirements – Otherwise satisfy the School of Law’s requirements for graduation.

The Law School offers the option of an additional Certificate in Comparative and International Law. Candidates who wish to receive the additional certificate must have completed successfully a minimum of 15 academic credits in designated courses in Comparative and International Law and must have completed a Thesis in that area of study.


Grading is on a numerical scale of 50-100. A Master of Laws Candidate must maintain a minimum grade point average of 77 (C+). However, a candidate must earn a grade of no less than 70 (C) in each course in order to receive credit for that course. There is one special circumstance: the minimum acceptable grade for a Thesis is 80 (B).


Although the School of Law maintains a basic law school curriculum to satisfy its J.D. candidates, it also offers a range of elective courses that change periodically. A Master of Laws Candidate may select from the various courses in designing a program of study. Below are sample programs.They are merely illustrations;

The academic year consists of 2 semesters. Most students register for 12-15 credit hours each semester.


(32 credits with seminars)

Comparative Law—3 credits (seminar)
Conflicts of Law—3 credits
Contracts—5 credits
Corporations—3 credits
Federal Taxation—3 credits
International Law—3 Credits
International Business transactions—3 credits (seminar)
International Economic Law and Organization—3 credits (seminar)
International Sales—3 credits
Problems of World Order—3 credits (seminar)
Thesis—4 credits


(28 credits with thesis)

Comparative Law - 3 credits (seminar)
Constitutional Law I - 3 credits
Constitutional Law II - 3 credits
International Law - 3 credits
International Law of Human Rights - 3 credits (seminar)
Race, Law, and Change - 3 credits (seminar)
Civil Rights Planning - 3 credits
Administrative Process and Civil Rights - 3 credits
Thesis - 4 credits
Death Penalty - (seminar)

Contracts - 5 credits
Torts - 5 credits
Property - 5 credits
Criminal Law and Procedure - 4 credits
Evidence - 4 credits
Constitutional Law I - 3 credits
Family Law - 3 credits
Commercial Paper - 2 credits
Thesis - 4 credits


As an LLM candidate, you must have a first degree in law from an accredited law faculty of a foreign law school or an equivalent qualification to be determined by the School of Law’s Graduate Committee, along with a demonstrated high degree of academic excellence and promise.

Before your application can be reviewed, the Director of the Graduate Program must receive the following documents:

  • A completed Application for admission to the School of Law’s LLM Program.
  • A brief (2—3 pages) autobiographical sketch that is typed and describes your professional goals and the role of an LLM degree in fulfilling those goals. Howard University School of Law
  • Official transcripts of your record from both the university you attended as an undergraduate and the institution you attended for legal study. Each institution must send original transcripts directly to the Director of the Graduate Program.
  • An essay in English of 5 typed pages written by you and describing either an aspect of your country’s legal system or your intended thesis dissertation.
  • For applicants whose mother tongue is not English or for applicants from non-English speaking countries, the results of the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language Test) Test showing you have achieved a score of 550 PBT or 58 IBT or higher. Inquiries about the TOEFL Test should be directed to the World Education Service Attention: TOEFL.
  • Two letters of recommendation as to your character and academic potential for participating in a graduate law program. At least one letter of recommendation must be written by a member of your law school’s faculty. Recommendations must be from persons not related to you and must be sent by each person directly to the Office of Admissions.
  • A nonrefundable application fee of $60 in the form of a cashier’s check or money order listing Howard University as payee. No personal checks will be accepted.
  • One passport-size photograph.

All applications and supporting documentation (such as letters of reference and transcripts) from LLM candidates seeking admission must be received by March 14, 2014 to be considered for the Fall 2014 Semester.

Questions concerning immigration into the United States should be directed to:
The Office of International Student Services, Howard University, 2400 6th St., NW, Washington, DC 20059: Phone (202) 806-7517. FAX (202) 806-9194.


Students who formally apply to Howard University must pay an application fee of $60. Those who are accepted must also pay an enrollment fee of $150 and a deposit of $50. These fees cannot be waived and are not refundable. Tuition and fees for full-time students are in excess of $31,000 per year. When applicable, there is a late registration fee of $150 and a deferred payment fee of $50. Students should also expect to spend a minimum of approximately $26,000 per academic year to cover living expenses (such as lodging, meals, transportation, books, and other routine expenses).


As a rule, the School of Law does not offer scholarship assistance to Master of Laws Candidates. When you register, you may apply for a loan or for deferred payment terms on your tuition and fees.

For further information, please contact The Financial Aid Office, Howard University School of Law, 2900 Van Ness Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20008; Phone (202) 806-8005 or Fax (202) 806-8564.

You should inquire at the U.S. Embassy in your country about assistance for travel and other expenses.


The School of Law does not provide “On Campus Housing.” There is limited housing on the main campus, which is located approximately 5 miles from the law school. However, graduate law students usually are not given on-campus housing. LL.M. students who want help in finding housing should write to Howard Plaza Towers, 2251 Sherman Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001; Phone (202) 797-7148.

Correspondence: Direct inquiries about the Master of Laws Program to: The Director of the Graduate Program, Howard University School of Law, 2900 Van Ness St, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008; phone (202) 806-8008 or fax (202) 806-8162. For admission and application, information please contact the Office of Admission at (202) 806-8008/9.

Nondiscrimination: The mission of Howard University includes providing education for any student, while emphasizing educational opportunities for students who might not other wise have an opportunity to acquire an education of the type provided at Howard. In fulfilling its mission, the University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin, sex, marital status, religion, or handicap as it administers its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and other University-sponsored programs and employment.

updated: October 22, 2013