Graduate Tax Program

Suggested Curricula

Students studying tax at NYU have a fair amount of flexibility in designing their programs, subject to the specific requirements described below. For a complete list of courses and for course descriptions, please visit the Course Management System.

Course Requirements

In General

Credits Required: Most students in the full-time and part-time programs must successfully complete 24 credits. The part-time Taxation LLM program also requires that at least 12 credits be taken on-campus.  The entirely-online MSL program in taxation requires 24 or 30 credits, depending on whether a candidate has earned a prior master's degree. Our certificate programs in taxation only require 12 credits.  Those who earned their first law degree outside of a common law jurisdiction are required to take 27 credits, which include three introductory credits taken in mid-August.

There are some tax classes offered at NYU School of Law that are not creditable towards the LLM in Taxation, such as Income Taxation, the tax clinic, Survey of Income Taxation, etc. Students are expected to have taken a basic course in income taxation before beginning their studies for the LLM in Taxation. Of the 24 credits required to graduate, at least 20 must be in creditable tax classes. The remaining 4 credits can be non-tax elective credits consisting of upper level law or business classes. Taxation LLM students may not enroll in any clinic.

Up to four credits may be transferred from another law school, subject to approval by the Vice Dean. However, transfer credits will be counted as non-tax elective credits, even if the substantive area covered by the class was taxation. Therefore, all Taxation LLM students must take at least 20 credits in taxation at NYU School of Law.

Students seeking the joint JD/LLM in Taxation should refer to the requirements for the JD/LLM in Taxation program.

Period of Study: Full-time students generally complete the degree in one year, beginning in August and ending in May.  Students in the part-time Tax LL.M., Executive LLM, and MSL programs have five years to complete their studies.  Students in the tax certificate programs have four years t complete their studies.

Special note for students whose first law degree was earned outside the U.S.:

International Tax Program students should examine the Required Curriculum for that program, as that program has very specific course requirements.  Attorneys in the Tax LLM program whose first degree was earned outside the U.S. who wish to take the New York bar exam should contact John Stephens to discuss the specific course work they must take to qualify for the bar exam.  (Students in the International Tax Program will receive this bar exam eligibility information in a summer registration memorandum.)

Required and Recommended Courses

All full-time LLM in Taxation students must take a tax procedure course for either 1 or 2 credits (students may choose from Survey of Tax Procedure, Tax Procedure, or Tax Penalties & Prosecutions) and a course in tax policy (These courses typically include: Tax Policy and Public Finance Colloquium, Comparative Tax Policy, Federal Budget Policy and Process Seminar, or Tax Policy Seminar). Part-time Tax LLM, Executive LLM, and MSL students are required to take a tax procedure course for either 1 or 2 credits, but are not required to take a tax policy course.

If you have taken a tax procedure or tax policy course(s) in law school, either or both of these requirements may be waived, subject approval of the program director, though a waiver of this required course does not reduce the required number of credits.

Aside from the tax procedure (full and part-time) and tax policy (full-time only) requirements, you are free to design your program to suit your individual needs. We recommend that all students should get exposure to corporate tax, partnership tax, and international tax. Almost all students take Corporate Tax with us, unless they have already taken a JD-level course covering sections 304, 305, 306, 351, and 368. All students should consider taking Taxation of Property Transactions, as it gives you a "basis" in concepts that pervade the tax law and all of your classes. We should caution that while this course may cover foundational concepts, it is not an easy course. It is recommended that you take Taxation of Property Transactions if your JD courses did not cover such issues as the treatment of non-recourse debt, basic financial instruments, limitations on losses, and capital gains. Instructors in the more advanced courses assume that you have mastered this material and do not spend class time reviewing these issues and concepts.

Because NYU has such a wide selection of tax courses, it is possible for you to design your program of study to concentrate on areas of particular interest. These areas include General Taxation, Business Taxation, International Taxation, Estate Planning, and Tax Policy.  Below, we have listed some course combinations you may want to consider, depending on the area you wish to practice in.  These are just suggestions.  Some of these courses are not offered in every academic year (e.g., Advanced Corporate Tax Problems: International), though most are. Students in the Executive LLM and MSL programs should note that most, but not all, of the courses listed below are offered online.  Again, these are simply suggested curricula, and John Stephens or a faculty member can suggest alternative suggestions from our full course listings.

Areas of Concentration in Taxation

General Taxation

If you are seeking a general background in taxation, we recommend a broad exposure. A typical schedule might include:

Timing Issues and the Income Tax 2 credits
Taxation of Property Transactions 3 credits
Estate and Gift Taxation 2-3 credits
Survey of Tax Procedure 1 credits
Corporate Taxation I & II 4 credits
Tax Policy 2 credits
Survey of International Tax or International Tax I & II 3 or 4 credits
Partnership Taxation 3 credits
Elective 2-3 credits
Total 24 credits

Of course, your exact schedule depends on your background and interests. Your electives might include an advanced course in a particular area (e.g., Taxation of Financial Instruments, Multistate Tax, Tax Treaties, etc.) Part-time students who have taken a course in corporate taxation at the JD level, but who would like additional coverage of taxable and tax-free corporate mergers and acquisitions should consider taking the two credit course Corporate Tax II.

Business Taxation

The core of NYU's business tax offerings consists of the following courses: Corporate Taxation I & II (4 credits), Partnership Taxation (3 credits), International Tax I & II (4 credits), Taxation of Mergers & Acquisitions (2 credits), Advanced Corporate Tax Problems: International (2 credits), Taxation of Affiliated Corporations (2 credits), Bankruptcy Taxation (2 credits), Executive Compensation (2 credits), and Taxation of Business Conduits (2 credits). You also should consider taking one or more of our advanced offerings in international taxation, Taxation of S Corporations (2 credits), and Taxation of Financial Instruments (2 credits). This area of concentration is designed for students who wish to concentrate in business tax. Depending on your prior scholastic or practice experience, several courses in the corporate area are also recommended for those wishing to concentrate in international taxation.

The recommended sequencing of courses in the business tax track is as follows: (1) Corporate Taxation I & II) (2) Taxation of Mergers & Acquisitions, (3) ACTP and (4) Taxation of Affiliated Corporations. Full-time students who have not already taken a course on corporate tax should take Corporate Taxation I & II in their fall semester. Students with a solid background in corporate taxation are strongly encouraged to proceed to advanced corporate offerings. Students who have taken a JD course in corporate taxation but would like additional coverage of taxable and tax-free corporate mergers and acquisitions should take the two credit course Corporate Tax II.

Other recommended courses are Taxation of Property Transactions and Timing Issues. A typical program of study might be as follows:

Elective 2 credits
Taxation of Property Transactions 3 credits
Survey of Tax Procedure 1 credit
Corporate Tax I & II 4 credits
Tax Policy 2 credits
Survey of International Tax or International Tax I & II 3 or 4 credits
Partnership Taxation 3 credits
Taxation of M & A 2 credits
ACTP: International (*not offered in all years *only offered on campus) 2 credits
Taxation of Affiliated Corporations 2 credits
Total 25 credits

If you have already taken corporate taxation in your JD program, we recommend that you proceed to more advanced courses.


International Taxation

The core of our offerings in international taxation consists of the following courses: International Tax I & II (4 credits), International Tax III (2 credits), Tax Treaties, ACTP International, International Business Transactions, International Tax Policy, and Comparative Tax Policy. We believe it is essential that you have taken a course in corporate taxation at the JD level or that you take Corporate Taxation I & II at NYU in your first semester for this course of study. If you have recently completed a corporate tax course, you should consider taking Taxation of Mergers & Acquisitions as part of your study of international tax.

Each year, a global visiting professor will offer courses in the international tax area. Courses taught by these professors typically include such topics as Comparative Tax Policy, European Community Taxation, International Tax Policy, and the like. Descriptions of all course offerings are available on the NYU School of Law Web site.

A typical course of study would be:

Taxation of Property Transactions 3 credits
Survey of Tax Procedure 1 credit
Corporate Tax I & II 4 credits
International Tax I & II 4 credits
International Tax Policy (*not offered in all years *only offered on campus) 2 credits
International Tax III 2 credits
Tax Treaties (*only offered on campus) 2 credits
Taxation of Mergers and Acquisitions 2 credits
Transfer Pricing

1 credit

Timing Issues and the Income Tax 2 credits
Total 23 credits (1 credit remaining for an elective)

The instructor's permission is required to enroll in International Business Transactions, which is offered only in the spring semester.


Estate Planning

The core of our offerings in the estate planning area consists of six courses: Estate & Gift Taxation (2 or 3 credits), Estate Planning (2 credits), Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax (1 credit), Income Taxation of Trusts & Estates I (2 credits), and Income Taxation of Trusts & Estates II (2 credits). It is our experience that students who have taken estate and gift taxation at the JD level need not repeat the class at NYU School of Law. You should consider taking Tax Exempt Organizations (2 credits) and Tax Aspects of Charitable Giving (2 credits). Many practitioners in this area also find state and local tax issues to be relevant, so consider the Multistate Tax classes. To practice effectively in this area, it is important to have a good general background in taxation. Therefore, we recommend that you select from among the following courses (if you haven't taken them already): Taxation of Property Transactions, Corporate Taxation I & II, Partnership Taxation, and Timing Issues.

A typical program, if you have previously taken estate and gift tax in law school, might be as follows:

Timing Issues

2 credits

Taxation of Property Transactions 3 credits
Survey of Tax Procedure 1 credit
Income Tax of Trusts and Estates I 2 credits
Income Tax of Trusts and Estates II 2 credits
Estate Planning 2 credits
Partnership Taxation 3 credits
Tax Aspects of Charitable Giving 2 credits
International Taxation I & II 4 credits
Tax Policy 2 credits
Taxation of Subchapter S Corporations 2 credits
Total 25 credits

Tax Policy

If you are interested in a career in government or in teaching, you should strive to obtain a broad exposure to both tax policy and substantive tax issues. We offer a broad variety of tax policy courses. In addition, we recommend taking non-policy courses to round out your tax background. We may limit students to a single tax policy course until the first week of the course in question. Students should exercise care when bidding on more than one tax policy course and can contact the tax office closer to the start of the course to see if additional policy courses may be taken.

Other Areas of Concentration

In addition to the following areas of concentration, NYU School of Law offers a variety of courses in other areas of interest such as State and Local Taxation and Employee Benefits Law.


No Independent Writing Requirement

There is no independent writing requirement for students in the LLM in Taxation Program. With permission, you may receive up to two credits for a directed research project supervised by one of the tax faculty. No exceptions can be made to the maximum of 2 credits for directed research.


Online Courses

Some of our courses are available online to students in our part-time LLM program, executive LLM program, MSL, and certificate programs. Full-time students may only register for an online class for academic credit in two situations: 1). The course is not otherwise offered on-campus in the fall or spring semester; or 2). Exigent circumstances, for example: a significant medical issue that prevents a student from taking on-campus courses. However, with faculty permission, students may register for an audit of an online course, which differs from auditing an on-campus course in that it appears on the transcript and incurs a tuition charge for students billed on a per-credit basis and counts towards the ceiling of 15 credits a full-time student can take each semester.

Videos are posted on a course website, and students who have access to the videos may watch and rewatch them during the semester. After the semester has ended and the exam has been given, the videos are usually removed. Online courses fall into three categories: combined, parallel, and online-only. Combined courses are on campus courses that are being currently recorded and offered online, with the videos typically posted within 24 hours. The videos feature the faculty interacting with the on campus students. All students in both sections prepare for class by completing the same problem sets, take the same exam, and are graded on the same grading curve.

Parallel classes also feature both an on campus section and a online section. However, in a parallel course, the online section is viewing recordings from a prior semester--this material was previously recorded. The recordings are of the same professor who is teaching the course online in an earlier semester, typically from one to two semesters prior. All students complete the problem sets, which are generally substantially the same each semester with little variation. All students then sit for the same exam, and are graded on the same curve. The videos feature the faculty interacting with students who took the course on campus in a prior semester. Finally, in an online-only course, there is no corresponding on campus section-the online section is based on a previously recorded offering of the course.

There are separate sections for both the on campus and online offerings, but the professor may use a single course website for both sections, which means that all students may have access to the videos and may be able to interact if there is a discussion board for the class. On campus students must attend and cannot substitute watching a class online for appearing in class and participating. Online students may request permission to attend on campus, depending on the faculty's wishes and space availability in the classroom. However, online students must still watch the required number of class videos by the attendance deadlines noted on the course website. Often there are two points in the semester when a student must be caught up with watching classes. Besides those two points, there is flexibility as to when you watch the class videos. As long as students in the online section meet the attendance deadlines, they can watch the videos on the weekends, at night, in the morning, a half hour at a time, an hour at a time, etc. We often film multi-hour classes in one hour segments.

Students in the part-time LLM program are limited in how many credits of online coursework they can apply towards their degree program. Part-time tax students must take 12 credits of on campus coursework, and the remaining 12 credits can be on campus, online courses, or up to four transfer credits. Please note that it is the responsibility of students taking online courses to determine whether and to what extent their decision to take such courses will impact their ability to practice in their jurisdiction of choice. This is a concern for foreign-educated students who are using their LLM program to establish eligibility to take a bar exam. Online courses will not qualify a foreign-educated student for the NY bar exam. Additionally, foreign students should consult with OISS to determine the effect of online classes on their visa status. For example, students studying on an F visa are generally allowed to take one online course per semester in order to stay in compliance. The regulations for J visa holders do not explicitly allow for any online study, however.

Transfer Credits

Transfer credits are treated as elective non-tax courses, even if they are on a tax law subject. Requests to take a course for transfer credit may be denied, for a variety of reasons, including, but not limited to, how long ago they were taken, format (i.e., no correspondence courses), etc.